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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Current Abandoned Auto Backlog

Thank you for your ongoing concerns about illegally parked vehicles in your neighborhood, including abandoned vehicles or RVs that have been cited for tow but nonetheless remain in the public right-of-way.

Many city bureaus including Portland Police, Development Services, and PBOT are currently experiencing a significant backlog in towing abandoned vehicles and RVs off of city streets.  In fact, due to the current backlog, the City’s contracted tow company has informed us they have exhausted all physical space in which to store or dismantle abandoned vehicles or RVs.

The City is working to address this off-site storage issue but until such time the backlog will remain. Scroll down to find additional information about the current abandoned auto and RV backlog in Portland.

Contact the Abandoned Auto Program

Abandoned Autos by the Numbers

Impact of the Backlog on RV Removal

Will I Have to Re-Submit a Tow Complaint

What if Someone is Living in the RV

Abandoned Auto Next Steps

Abandoned Autos by the Numbers

  • The PBOT Abandoned Autos Program currently receives more than 100 new abandoned auto cases per day.  In response, PBOT Officers conduct on-site investigations to determine whether or not the reported vehicles meet the abandoned auto/RV prohibited code criteria.
  • If criteria are met, PBOT will issue a citation to the vehicle in question and post a 72-hour tow warning notice.  If the vehicle remains, following the identified warning period, PBOT Officers will then request that the vehicle be towed from the public street by our tow partner.
  • The number of abandoned autos cases under investigation includes more than 1,500 locations.
  • The wait time to investigate a reported complaint, once it has been catalogued for review – which is different than the day a complaint was received, is between two to four weeks.


Impact of the Backlog on RV Removal

Unfortunately, and until our tow partner is able to address the backlog of RVs stored on their lots, including providing sufficient space to dismantle RVs and capture any environmental hazards, the speed with which abandoned (or “cited for tow”) RVs are removed from the public right-of-way will be significantly reduced.

That being said, PBOT continues to encourage people to report all vehicles and RVs they believe are abandoned or illegally parked so the vehicle can be investigated for possible parking violations.  Then, if appropriate, the abandoned vehicle or RV can be entered into the queue for removal.

Will I Have to Re-Submit a Tow Complaint

As previously noted, PBOT will post a 72-hour tow warning if a vehicle or RV is determined to be abandoned.   If the vehicle remains, following the identified warning period, PBOT Officers will then request that the vehicle be towed from the public street by our tow partner.  Tow warnings are only valid for thirty (30) days – for both RVs and automobiles.  As a result, and given the current backlog, it is unlikely that most of the cited RVs will be removed within that 30-day timeframe.

PBOT is currently re-citing previously reported complaints, so please do not re-report abandoned RVs that have already been reported since this will only add to the workload of the Abandoned Auto Officers and significantly slow down overall response time.  To check on the status of a previously reported abandoned autos complaint, but not to re-report, individuals are free to call: 503.823.6814.

What if Someone is Living in the RV

The PBOT Abandoned Autos Program is designed to respond to reports of vehicles being illegally stored on public streets.  When a vehicle is found to be in violation of city code, a tow warning notice is placed on it, so that the vehicle owner has the opportunity to correct the violation.  PBOT’s goal is to achieve voluntary compliance; however, vehicles remaining in violation – after being warned – can be towed and impounded by City order and at the registered vehicle owner’s expense.

That being said, PBOT has discovered – and as you are likely aware, there are occasions when an RV is being used as a residence.  To be sure, PBOT will always cite an RV if it is found to be in violation of city code; however, if people or animals are found to be residing inside the vehicle, when a tow partner arrives to remove the vehicle, the tow company will not tow the vehicle.  In these instances, PBOT is required to work through a longer legal process to ensure we conduct required due diligence before removing an RV from the public right-of-way.

Next Steps

PBOT has been working aggressively to resolve the current abandoned auto and RV backlog.  Some examples of the actions we have initiated or plan to undertake include:

  • PBOT staff are looking at expanding emergency contracts with other tow companies to assist in towing and storing additional vehicles, and doing so more quickly.
  • PBOT has asked the City’s One Point of Contact Portland Program to expedite review and, if appropriate, coordinate the clean-up of areas most impacted by the current abandoned RV removal (tow) backlog.  The One Point of Contact website:
  • PBOT staff are reminding complainants that any and all issues relating to public safety should be directed to the Portland Police Bureau either via their non-emergency line at 503.823.3333 or by calling 9-1-1 if conditions merit.  PBOT only has jurisdiction to investigate the reported vehicle.


We ask for your continued patience as PBOT works to address and resolve issues relating to the abandoned autos and RV backlog.