FAQ

Abandoned Vehicles

Q.
Can I get my stuff out of the car?

A. If your vehicle was towed at the county's request from public property, you have 15 days from the date of the tow to retrieve your personal belongings from the vehicle without paying towing or storage costs. This does not include anything that is attached to the vehicle.

Q.
How do I file a complaint?

A. You have the right to request a hearing if your vehicle was towed, or has been tagged to be towed as an abandoned vehicle. Your request must be in writing and be within 5 days of the date the vehicle was tagged. You must also state the grounds upon which you believe the tow is not justified. Send it to:

Washington County Sheriff's Office
Attention Abandoned Vehicles Hearings Officer
215 SW Adams Avenue, MS #32
Hillsboro, OR 97123

Q.
How Do I Report an Abandoned Vehicle?

A. If a vehicle meets the above listed criteria, contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Records Department at (503) 846-2700 to report it. You will need to provide the call taker with:

• a description of the vehicle.

• the license plate or VIN.

• the location of the vehicle.

• the length of time the vehicle has been at the location.

• your name and a contact phone number or address. This information will be kept confidential and must be provided or we cannot process your complaint.

Q.
My car has been tagged, what will happen now?

A. You have 24 hours from when the car was tagged to remove it from the public right-of-way. If it is still on the right-of-way beyond that, it will be subject to towing. If it is towed, a lien will attach to the vehicle for the tow company’s towing and storage charges. If you do not reclaim it within a specific time period, it will be disposed of or sold according to law.

Q.
What about abandoned vehicles on private property?

A. The Sheriff’s Office is not authorized to tow abandoned vehicles from private property. Oregon Revised Statute 98.830 contains a simple procedure for the owner or person in lawful possession of private property to remove an abandoned vehicle from it.

See also:

Q.
What constitutes an abandoned vehicle?

A. A vehicle is considered "abandoned" if it has been on a public right-of-way for more than 24 hours and one or more of the following criteria apply:

• It appears disabled or inoperative.

• It does not belong to somebody in the immediate area.

If the vehicle does not fit one of the above criteria, then the vehicle is not considered abandoned and no time restriction exists.

Q.
Where has my car been towed?

A. Call the Washington County Sheriff's Office Records Section at (503) 846-2700. They will be able to tell you which tow company has your vehicle. The tow company will require proof of ownership and payment of towing and storage charges before they will release the vehicle.

Alarm

Q.
01. Who is required to have an alarm permit?

A. Every alarm user (residential or commercial) operating an alarm system in unincorporated Washington County or in the cities of Banks, Cornelius, Hillsboro or Gaston must obtain an alarm permit from the Sheriff’s Office. A separate permit is required for each alarmed site or building.

Q.
02. What is considered an “alarm system”?

A. Washington County Ordinance 8.12.030 defines an alarm system as "any assembly or equipment, mechanical or electrical, arranged to signal the occurrence of an illegal entry or other activity requiring urgent attention and to which police are expected to respond."

Q.
03. If I don’t have an alarm monitoring company, do I still have to have a permit?

A. Yes, even unmonitored alarm systems need to have a permit. If an alarm system is active, most have a siren or other signal that go off if the alarm is tripped and police are typically called to respond.

Q.
04. Do I have to register my car alarm?

A. No, car alarms do not need to be registered.

Q.
05. How do I register my alarm system?

A. You can apply in one of two ways:

1) Fill out the Alarm Permit Registration Form and submit it either by mail or in person along with a check or money order payable to the Washington County Sheriff's Office for your first year's fee of $20. The mailing address is provided on the application form.

2) You can register and pay online at our secure website. This site will allow you to pay the $20 alarm permit fee by either credit card or e-check.

See also:

Q.
06. What is the cost for an alarm permit and how long is it good for?

A. The alarm permit fee for either business or residential properties is $20 and it is valid for one year from the date of issuance. The permit must be renewed annually.

Q.
07. Where do the alarm permit fees and false alarm fines go?

A. The permit fees and false alarm fines are used to offset the county's administrative costs of the program and time spent by deputies on false alarm calls.

Q.
08. Are false alarms a problem?

A. Yes. Across the nation, the growth of alarm system ownership has resulted in a tremendous number of false alarms. The response to false alarms has created an additional burden on law enforcement agencies. Nationally, as well as locally, approximately 98% of all burglar alarms are false.

Q.
09. What does the county hope to accomplish by enforcing the false alarm ordinance?

A. The county wants to substantially reduce the number of false alarms that require a law enforcement response. This frees more deputies to respond to actual emergency calls for service.

Q.
10. What is considered a “false alarm”?

A. Washington County Ordinance 8.12.030 defines a false alarm as any "alarm signal, capable of eliciting a response by police when a situation requiring the police does not in fact exist." There are many common causes of false alarms:

1) Alarm system or sensors malfunction causing an activation

2) Improper installation or monitoring by an alarm business

3) Alarm activations that occur while alarm technicians are repairing or servicing the alarm system

4) Any activation where no evidence of criminal activity is present

5) Mistakes made by occupants of the premises, contractors, cleaning crews, visitors, realtors, etc.

6) Items within the home or business that move, causing motion detectors to activate (i.e. curtains, balloons, signs, etc.)

7) Doors or windows that become loose and cause a break in the contacts that activate the alarm system

8) Caretakers who watch the home or business when the owner is away often activate an alarm in error and then cannot cancel the alarm because they do not know the required codes or passwords

9) Pets, rodents, or wildlife movement in or near the home or business

See also:

Q.
11. What is considered a bonafide alarm?

A. Bonafide alarm examples include when there are signs of actual or attempted forced entry, or when a neighbor reports seeing suspicious activity on the property. Fines are only imposed for false alarms.

Washington County Ordinance 8.12 also provides that alarm activations will not be treated as a false alarm if caused by obvious natural circumstances such as a wind storm or an earthquake. Additionally, if there is notification from the alarm company or the alarm user that the system is faulty or that the user erred, and that notification is received before an officer arrives on the scene, the alarm will not be charged as a false alarm.

See also:

Q.
12. If I have a false alarm, what will the fine be?

A. Washington County has a progressive false alarm fine system. False alarm activations will be charged by the following schedule during each 365-day period, based on the anniversary date of your alarm permit. As you begin each new permit year, the false alarm count resets to zero.

1st false alarm - $13

2nd false alarm - $38 per car, plus $13

3rd false alarm - $38 per car, plus $13

4th and all subsequent false alarms - $38 per car, plus $126

Q.
13. If I disagree with an assessed fine, can I appeal?

A. Yes. If you disagree, you can appeal in writing to the Alarm Coordinator. You must explain why you believe the fine was not warranted and provide any supporting documentation. Please re-familiarize yourself with the definitions for false alarms and bonafide alarms above before submitting your appeal. If the alarm falls under the false alarm category, it is unlikely that an appeal will be granted. You can submit your appeal by mail to:

WCSO Alarm Coordinator
215 SW Adams Ave. MS 32
Hillsboro OR 97123

Q.
14. How do I pay my permit fees, false alarm fines, or penalties?

A. You can make payment in two different ways:

1) Mail: Send a check or money order payable to Washington County Sheriff’s Office with the payment stub section of the invoice. The mailing address is:

WCSO Alarm Permit Unit
215 SW Adams Avenue MS-32
Hillsboro OR 97123

2) Online: Login to your permit account on our secure website to pay fees or fines by credit card or e-check.

We do not accept payment by phone.

See also:

Q.
15. What will happen if I do not pay the alarm fees or fines?

A. 1) At 30 days past due, a past due letter and invoice will be mailed to you

2) At 60 days past due, a $17 late payment penalty will be added to any unpaid alarm fee or fine

3) At 90 days past due, your alarm permit will be revoked and you will be notified in writing. A Revocation Reinstatement Fee of $30 is added to your account at the time of revocation

Q.
16. Can my alarm permit be revoked?

A. Yes, Washington County Ordinance 8.12.127 requires revocation of your permit for failure to pay any fee, fine, or penalty within 90 days. The ordinance also allows the sheriff to revoke your alarm permit for excessive false alarms during any rolling 12-month period.

In addition, any unpaid false alarm fines that caused the revocation may be sent to collections. When this happens, the alarm user must pay off the balance of their alarm account, as well as any related collection charges before the account can be removed from "revoked" status.

See also:

Q.
17. What happens if I continue to operate my alarm system after my alarm permit has been revoked?

A. If you create any kind of alarm calls while revoked (bonafide, authorized cancel, audible alarm) - you may be issued a $500 citation for each activation. (Ordinance 8.12.040)

If you create a false alarm while revoked - you may be issued a $1,000 citation for each false alarm response. (Ordinance 8.12.128)

See also:

Q.
18. If my alarm permit has been revoked, how do I reinstate it?

A. If your alarm permit was revoked for failure to pay fees or fines, you will be required to pay all outstanding fees, fines, and penalties to reinstate it including any collection charges, if applicable.

If your alarm permit was revoked due to excessive false alarms, in addition to paying all outstanding fees and fines, you will also be required to submit a written plan to identify and eliminate the cause of the false alarms. The plan must be acceptable to the sheriff for reinstatement of the alarm permit, or the sheriff may temporarily reinstate the permit for a period of time to determine whether the plan for alleviating the false alarms is effective.

Q.
19. Where can I read or obtain a copy of the ordinance?

A. Please follow this link:

See also:

Q.
20. Who can I call if I have additional questions or comments?

A. The Washington County Sheriff’s Alarm Permit Unit is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Call (503) 846-2519 or e-mail us at wcsoalarms@co.washington.or.us

Concealed Handgun License

Q.
A) What documents will be accepted as proof of US citizenship?

A. Only original documents are acceptable (No photo copies accepted)

• Birth certificates issued by state Vital Statistics
• Valid US issued passports
• Naturalization papers

Q.
B) How do I apply for a concealed handgun license?

A. Applications are available: 1) Online using the link below, 2) In person at the Sheriff's Office in Hillsboro or at East Precinct in Beaverton - see locations link below, or 3) By mail - you may call (503) 846-2761 to request an application be mailed to you.

Your first step in this process is to meet the handgun competency requirement, see Frequently Asked Question C) below. Next, review the disqualifications listed in Question D.

Scheduled appointments are required for all new applicants - please visit: www.washington-county.genbook.com to schedule or call 503-846-2761.

See also:

Q.
C) How do I satisfy the competency requirement?

A. Please do not apply until you have met the competency requirement in one of the following ways:

• Complete a hunters' safety course approved by the Department of Fish and Wildlife or similar agency, if handgun training was a component of the course.

• Completion of any firearm safety or training course available to the general public offered by law enforcement, a community college or private or public institution or organization, or firearms training school, if the instructors were certified by the NRA or a law enforcement agency and if the course had a handgun safety component.

• Complete a handgun safety class taught by an NRA certified instructor. Certification or card issued must be presented at the time of your scheduled appointment. Contact local gun dealers for class referrals.

• Completion of any law enforcement firearms safety offered for security guards or other law enforcement officers. Certification must be presented at your scheduled appointment.

• Provide a copy of your DD214 if it indicates you have been trained with a handgun, sidearm or pistol. If your DD214 does not indicate handgun training, we will be unable to accept this as proof of your competency.

• Present evidence of equivalent experience with a handgun through participation in organized shooting competition or military experience.

Q.
D) What will disqualify me from obtaining a concealed handgun license?

A. Oregon law prohibits the issuance of a concealed handgun license to anyone:

• who is currently on any form of pretrial release. This may include forms of court ordered diversion.

• who has had a misdemeanor conviction within the past four years.

• who has been convicted of a felony.

• who has a current warrant for their arrest.

• who makes false statements on the application.

• who could be a danger to self, others or the community as a result of their mental or psychological state, or as demonstrated by a past pattern of behavior involving unlawful violence or threats of unlawful violence.

• who is the subject of a restraining order or protection order. See ORS 166.735, 30.866, 107.700 to 107.732, or 163.738.

• who has had a dishonorable discharge from the US Armed Forces.

• who is a registered sex offender.

• who was convicted as a juvenile of a crime that if committed by an adult would constitute a felony or a misdemeanor involving violence.

• who is not yet 21 years of age.

• who has been convicted of an offense involving controlled substances, or has been sentenced to a drug diversion program in any state other than Oregon, or has been convicted more than once of a drug related offense, or sentenced to a drug diversion program in the State of Oregon.

• who has not met the conditions of application.

You are also ineligible for a concealed handgun license if you are not a US citizen, unless you are a legal resident alien who can show documentation of continuous residency in the country for at least six months, and have declared in writing to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services the intent to acquire citizenship. You must be able to provide proof of the written declaration.

Q.
E) Where can I take a class to meet the requirements for a Concealed Handgun License?

A. Visit the Oregon Sheriffs' Association website to take the Concealed Handgun License Course at oregonsheriffs.org or contact your local gun dealer and let them know you are interested in obtaining a handgun safety course for a concealed handgun license.

Q.
F) How much does a concealed handgun license cost?

A. Fees are as follows:

• New license - $65.00, valid for four years from the date of issue

• Renewal license within Washington County - $50.00, valid for four years from the date of issue

• Address change or replacement within Washington County - $15.00, expiration date is the same as the original

Q.
G) How long is my license valid?

A. Your concealed handgun license is valid for four years from date of issue. However, an arrest or involvement in criminal activity may result in revocation.

Q.
H) What are the hours of operation for the Concealed Handgun Unit?

A. For new licenses, renewals, and transfers, the CHL unit is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the last appointment offered at 4:30. Please call ahead to schedule your appointment (503) 846-2761.

License holders wishing to get a replacement card or have their address changed may drop in during business hours. We are open during the lunch hour.

Q.
I) Do I send money with my application?

A. No. Please bring a personal check made payable to Washington County, a money order, or cash to your appointment. Payments must be made in the Criminal Records office (on the first floor) prior to your appointment. You will receive a receipt for your payment which you must present to the Concealed Handgun Licensing Unit. This payment is non-refundable.

Q.
J) When should I arrive for my license appointment?

A. We schedule appointments every 15 minutes. Please allow time to pay your fee in the Criminal Records office (on the first floor) before coming to the Concealed Handgun Unit.

Q.
K) My handgun license is going to expire within the next few months, will I get a reminder letter?

A. Reminder letters are sent to the current mailing addresses on file. However, it is still your responsibility to make sure your license is current and valid when you carry a concealed handgun.

Q.
L) If I change my address do I need to contact anyone?

A. Yes. You are required to come to the Concealed Handgun Unit and complete a change of address form. The change of address fee is $15. If you move out of Washington County you will need to contact your current county of residence and make arrangements to transfer your CHL to that county.

Q.
M) Where is your office located?

A. The Washington County Sheriff's Office is located at 215 SW Adams in Hillsboro.

No person may bring a firearm or weapon into that portion of this building occupied by the Washington County Circuit Court, except for a peace officer or federal officer on official duty. Violating these provisions may result in your arrest for a Class C Felony, and could also result in your being found in contempt of court. ORS 166.370 and Uniform Trial Court Rule 6.180.

No person may bring a firearm, weapon or other contraband into the secured perimeter of the Washington County Jail, and all visitors to the jail must go through a security screening and metal detector. Knowingly introducing contraband into a correctional facility is a Class C Felony. ORS 162.185.

All persons entering these premises may be subject to audio or visual surveillance.

See also:

Q.
N) How do I transfer my concealed handgun license from another county into Washington County?

A. Call this office at (503) 846-2761 to schedule an appointment to transfer your license to Washington County. You must meet one of the residency requirements list under Question Q) below.

During your appointment we will check your concealed handgun license, citizenship documentation (see Question A), and Oregon driver's license and take your picture. Plan to spend about 15 minutes to be processed.

Q.
O) Even with a concealed handgun license, where can I not carry a firearm?

A. Oregon law provides very few limits on where a person with a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) can carry a firearm, and federal laws contain a few more prohibitions. Even if you have a Concealed Handgun License, you cannot carry a firearm on any of the following properties:

• Federal facilities - federal courthouses, social security offices, in secured areas of airports, and on airplanes

• National forests marked or posted by signs prohibiting all firearms

• Designated wilderness areas (where a specific declaration has enacted a restriction or prohibition of firearms)

• Indian reservations or Indian property - you may not carry a firearm concealed without the written permission of the tribal judge; this may also apply to certain casinos on Indian lands. We advise people to contact the individual tribe to determine what the current rules are for that location.

• Courts - in a courtroom, jury room, judge's chambers or adjacent areas that the presiding judge determines should be free of firearms to ensure the safety of the litigants, court personnel, witnesses and others Private property where the owner prohibits firearms possession

• Private property where the owner prohibits firearms possession

No person may bring a firearm, weapon or other contraband into the secure perimeter of the Washington County Jail, and all visitors to the jail must go through a security screening and metal detector. Knowingly introducing contraband into a correctional facility is a Class C felony.

See also:

Q.
P) How will I find out if my application was denied or my concealed handgun license was revoked?

A. If we deny your application or revoke your license, we will send you a certified letter stating the reason(s). If you disagree with our decision, you may appeal to the Circuit Court.

Q.
Q) How do I meet the residency requirement to apply for an Oregon license issued by Washington County?

A. You may apply for a Washington County-issued Oregon concealed handgun license by meeting the residency requirements as stated in ORS 166.291(9):

• Possess a Current Oregon driver’s license showing a residence in the county.

• Be registered to vote in Washington County and have a precinct memorandum card showing a residence address in the county.

• Provide documentation that you currently own or lease real property in the county.

• Provide documentation that you filed an Oregon tax return for the most recent tax year with a residence address in the county.

Q.
R) Can I apply for an Oregon license issued by Washington County if I live in another state?

A. Oregon law states that a sheriff may waive the residency requirement for a resident of a contiguous state that has a compelling business interest or other legitimate demonstrated need. Washington County may consider your application if you live in a contiguous state, meet all the requirements, and write a letter stating a compelling business interest or other legitimate demonstrated need that exhibits a correlation to Washington County. Your statement must be submitted with your completed application.

Q.
S) Where can I read the Oregon concealed handgun law?

A. ORS 166.291 is available at www.leg.state.or.us/ors/166.html. Scroll through the index and then down to the section you want to review.

See also:

Q.
T) My license has expired; do I need to take the concealed handgun license safety class again?

A. No. There are no penalties for letting your license expire. However, without a license, you have no authority to carry concealed. If you wish to renew your license, please call (503) 846-2761 to schedule an appointment.

See also:

Crime Prevention

Q.
How can I help prevent crime in my neighborhood?

A. The Community Outreach Resources and Education Team gives numerous presentations to community and civic groups in English or Spanish. Topics such as Personal Safety, Home Security, Identity Theft and Neighborhood Watch are given frequently. Other topics are available as needed, and new programs are developed to address new crime trends.

Q.
How do I get the future dates for upcoming self defense courses?

A. Visit our Self Defense page.

See also:

Sex Offenders

Q.
Can I report over the phone or online?

A. No. Oregon only allows registered sex offenders to report in person. Any conversations / emails that you have with someone from law enforcement will not count for reporting purposes. For the reporting process to be completed, the registered sex offender is required to sign the sex offender registration form.

Q.
Do I still need to report as a registered sex offender while petitioning the courts for relief?

A. Yes. Until a judge signs the order that you are no longer required to report as a registered sex offender in the State of Oregon, you are still required to report.

Once you are granted an order relieving you of reporting as a registered sex offender in the State of Oregon, you need to notify the Oregon State Police.

An order of relief only applies to the state that it was issued. If you are granted relief in Oregon you may still be required to report as a registered sex offender in another state. Each state has their own sex offender registration laws.

Q.
Do I still need to report my change of residence if my parole / probation officer (PO) knows where I am residing?

A. Yes. Oregon law still requires you to report your change of residence. If you’re unsure, call your local police department or ask your PO. The Washington County Parole / Probation office will not process registration updates.

Q.
I am staying in a motel. Do I need to include my room number?

A. Yes. Your room number is part of your address. If you change rooms, you will need to report your change of residence. This also includes apartment numbers.

Q.
I later discovered that my sex offender registration is not accurate. What should I do?

A. If you identify an error on your sex offender registration form, immediately contact the agency that you reported to. Usually it will require you to return to that agency and complete a new registration.

When you sign your sex offender registration form you are assuming responsibility for the information that you provided on that form. It is important that you review everything on the form prior to signing it. If you identify that something is wrong prior to signing, have the law enforcement employee correct it.

You can be arrested for failing to provide complete and accurate information on a sex offender registration form.

Q.
What if I am homeless or “couch-surfing”?

A. Oregon law still requires that you report any change of residence within 10 days of that change. Even if you only intend to reside at a specific location for a day or two, if it’s been 10 days since you left your last reported residence, you are required to report your change of residence.

If you’re claiming to be homeless, you can still report as a registered sex offender by providing us with a detailed description of where you are staying. If you’re living out of a vehicle, we are going to want detailed information regarding your vehicle. Based on the information you provide, law enforcement should be able to locate your “residence”.

Registering as homeless does not grant you legal rights to reside on private or public property. Check with the property owner for permission.

Q.
What if I am moving out of Oregon?

A. Oregon law considers moving out of the state as a change of residence and still requires you to report your change of residence with the State of Oregon. If you cross state lines and fail to report your change of residence, federal charges may be pursued.

Q.
What if I am not physically capable of coming in to register?

A. If a physical condition prevents you from coming in to report as a registered sex offender (not a scheduling or transportation conflict), call our patrol division (503-846-5900) and they may be able to arrange for someone to come to you (within Washington County only). This phone call does not count for reporting purposes. There may be a delay before someone can meet with you, so pursue other options if you are running out of time.

Q.
Why are officers checking on me at my residence?

A. Employees of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office will frequently conduct compliance checks of known registered sex offenders residing within Washington County. Their goal is to verify that registered sex offenders are currently residing where they have reported to be residing.

Special Programs

Q.
Does the Sheriff's Office have a drug drop box?

A. Yes, we have a permanent Drug Drop Box at three locations. Cleaning out unneeded medications, especially prescription painkillers, is one of the easiest ways to help prevent prescription drug abuse among teens who do not realize how addictive opiates and many other drugs can be. Thanks to HIDTA funding, we have a permanent Drug Drop boxes available year around at the following locations: Main lobby at 215 SW Adams Avenue in Hillsboro. The lobby drop box is available between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., seven days a week. East Precinct office at 3700 SW Murray Blvd. in Beaverton. Office hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday thru Friday. Bethany Station at 4876 NW Bethany Blvd. (In the Bethany Village Shopping Center). Office hours are 8:30am -- 4:30pm, Monday thru Friday. You can drop off prescription medications and samples, all over-the-counter medications, vitamins, pet medications, medicated ointments, and liquid medication in leak-proof containers.