Jackie Caro

What happens to abandoned vehicles?

Jackie Caro, Community Programs Coordinator, No Phone Number Available

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 9:58 a.m.

What happens to abandoned vehicles?

I'm sure we've all experienced the sight of a vehicle that just seems to sit on your block for days, weeks, or even months. But how do you know that car or truck has really been abandoned?

First, make sure you know your neighbor, your neighbors' cars, and your neighborhood!  A neighbor may be sick or temporarily out of town, but public right of ways may not be used to store unused or inoperable vehicles. And remember, parking is limited to 24 hours in most residential areas.

Here are some signs that a vehicle in your neighborhood may be abandoned:

  • Vehicle is not being driven or moved (this could also be a parking enforcement issue)
  • Leaves, pine needles, bird droppings, or dirt and debris have accumulated on the vehicle
  • Snow is piled on or around the vehicle
  • The vehicle's registration has been expired longer than 45 days
  • The vehicle appears significantly damaged or inoperable

If you think a vehicle has been abandoned, we have many ways that you can report it! You can call 509.755.City to report the vehicle to My Spokane staff or call 509.625.6083 to report the vehicle to the Office of Neighborhood Services & Code Enforcement. You can also email us at CodeEnforcement@spokanecity.org. It's important to provide clear and specific information so the Code Enforcement Officer can locate the vehicle. There may be other, similar vehicles on the block when the Code Enforcement Officer inspects, so accurate information is key! Include the following:

  • Your name and contact information in case we have trouble finding the vehicle
  • Location: address or proximity of the vehicle to the nearest address, including which side of the street it's on
  • Vehicle make, model, color, and license if available

A Code Enforcement Officer will perform an initial inspection within two working days to determine if a violation is occurring. The officer will provide a warning notice to move the vehicle and return to verify if the vehicle has been moved. If the vehicle is still in the right of way, the vehicle will be referred to the Spokane Police Department for impoundment. This process from complaint to inspection and verification of either removal or referral for towing takes about seven days.

If the vehicle is moved but returns at a later date and continues to be stored in the right of way, contact Code Enforcement again with a new complaint.

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