PORTLAND, Ore. -- The City of Portland reports a surprising jump in the number of reports of abandoned vehicles around the city.
In 2012, the city took 7,000 reports. In 2016, it took 27,000.
John Brady, spokesman for the Portland Bureau of Transportation, said the number has grown by 5,000 calls per year. It's so many, workers can’t get out to even look at the vehicles for three or four weeks.
Brady thinks the increase in reports is partly because of more awareness and homelessness.
“I think part of it is we've seen an uptick of people sleeping in their cars. Also sleeping in RV's which is related to the general crisis around homelessness. And I think that’s raised the profile of abandoned cars,” Brady said.
Pamela Chipman is living with an unwelcome visitor parked beside her home.
“That Mercedes over there has been there for about six months. Since September,” she said.
She called the city several times, but finally gave up after being told that without flat tires or broken windows or expired tags--the city would do nothing.
“So they’re trying to make these streets more friendly—pedestrian friendly and bike friendly—so they should just kind of get rid of these old junkers,” said Chipman.
I found it’s a common experience, after an abandoned car showed up in front of my Northeast Portland home about six weeks ago.
I called the police non-emergency line and was told they did not take reports of abandoned cars. They were not even interested in the license plate number. I thought it was stolen but they were not interested.
The city did eventually put a flier on the window after I called the abandoned auto hotline.
There are thousands of abandoned vehicles and unless it has flat tires, broken windows or expired tags, the city will not do anything.
Not every car is abandoned.
Someone on Next Door told me about a wrecked Audi out at Northeast 122nd Avenue.
I went to check it out and met Arliz Dikeman. She told me it’s not abandoned, just wrecked by her grandson who put it there.
“I would say it is an eyesore. But be nice to your neighbors. Not everyone has the money to have it towed away immediately,” she said.
A city spokesman thinks people are becoming more sensitive to abandoned vehicles.
Peter Widin would agree. He lives in Southeast Portland and nearly got towed.
“I was gone for 10 days over Christmas break and my neighbor put a note on my car saying that I’m going to get your car towed if you don’t move it in a few days. Luckily my landlord saw it."
If you have an abandoned auto in your neighborhood, call 503-823-7309.