Residents frustrated with abandoned car ‘graveyards’ across Oahu

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From Makaha to Kailua, derelict cars are found all over the island.

Some of these vehicles are dumped on city property, including the side of the road. The vehicles sit there for weeks or months.

Michael Kitchens, facilitator of the Facebook page “Stolen Stuff Hawaii,” led KHON2 to two abandoned vehicles dumped alongside North Road in Ewa Beach.

“What happens is people will come by, vandalize it, rip off parts of it, graffiti it, and it becomes a huge eyesore and it could be dangerous as well,” Kitchens explained. “This is supposed to be paradise, and we look like a huge junkyard.”

“People aren’t getting the same money for these cars in the recyclable market is why people are dumping. The other increase is from the military who are abandoning their cars,” said Councilwoman Kymberly Pine.

Pine says she understands the frustration many residents have over the derelict vehicles.

“I’m just as mad, but I’m more mad at the person that dumped in our community. That is where we should put all of our anger in,” said Pine.

According to Randy Leong with the city Department of Customer Services, the issue is due to a “multitude of challenges,” like lack of storage space for the abandoned cars, and the issue the city is trying to iron out regarding military members abandoning their vehicles when they leave the island.

In an email response, Leong said:

“The tow-business climate has changed in the past several years. We have experienced loss of existing lots for towed vehicles. Also, the increase in industrial real-estate value has had a negative impact on operating costs. Similarly, it is difficult to obtain additional lots for storage from property owners who are hesitant to lease to a tow operator. At the same time, the price for scrap metal has decreased by 75 percent since 2015, and there has been no increase in statutory towing rates in 15 years.

“The steps being taken include working diligently with the tow contractor to remove abandoned vehicles from Honolulu public roadways. We have specifically asked the contractor to concentrate on the Leeward Coast due to increased complaints in that area relating to abandoned vehicles. In addition, we are encouraging the contractor to identify additional storage areas as part of a larger effort to meet public demand for the timely removal of abandoned vehicles.”

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