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Auctions unfold monthly in the Portland area and among the 50,000 storage facilities across the country, as bidders in a hard economy seek bargains among the stored goods of others. Travis Herinckx bids on auctioned storage units and sifts through the goods he finds to supply A & T Resale, which he runs along with Angel Philippi in North Plains. The man with a clipboard leads 22 men and women into the maze of storage units just off a main thoroughfare in Gresham.
He opens a padlock, lifts the door, steps aside and the group, each holding a flashlight, files by to peer inside. The crowd is there to bid on the contents of a storage unit put up for auction for non-payment of rent. Inside are the remains of someone's property – in this case, five mattresses and stacks of precariously leaning cardboard boxes which deal-seekers are not allowed to open before they make an offer.
Over a period of five hours last week, the Public Storage manager led a group of bargain hunters through five more of the company's facilities in Gresham and east Portland. Such auctions unfold monthly in the Portland area and among the 50,000 storage facilities across the country, as bidders in a hard economy take their chances on finding treasures among the leftovers of renters who no longer can afford to pay. Two years ago the A&E cable television channel started a series called "Storage Wars," which became the channel's biggest hit. Travis Herinckx worked 15 years as a general contractor before hitting the storage auctions two years ago and opening a resale shop in North Plains.
The best stuff helps thrift stores stock their shelves, stocks perpetual garage sales or become items for Craigslist and EBay.
More than 80 percent of the time the letter or notice is enough to prompt a payment or for renters to collect their stuff.


Public Storage has so many sites that it groups auctions by geography and two or three days each month has managers lead deal-seekers from place to place.
Smaller outfits like Gresham Mini & RV Storage need just a half hour one morning a month to conduct their auction. Most bidders are reluctant to be identified but will say they do it to help make ends meet, or like a recently retired TriMet driver, as a hobby to earn a bit of cash.
Travis Herinckx spent 15 years as a general contractor before he started hitting the auctions two years ago and, as he admits, "got hooked." Then last May he and his partner, Angel Philippi opened a resale shop along the main drag in North Plains.
Up to 80 percent of the items in their small store are gleaned from storage units, Herinckx says.
All items remaining after this specified time are considered abandoned and forfeited, with no further rights by the Buyer. Forklift Loading: A forklift will be available for loading assistance on a first come, first serve basis at auctioneer's discretion. To get a proxy bid you simply enter the maximum amount you are willing to pay into the bid form just as you would any other bid.
Note: After watching hundreds of auctions and talking to thousands of bidders, we think using proxy bids in your bidding strategy works best for most people. At one point the crowd grew to more than 35 as more people caught up to the traveling auction. In the Portland area, where once there were a handful of people paying $1 to $25 for a full unit, now there can be 20 to 50 driving bids as high as $600.
Instead of gold coins, cars and valuable art, what remains is stained bedding, outdated TVs, bikes, toys, worn furniture and athletic equipment – all old, nothing new.


Thirty days after a missed payment the storage companies send renters a certified letter letting them know that after another 30 days their belongings will be put up for auction. All rights reserved (About Us).The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Oregon Live LLC. In two minutes the unit's contents – abandoned by its owner, foreclosed on and then auctioned by the Public Storage Co. Those numbers, however, have dropped as bidders discovered the amount of work involved and that most storage units offer items of little value. Then the company twice publishes a newspaper legal notice giving the auction date and naming the person in arrears. There's a couple who drive up from Klamath Falls each month to hit Public Storage's auctions.
Auctions of units on this day last week ranged from $5 to $600 as bargain hunters looked for deals left behind when original owners could not pay rent for their storage units.
He doesn't work from a budget, tries to be conservative but in three days last week bought eight units in Public Storage's auctions. Lynn and Mike Lowen of Prineville braved snowy roads over Mount Hood last week to help stock their second-hand store.



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