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Bend Public Works shares information on sidewalk snow removal rules

(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend's streets and operation director David Abbas)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- If you've walked at all around town, seeing piles of snow and sheets of ice on and around sidewalks should come as no surprise.

Although winter officially arrives Wednesday, winter weather came early for the High Desert. With temperatures rising above and falling below freezing, snowy, icy sidewalks have been a challenge, especially on shaded side streets in neighborhoods, making them challenging to walk -- and clear.

"It gets challenging this time of year, though, being a mountain town living next to the Cascades," city of Bend Streets and Operations Director David Abbas said Wednesday.

Abbas said the burden of responsibility falls on property owners for maintaining sidewalks adjacent to their property in timely fashion.

A city code sets guidelines for clearing areas for safety and mobility.

In commercial areas, sidewalks are supposed to be plowed within six hours, and in residential areas, they're supposed to be cleared within 24 hours.

Abbas said much of the time, the areas they respond to are based on complaints from residents.

"If contractors are coming, you hear we’ve called the contractors, you can wait until they get by your house and take care of your sidewalk, so you’re not having to do it twice," Abbas said.

Abbas said after a big snowstorm, the contractors generally arrive within a day or two.

Although it’s important to note that once the snow freezes and locks up, the ice becomes tougher to deal with, so waiting isn't always best.

According to City Code 3.30.020, property owners are liable for personal injury or property damage related to the condition of the sidewalk, adjacent to their home.

Code enforcement officers will send a notice to violators about an obstruction, which can result in an infraction, if left unresolved after 30 days.

The priority for Public Works is city streets- clearing major collector and arterial streets, followed by residential streets.

“We have prioritized for like the roundabouts and the bridges, where there’s not that clear adjacent property owner," Abbas said. "We got the new Wilson corridor, with the protected bike lane."

For snow pileups in residential neighborhoods, Abbas encouraged neighbors to be supportive and help clear sidewalks for others, especially for the elderly and disabled.

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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.


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