Phoenix offers discounts on fines for suspended drivers

Phoenix is the latest city in Jackson County to offer a break for residents with suspended driver's licenses and unpaid fines.

City Council members voted this week to sponsor a six-week amnesty program Feb. 1 through May 15 for the 1,330 active suspensions on file with Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services.

During the amnesty, a 25 percent discount will apply to base fines and a 50 percent discount will apply to interest and added collection fees.

Medford and Central Point offered similar programs last year to encourage suspended drivers to clean up their records and deal with lingering fines.

Phoenix Municipal Court Clerk Kathy Greenwood said the economy and the high number of license "holds" the city had on file with the state prompted the amnesty.

She said the city offered a smaller, non-publicized version of the program last year and helped fewer than two dozen drivers.

"This year, times are still really tough and people need their license to be able to get to work," Greenwood said.

"It's a good deal to get 25 percent off the base fine and 50 percent off the interest because that's where the most money is with those old tickets."

Brian Watkins, president of Southern Oregon Credit Service Inc., the collection agency on contract with the city, said any discount on delinquent, outdated debt is a good opportunity.

"It's very beneficial to the people needing to take care of those tickets and this is the best time of year to do it," Watkins said.

"They correspond the offer with the time people are getting tax refunds and those type of things. It's nice to get those old tickets cleaned up and any discount is a good discount."

Greenwood said individuals with old citations should contact Southern Oregon Credit Service directly at 541-773-6238.

People who need additional information about citations can call the municipal court at 541-535-1955.

— Buffy Pollock

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