Abandoned vehicles allowed to blight North Portland

According to those working at Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Abandoned Vehicle hotline, the staff is overwhelmed by calls and have too few employees to keep up with demand.

Although one employee said the goal is removal of an abandoned vehicle within three weeks, he admitted they rarely meet that goal. He said there are as many as 4,000 cases per month with only five people in the department. One person alone is responsible for all of North Portland as well as the entire west side of the river.

In one recent case in the Cathedral Park neighborhood, a fairly new vehicle appeared behind St. Johns Safeway during the night of May 7. The vehicle exterior appeared to be in good condition, although one neighbor noted that it did not have a motor and the interior driver’s and passenger seats were missing.

Neighbors calls went in to the PBOT Abandoned Vehicle hotline as well as Non-Emergency police line within a couple of days. This reporter called the Non-Emergency line and was taken through a long automated set of questions that lasted around 20 minutes at the end of which it was indicated that it was the incorrect number for the report and a text would be sent with the PBOT Abandoned Vehicle hotline number. No text was ever received.

Abandoned vehicle behind St. Johns Safeway left to create blight
Abandoned vehicle behind St. Johns Safeway left to create blight

With little response from either PBOT or Police Non-Emergency, the abandoned vehicle was pillaged for parts and tires for three weeks creating blight and danger since the pilferers had propped it up precariously on cement blocks. It also leaked copious amounts of hazardous fluids on the street.

On May 22, an employee at the PBOT Abandoned Vehicle information line said there was still no known pick up time although they were aware of the vehicle.

Abandoned vehicle arrived in near perfect appearance
Abandoned vehicle that had arrived in near perfect appearance
Abandoned vehicle after 24 days of pillaging
Abandoned vehicle after 24 days of pillaging

By the end of May, the vehicle had become an intense eyesore. On the last day of the month it was finally removed, but by then there were parts scattered around, motor oil soaked cardboard left behind from pilferers accessing parts, and cement blocks also soaked in motor oil.