PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — At least 609 cars were abandoned on Portland roads and freeways during the historic snowstorm last week, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Of the hundreds of cars abandoned, about 349 cars were towed, PBOT added.
Many drivers who abandoned their cars were left with no choice as snow starting coming down Wednesday afternoon, snarling the evening commute and leaving traffic gridlocks around the city.
“I had to ditch my car around 10 p.m. after a dentist appointment,” said Kyle Young. “I was in traffic for five hours and I didn’t know if I could make it home from the snow because I have a little car.”
Young left his car on the shoulder of Highway 26 near the Sylvan exit. When he went to retrieve it two days later, it was gone. It had been towed by Anderson Towing. When Young called the company he was shocked to find out the bill was north of $700.
“I thought it was ridiculous,” Young said. “I’ve been towed before. I expected $300-$500. $787 is outrageous.”
KGW spoke to another woman who received the same bill from Anderson Towing. Others reached out to KGW via email. They thought their tow bill would be approximately $250—That is what ODOT was suggesting it would be, but instead it was triple that amount.
RELATED: ‘I was devastated’: Portland woman who abandoned car during snowstorm shocked by $787 bill from tow company
KGW reached out to Anderson Towing for an explanation, but did not have much luck. A man who answered the phone said they reserved comment at this time and then hung up.
“I just think these tow companies are preying on people in crappy situations and it’s not alright,” Young said.
The city of Portland has a contract with 14 private tow companies and maximum rates are set ahead of time for tows on public property. The price of the bill from the towing company can increase quickly for things like the size of the car, how long the car sits in the tow company lot, when the car is retrieved and more.
Others who abandoned their car are dealing with another issue: thefts and vandalism. KGW spoke to a couple who left their vehicle on West Burnside. When they returned to get it, it was gone. They thought it had been towed, but after several calls, they found there was no record of a tow. They have since filed a stolen vehicle report with police.
A man named Joshua told KGW he left his car on I-205 after spending 17 hours on the road Wednesday into Thursday. When he returned to his car on Friday, someone had broken into his vehicle and caused heavy damage trying to steal several car parts.
© 2023 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.