Uber Sued by Portland, Oregon, in Bid to Block Operations

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The city of Portland, Oregon, sued to stop Uber Technologies Ltd. from operating three days after it started there, joining other cities including Rio de Janeiro and New Delhi where officials have moved this month to block the mobile car-booking company.

Uber violates city laws because it and its drivers don’t have permits to operate, according to a complaint filed by Portland today in state court in Multnomah County. The complaint, a copy of which was provided by the city, couldn’t immediately be verified in court records.

The service has grown rapidly since starting in San Francisco in 2010. It’s now available in more than 250 cities around the world and last week raised $1.2 billion in funding, increasing the company’s $17 billion valuation in June to $40 billion.

Portland alleged that the company is in violation of more than 20 civil and criminal law provisions requiring private transportation providers to have permits, decals, insurance, rates, wheelchair accessibility and record-keeping.

“Uber’s operations pose an immediate, real and substantial threat to the public,” according to the complaint.

Portland seeks court orders declaring Uber to be in violation of city laws and blocking it from operating.

“Uber has received a tremendously warm welcome from riders and drivers in and around Portland,” Eva Behrend, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an e-mail. “We appreciate the way residents have welcomed Uber into the Rose City, their support illustrates why it’s time to modernize Portland transportation regulation.”

Behrend said in that less than four hours, almost 7,000 Portland residents signed a petition in support of Uber.

In Brazil, Rio’s municipal transport department today said it has filed a complaint with police against Uber and similar companies it says haven’t requested licenses for taxi services in the city, which will host the 2016 Olympics. The head of Rio police’s cyber crime unit is investigating the allegations, the police said via e-mail.

The Delhi state government banned Uber from operating in the Indian capital after one of its drivers was accused of rape two days ago.

Uber’s backers include Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Google Ventures. The company is now valued at four times that of other elite Silicon Valley startups, such as Airbnb Inc. Uber’s value also dwarfs Tesla Motors Inc., which has a market capitalization of $26.8 billion. General Motors Co., the largest U.S. automaker, has a $52.6 billion value.

The case is City of Portland v. Uber Technologies Inc., Circuit Court of Oregon, Multnomah County.