Port Angeles police said they had authority to impound some more problematic vehicles, but they could not find a place to store them.
PORT ANGELES, Wash. – An additional depot for derelict RVs is expected to open in Port Angeles over the next few months as the city grapples with an overwhelming number of impounded cars.
Port Angeles is planning to build more storage at the towing yard at Evergreen Collision to add 17 more RV seats. This will be a 10-year lease with a city cost of approximately $10,000. It is a public-private partnership that will allow police to remove garbage vehicles in just days instead of months.
“It won’t solve all of the world’s problems, but with what we have now, it would be a huge improvement,” Port Angeles Police Chief Brian Smith said.
If all goes according to plan, the new batch of RVs could come online this fall.
The city of Clallam County has so many garbage trucks that there is no room to store them, leaving the government with no choice but to let them sit on the street.
During a routine inspection, Port Angeles Law Enforcement Officer Glenn McFall pointed to a vehicle that had been there for nearly a year.
“I am very disappointed,” McFall said.
Abandoned RVs, cars, campers and all that go with them are littering the streets. Many of them can be legally detained, but there is a problem.
“We have nowhere to put them,” McFall said, shaking his head.
The towing yard at Evergreen Collision is full of about 20 garbage trucks that are being held. One of them is 32 feet long. Eventually, they can attract rats and become a health hazard.
“Most of them are a complete disaster,” said Dave Anstett, owner of Evergreen. “They haven’t been maintained at all. The tanks are full of sewage. The windows are broken. And with more and more people living in cars, more and more such cars are pouring into us.”
Anstett said getting to the point where a vehicle can be legally impounded is difficult because it has to be empty. State law says city governments cannot impound an occupied vehicle if it is someone’s residence.
“If we miss that particular moment when we can handle it, another group of people can move in and the process will start all over again,” he said.