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Lithia Body and Paint of Roseburg technician Josh Tomlinson works on a repair job Tuesday.

When Douglas County woke up on the Monday of the snow storm, everyone who had an appointment at Lithia Paint and Body cancelled.

By Wednesday, there was a line of vehicles either on their own wheels or brought by tow truck needing every repair imaginable at body shops around the county.

Senior Leader at the shop, Dennis Dietrich said not one customer didn’t cancel on Monday.

“It’s a busy day,” Dietrich said. “We’ve had a nonstop, steady stream of customers and tow trucks lined out of our facilities all week. We’re seeing hits just everywhere. Everything you can think of, every hit, all the way around.”

Roseburg Collision Center had power but no new cars and not all of the employees on Monday. But by Wednesday, business spiked according to owner Steven Strain.

“We’ve had a definite increase in the last few days due to the storm,” Strain said. “In a week’s time, we’ve probably had a 50 percent increase. We’ve got a shop full of cars and several sitting out back waiting to get worked on.”

Some vehicles are a total loss after sustaining more damage than it’s worth to repair due to spin-outs, collisions, ditches and falling trees, some are reparable, and others just needed a hand getting out of the snow said Clint Smith, owner and operator at Roseburg Towing.

“We are extremely busy,” Smith said. “We’re just knocking them out as quickly as we can. A lot of them just need to be pulled out of the snow bank and put back onto the road. There’s been a few that we’ve had to tow into body shops.”

Smith said they were busy as soon as the snow started falling on Feb. 24.

On Thursday, he said the trucks were still busier than usual even though he expected it to slow down.

Farmers Insurance agent Eric Thoreson said on Thursday the total damage from the storm wouldn’t be assessed for months but he was seeing more claims for homes. He said he saw people being more cautious driving and that’s why there weren’t as many auto insurance claims.

“Falling trees, falling through power lines, damaging homes, damaging outbuildings,” Thoreson said. “You take it with a grain of salt. It is what it is. We have no control over Mother Nature, we just try to help the clients get through a tough time. I don’t think we’ve seen the full extent of the damages. It’s just another day in the life of an insurance agent, although it’s unusual.”

Manager Steve Crewse from Les Schwab in Sutherlin said they have stopped stocking snow and all-weather tires but he believes they will have plenty for anyone looking to get new tires for surprise weather.

“We’ve been busy nonstop,” Crewse said. “Between the three stores, we’ll have the tires for the customers.”

Dietrich said they are very busy but are working to get everyone back on the road as soon as possible.

“We’re just asking for people’s patience and people understand,” Dietrich said. “This is a pretty major weather event.”

Janelle Polcyn can be reached at jpolcyn@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow her on Twitter @JanellePolcyn.

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Business reporter

Janelle Polcyn is the business reporter at the News-Review, graduated from the University of Texas, and is a podcast enthusiast.

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