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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Junk car collector still storing vehicles, even after Spokane County towed away more than 700 last summer

It started with a handful of cars, stored in the woods near the back of Andrey Bovdyr’s property near Colbert.

Over the years, the collection grew. Dozens of cars, then hundreds, started filling up the lot like sardines in a 5-acre tin.

Keeping all those cars on a residential property, in plain sight, violated Spokane County code. In 2019, the county charged Bovdyr with unlawful storage of junk vehicles.

After three years of litigation, Spokane County last summer removed about 750 junkers from Bovdyr’s property. A district court judge sentenced him to 70 days in jail for repeatedly failing to clean up his land, an almost unheard-of result in a code enforcement case. Plus, Bovdyr has to pay Spokane County more than $13,000 to cover the cost of towing away his vehicles.

Despite all of those consequences, he’s bringing cars in once again.

“My fear is we’re going to be back where we started,” said Cris Pemberton, Bovdyr’s next-door neighbor. “I feel it’s important to stop it now, and there’s a legal precedent to stop it.”

Bovdyr declined to answer questions for this story, although he said he wishes Pemberton had simply shared her concerns with him.

“We need to be settling this in private instead of writing public stories,” he said.

Pemberton, who runs a horsemanship program on her Green Bluff Road property, estimated Bovdyr’s land now has about 40 cars on it, many of which appear to have been severely damaged in collisions.

The car collecting started in about 2014, Pemberton said. She worried about it from the start.

At first, Pemberton decided to be patient. She said Bovdyr told her he planned to fix the cars and sell them as soon as he could find a sales lot.

That never happened, and trucks kept bringing in more cars. In 2017, Pemberton took the issue to Spokane County’s code enforcement staff.

She didn’t like the eyesore but her primary concern wasn’t aesthetic. Pemberton worried the cars posed a fire hazard – a worry she says the Department of Natural Resources later confirmed. She also feared harmful chemicals could leak out of the vehicles, potentially harming wildlife and trickling into her well water.

Spokane County removed all but four of Bovdyr’s cars last summer. The job took Evergreen Towing a full week, from June 6 -13. Pemberton said it took a dozen tow trucks to do the work.

Evergreen Towing did not respond to a request for comment, and it’s unclear what became of the cars.

In a phone interview, Bovdyr said The Spokesman-Review couldn’t use his name in print. He then merged the phone call with a man named Ivan, who refused to share his last name.

Ivan said he owns the rights to the name “Andrey Bovdyr,” and threatened legal action if The Spokesman-Review used the name in print or said the name aloud. Upon hearing the name Andrey spoken, Ivan used expletives to tell the reporter to shut up, and Bovdyr hung up shortly thereafter.

Spokane County did not make anyone available for an interview, but spokesman Jared Webley said in an email that the county is aware Bovdyr has been bringing cars to his property again.

“The County is starting a new criminal zoning case and will issue an affidavit of probable cause identifying illegal use of the site and storage of junk cars,” Webley wrote.

Pemberton said the entire situation has been emotionally difficult. She’s felt guilt over hurting Bovdyr, sadness over the impact to her personal property and disappointment in her own government. She’s also feared for her safety, since multiple people made threats against her in online comments after media reported the county towed away Bovdyr’s cars.

At this point, Pemberton said she’s mainly frustrated that a man is breaking the law and the county isn’t stopping him.

“A court finding was made and it’s not being upheld,” she said. “The judge said he can’t do that, and now he’s doing it and no one is doing anything about it.”