PORTLAND, Ore. — Catalytic converter thieves are causing big issues at Portland Public Schools. The last several months thieves have been stealing catalytic converters from PPS buses. Now PPS is hoping electric fencing will put a stop to it.
On Tuesday night, in a unanimous decision the Portland School Board voted to install an electric fence around their bus yard in Northeast Portland. For months, bus drivers have been concerned about the thefts that have been taking place in all hours of the day.
“Catalytic converter thefts are still occurring, fuel theft and fuel tank damage is still occurring as well as fuel card theft from the buses,” said Bob Foster who’s a school bus driver with school district. The board heard testimony from Foster on Tuesday night.
Foster said drivers are getting burglarized and these incidents have occurred in broad daylight. It’s not a surprise to see how easy it is to get in, there might be a barb wire over the fence, but the gates are open all day long. Foster said that some bus drivers have had their personal cars broken into and some have started driving around the yard on their own time.
“Security is not in our job description and all though all who perform this duty is not to engage with anyone it still presents the possibility of a dangerous confrontation,” said Foster.
Brandon Coonrod who’s the assistant director of student transportation for the district says they’ve already spent thousands on repairs this year.
“This year alone just repairs to the fences and fuel theft we're sitting at just under thirty thousand,” said Coonrod.
Over the next couple of months, both the Marine Yard and the Columbia Yard will soon have better protection. Coonrod added that he expects the fencing to be installed over the next two months.