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Snow storm forces drivers to abandon vehicles across Portland

PBOT said it's waiving citations through Saturday but vehicle owners will be responsible for towing charges and fees from a towing company.

PORTLAND, Ore. — At Northeast 41st Avenue and Wistaria Drive in Portland, you'll find a great hill for sledding, but not for driving. On Thursday, after a snowstorm dumped nearly 11 inches of snow on Portland the night before, a KGW crew found several abandoned cars, even two Ridwell vans and a TriMet bus.

The driver of a pickup truck got stuck Thursday taking his buddy to retrieve his car that he abandoned Wednesday night.

"I had to leave my car," Eric Zavala said. "Fortunately it's in someone's driveway. Hope they don't tow it. But under these circumstances I hope they understand."

Zavala said he's frustrated, just like the drivers of all of the abandoned cars on West Burnside Street.

Skye Frome said she ditched her car near West Burnside Street and Northwest 23rd Avenue after getting stuck on her way home from work Wednesday night. "I'd say it was frustrating trying to drive around people stopped in the middle of the road instead of moving to the side," Frome said.

Meanwhile, Zavala is preparing for life without a car. "I probably won't see it until Monday if that," Zavala said.

Citations waived through Saturday 

On Thursday afternoon, PBOT said it wouldn't issue parking citations for cars that exceed time limits at parking meters and other public parking spaces through Saturday.

The department also said it won't issue citations for vehicles that are towed because they're blocking a travel lane or impeding access, a citation that would normally cost $270.

PBOT said vehicle owners will be responsible for towing charges and fees from a towing company, though.

"Any vehicle parked illegally may face a tow, especially any vehicle blocking a travel lane or public transit route," PBOT said.

If a car is towed from inside Portland city limits, the owner of the vehicle can contact Portland Police Auto Records at 503-823-0044 and get information about whether the car was towed, why it was towed, where it was towed and how to get the vehicle back.

The city of Portland also partners with an online platform to recover vehicles called AutoReturn, intended to help speed up the process of finding it after a tow. 

"This is a service that provides a clearinghouse of information on vehicles that were towed, and they're doing the intake of these orders across ODOT, PBOT, police, a variety of agencies," said PBOT spokesperson Dylan Rivera.

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