1,914 abandoned vehicle complaints or cases were received by the city of -Vancouver in 2011.
The year was 1994.
George W. Bush became governor of Texas, the world watched as O.J. Simpson was chased by police in Southern California and gasoline was selling for less than $1.20 a gallon in Clark County.
Times were good — certainly better than they are today. Car sales were brisk — about 9 million new cars sold at retail in the United States, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. And for those with a little more income than average, a new Mercedes was an option. With automatic climate control, AM/FM/cassette stereo, power sunroof and a 2.2 liter four-cylinder engine, the C280 Mercedes was a nice ride.
About 15,000 C280s were sold in 1994, said Diedra Wylie, Mercedes-Benz USA spokeswoman. The base model sold for $34,900, about $2,000 more than the median income of a U.S. household, according to the Census Bureau. Eighteen years later, one of those cars ended up in downtown Vancouver across the street from Sunrise Bagels on Harney Street.
“It was sitting there day after day” said Donna Kosterow, owner of the bagel store. She’d come in early to work every day. It was there. She’d leave. It was there. Finally, when a police officer was in the store she mentioned it to him. And shortly thereafter a tow-truck and a police car arrived.
The flashing lights attracted the attention of Columbian Editor Lou Brancaccio, whose office is around the corner. It was a crisp morning on Dec. 1, 2011. Brancaccio stepped outside, snapped a photo and posted it on The Columbian’s website. It was likely this C280’s first taste of the limelight. And the beginning of the end of this once-proud car.