Abandoned vehicle removed, but many, many more remain

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 6:30 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - By the time we heard about it, the derelict vehicle had sat just outside the gate of Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery for at least a month offending visitors and passersby.

“Leaving something like this where people are coming in every single day. It’s just rude,” grief and loss counselor Elaina Proffitt told us.

Others were complaining as well and calls were being made, as it turned out, to the wrong people. We called city Code Enforcement, those tasked with removing abandoned vehicles, and a day later it was gone.

It was a small victory. The surprise is just how many more are out there.

At the moment there are 891 open cases, reports of abandoned vehicles just in the city. There are many more in Sparks and the county. Each is a problem for some neighborhoods.

“It’s just such a gross disincentive when people are thinking about their community,” says city spokesman Jon Humbert, “and it’s really tough to see that people think that’s where their cars can be disposed.”

Removing each one involves a mini-investigation to determine if, in fact, it is abandoned. Then it has to be posted and monitored for 48 hours by one of the city’s three code enforcement officers. You’re starting to see the size of the job.

There’s more. The city pays a $30 dollar fee to tow companies to haul these wrecks off. That’s not a huge incentive ensuring prompt action.

Still, Humbert says people reporting abandoned vehicles--the easiest way is a call to Reno Direct 334-INFO--should know their reports are taken seriously. “We’re not just filing them into a memory hole and forgetting about them. We’re focused on them. It’s just a matter of having the staff to get it done.”

The city will be hiring a fourth code enforcement officer this spring. He or she will have plenty to do.

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