Abandoned vehicle removal costs thousands a year

Abandoned vehicle removal costs thousands a year
NEAR TRIANGLE LAKE - Norm Maxwell looks at what's left of a 1970s Winnebago.

"It materialized in November sometime and it sat and drew small arms fire and people threw rocks in the window," he said.

That's how it usually happens. A car, truck, boat or motor home is abandoned on the side of the road and left for the Bureau of Land Management to deal with.

"Some of them obviously don't want them anymore," said Maxwell. "And of course there's the element of recreational camping. It's fun to dump a vehicle in the woods shoot it, burn it and fill it full of garbage."

Maxwell, an Abandoned Vehicle Recycler, has seen it all since he started recycling abandoned vehicles 10 years ago.

"You can use pickup campers as disposable dumpsters, fill them full of garbage and leave it in the woods," he said.

Since the fiscal year began in October 2007, Maxwell has demolished 25 vehicles. He expects to see many more.

"My personal best is 90 in fiscal year '04," he said.

The demolition process is quick work, once the inmates from Lane County's Forest Work Camp arrive.

"We go all over and do this for BLM," said Chuck Hardy, the Deputy Sheriff of the Forest Work Camp. "Even on a day like this where it's raining, it's a little bit better of a thing for them than being locked in a cell in the main jail in down town Eugene."

And at 300 dollars a day, Maxwell says the inmate labor is a steal.

Including that expense, it will cost $1,000 to remove the Winnebago.

Maxwell estimates the abandoned vehicle cost each fiscal year at a minimum of $10,000.