OKC Can Impound Birds Tomorrow if Seven Councilors Agree

The OKC city staff have been schooling me today (in a good way). The City Council votes on a proposed ordinance that would allow the city to impound the newly present Bird scooters. 

Here is what I have learned about the proposed ordinance:

It authorizes the impounding of personal property offered for rent in public right-of-way spaces unless the operator obtains a revocable permit from the city.  

How does this part impact other businesses? What are the unintended consequences? Will the Segway rental guy have to move off of the Bricktown Canal? Will he have to get a permit? Would this apply to Spokies? If not, why does Spokies get a pass? 

The new ordinance could be immediately enforced, as an emergency measure, if seven councilors vote in the affirmative. Normally, there would be a 30-day wait.

The city attorney, Kenneth Jordan is recommending that the ordinance be approved with emergency status.

Here is the text from a memo that Jordan sent to the Mayor and City Council regarding the proposed emergency ordinance. You can download the original memo, in PDF format, at this link

TO: Mayor and City Council
FROM: Kenneth Jordan, Municipal Counselor

Council Agenda Item No. IX.G. 8/14/2018

RE: Ordinance to be introduced and adopted with emergency, relating to Streets and Sidewalks and the General Schedule of Fees; enacting Section 50-5.1 in Article I of Division 1 of Chapter 50 of the Oklahoma City Municipal Code, 2010, to provide for impoundment of personal property offered for rental in the public ways without a revocable permit from the Public Works Director or other authorization as set forth in the Oklahoma City Municipal Code and enacting Section 60-50-2 in the General Schedule of Fees, Chapter 60, to provide fees for impoundments.

(Seven affirmative votes required to approve the emergency).


The purpose of the ordinance is to provide a specific Code section authorizing impoundment of personal property offered for rental at locations in the public rights-of-way without the entrepreneur first obtaining the necessary revocable permit from the Public Works Director. Impoundment and storage fees in an amount that City staff believes is at or lower than the actual costs for such work have also been provided in the ordinance.


On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, a scooter rental company named “Bird” began posting motorized scooters on the public sidewalks in certain areas in and around downtown Oklahoma City. This business demonstration by Bird was commenced without Bird obtaining the necessary revocable permits for each scooter rental location from the Director of Public Works.

The ordinance is offered to Council as an emergency ordinance, meaning that if the Emergency Clause is approved by Council with 7 votes, the ordinance will become effective immediately on the day of adoption. This will allow the Public Works Director to immediately begin removing personal property items posted for rental in the public ways without revocable permits. Council could provide a later effective date if it desires to provide additional time for possible violators to come into compliance.


Consider adoption of the ordinance with the emergency.