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City officials say getting old RVs off the streets can improve safety, reduce fire danger

KOIN 6 NEWS - Kerry Pataki (driving) was relieved to properly dispose of his old RV on Sunday.It was a relief, Portland resident Kerry Pataki said, to finally watch his old RV, with an engine that could barely start, properly go.

Pataki was one of 18 now-former RV owners at the Portland International Raceway on Sunday to unload their run-down vehicles. The city of Portland took the zombie RVs in the hope they wouldn't be abandoned or back in the streets without proper repairs.

"I'm so grateful for the city to the Portland Bureau of Transportation," Pataki said.

Dylan Rivera, a spokesperson with PBOT, said getting the zombie RVs off the streets can improve safety.

"If we get 18 RV's as we are scheduled to today, that means potentially 18 homeowners don't have an RV parked in front of their house that's been abandoned, leaking sewage, becoming a fire hazard," Rivera said.

Rivera said Portland Fire & Rescue has responded to at least 25 RV fires just this year. One time, a burning RV torched power lines in a neighborhood. He also mentioned abandoned RVs can be a hub for criminal activity. The city had to hire additional parking staff to deal with abandoned RVs.

The task in total has earned quite the price tag.

"We expect to spend more than a million dollars this year, getting RV's off the streets of Portland," Rivera said.

Outside the Raceway, George Jurdy. a homeless man who said he was trying to get back on his feet after a surgery, had a sign asking to buy or acquire an RV.

"I figured this might be a good place to pick up a motor home," Jurdy said.

Rivera said the goal of Sunday's RV disposal was to get abandoned RVs off the street.

"That's what we are up against," Rivera said, "folks who are trying to buy these on the cheap and sometimes disposing of them on city streets."

KOIN 6 News is a partner of the Portland Tribune.

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