Abandoned Property Auction raises funds for county

Abandoned items have to go somewhere, and today, that somewhere was a new home.

“SOLD at $20,” says an auctioneer.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

“When we came in, my friend said, ‘It looks like junk.’ and I said, ‘I like junk,'” says Holly Bruce, auction attendee.

Everything here has been abandoned by its previous owner and the Mountrail County Sheriff’s Department is auctioning off the items to clear out the goods. 

“We almost have to do this periodically because if we don’t, we would be overrun with vehicles on our highways and in our yards,” says Sheriff Ken Halvorson, Mountrail County.

The stories behind the discarded items varies, but the Sheriff’s Department follows the State Abandoned Motor Vehicle Code to define which vehicles are deserted.

“If a vehicle is parked on the side of the road and it isn’t a hazard, we will put a sticker on it and wait for 72 hours,” says Sheriff Halvorson.

Once that time is up, they impound the vehicle.  At that point, they can still be claimed by the owner, but they’ll have to pay a fee to get it back. If no one comes to claim it, it ends up at this auction.

“We’ll go through the vehicles to make sure that there is nothing that, like needles or narcotics or anything like that, to make sure that the vehicles are safe to be sold,” says Sheriff Halvorson.

There’s more than just vehicles.

“One year, we even had an outhouse. A portable outhouse,” says Sheriff Halvorson.

“I’m looking for some great road gritter tires. Seen them on the sale bale,” says Scott Post, auction attendee.

“We did find and bought a gun that was on the sale,” says Kevin Mell, auction attendee.

It’s a win-win: the bidders usually get a deal and the money generated goes back into the general fund for Mountrail County.

In the past, the Abandoned Property Auction has brought in more than $100,000 for the County.

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