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Junk vehicles affect everyone


Have you noticed that what appear to be junk vehicles proliferate in this town faster than wild turkeys and geese? Does anybody think those vehicles add to the attractiveness and appeal of Thompson Falls? You know who does like them a lot? Feral animals!

Such vehicles provide shelter and protection for mice, rats, skunks, feral cats and, worse yet, a good place to birth even more mice, rats, skunks and feral cats. Besides being a nuisance, these animals can harbor and share disease. Prospective buyers appear to be lacking enthusiasm to purchase where they have a bird’s eye view of such vehicles, understanding the effects on quality of life, property values and future sale ability. My question is, why do we, as citizens of Thompson Falls, allow these vehicles to proliferate and remain in public view? Some, possibly many, of these vehicles have been deteriorating in their locations for decades.

What is the legal definition of a junk vehicle? It is defined as “any discarded, ruined, wrecked or dismantled motor vehicle, including component parts, which is not lawfully and validly licensed, and remains inoperative or incapable of being driven.” A vehicle MUST meet all three parts of the definition to be classified as a junk vehicle. Such vehicles are illegal within the city limits of Thompson Falls per the Community Decay Ordinance. All junk vehicles, regardless of number, must be shielded from public view. Auto repair businesses are exempt from this ordinance. Tina Scott in Environmental Health (827-6961) in the basement of the courthouse can provide you a pamphlet on the Montana Junk Vehicle Law which addresses related issues. She can also provide a release form allowing owners of junk vehicles to “release” the vehicle to the county for disposal. This is a free option. The form can also be obtained on the Sanders County website. If you want to submit a complaint to the city on what appear to be junk vehicles, specify number and type of vehicles (if possible) and the address of the vehicles, to Thompson Falls City Hall. You do not have to sign the complaint as this comes under the Community Decay Ordinance. The police department will determine if the vehicles do indeed qualify as junk vehicles. Beautification Days are coming up April 15-17. You certainly don’t need to wait until then to get active in ridding our community of these vehicles, but they are an extra incentive to “beautify” our community. Ridding it of junk vehicles is an effective part of the process. You know the old saying, “you provide it and they will come?” Another version is “you allow it and they will proliferate,” be it junk vehicles and/or community decay properties.

Ruth Cheney,

Thompson Falls


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