Where Do Cars Go When They
by Jerry Cegelske
December 17, 2004
It has been estimated that approximately 300-350 new and used
vehicles arrive in Ketchikan every year. What happens
to the vehicles they replaced? The average Ketchikan family
gives the old beater to the kids to drive for a few
years until it is no longer feasible to keep due to repair
expenses. While still running, it gets sold to some young
person who can afford gas and little else. The vehicle gets driven
until it dies when it is pushed off to the side of the road and
left there. This is what happened to the Silver Nissan
truck in the picture. It was left along North Tongass for
several months and then the vandals started destroying it by
breaking windows and tearing up the interior. Recently a
Chevy Nova was left along S. Tongass and the owner left town.
The vehicle was a traffic hazard due to it being on the inside
of a curve blocking the view of oncoming traffic.
Junk vehicle after
being abandoned and vandalized.
Fortunately there are many responsible people that rather than
let the car die on the road, take it to the Ward Cove Mill site
where they kiss it good-bye for the last time before it is mercifully
put out of it's misery of rust, a failing engine and leaking
window and door seals or what have you. So what happens
now? The car is put on a rack where the fluids are drained,
wheels are removed, and then the body is compressed. It
is then stacked with the remains of other vehicles to weather
in the rain and wind, but not for long.
The three pictures show some of the process of loading scrap
metal, appliances, and junk cars from the Mill site onto a barge.
The tugs Lumberman and Togiak are side tied next to a barge
while the loading of the vehicles and scrap metal takes
place. The material is taken onto one barge with the truck
and backhoe, it is then transferred to the second barge where
another backhoe works to move the scrap metal and stack it for
a full load. Note the size of the pile as compared to the
truck in the foreground. This process occurrs about 4-5
times a year in Ketchikan as the old vehicles are taken to be
recycled and made into new vehicles and other items.
The tugs Lumberman
and Togiak at the Ward Cove Mill site
while loading scrap metal and junk vehicles.
It is interesting that there are still 300-350 vehicles which
should undergo this process in back yards, driveways, lots, and
on the public streets. But of course, "this one is a
classic, that one I'll get running when I have the time, and
that one just needs a new water pump, brakes and tires as soon
as I can get the money for it and the time to get it fixed",
and not while it's raining! "Sure I'll go fishing
with you Saturday, I was just going to work on the old wreck"
and "I will pick up the parts next week" "but
this is Derby weekend". Somehow the time is never
right and the money is never there to get them fixed up to drive
or be sold, so they sit in the rain, rusting away, and losing
more value. (Ladies this is your chance- Tell Hubby that
you want the junker to be gone as one of your Christmas presents!
Wouldn't you like your yard or lot to be seen as a nice
place other than "Joe's Someday I'll Get To It But
Now I'm Busy Repair Yard"? )
In passing on the junkers to someone who will take it off their
hands instead of taking it to the Mill site, more problems
are created for Borough residents. An underground repair
shop illegally operating in a residential neighborhood takes
the old beater, does some minor repairs to get it running for
at least a week, after having stored it and the other eight
clunkers in the yard and on the streets, and sells it for the
$500 in parts plus another couple hundred for their labor.
This thing lasts until the worn parts which weren't replaced fail so
it can't be driven. It gets sold or given to someone
for parts, gets stripped and left along the road for the Borough
to remove and give the last rites to. There are many residential
lots that look more like a junk yard than a residence.
Several of these will soon be getting citations as one got last
month. They are an eyesore to the neighbors, and an irritant
as they do most of their work after hours when the neighbors
are trying to relax from a hard day at work. After giving
a Use and Occupancy Zoning violation to one of the illegal repair
shops, the owner proudly told me the history of the vehicles, how
he was getting them running, and that they weren't the junk vehicles
he thought he was getting the citation for having on his property.
Encourage your neighbors, (Ladies, your husbands and mechanically
inclined kids) to get rid of the old clunkers they have laying
around if they don't have the time or money to get them repaired.
Tell them about this article and that they can dispose of
junk vehicles and scrap metal at the Mill site at no cost
after obtaining a voucher from the Public Works Dept., at 247-5541.
Get rid of the eyesores and give yourself and the community a
nice Christmas present that we can all share and appreciate.
Ketchikan Gateway Borough
Ketchikan, AK - USA
Loading scrap metal
Stacking scrap metal
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