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Salem official: Businesses, residents should clear sidewalks

February 19, 2014

SALEM — City Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst said he’s hoping Mother Nature can help make the snow disappear, but he also reminded residents and businesses that sidewalks are their responsibility....

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(26)

ladybug

Feb-20-14 2:11 PM

And before you tell me i'm crazy.

You better check !

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ladybug

Feb-20-14 1:58 PM

Unfortunately the pot holes are only going to get much worse,

With the rain , thawing and freezing. We'll be lucky to find a street we can drive on .

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ladybug

Feb-20-14 1:55 PM

As the property owner i'm not sure that would relieve you of any responsibility .

Second : I heard at one time it was the property owners responsibility to maintain the side walk in front of their homes ??

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questioner

Feb-20-14 1:44 PM

The slippery bricks downtown could use that on occasion too.

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rpmwwe

Feb-20-14 1:11 PM

I think the signs should be posted even in the summer time considering we have a large assortment of broken and twisted sidewalks. A few years back, a brand new sidewalk was constructed along the north side of E. 8th St. where there had been no sidewalk before, but the already broken and twisted sidewalk along the south side of the street was completely ignored.

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rpmwwe

Feb-20-14 1:10 PM

questioner, to help you out with your liability concern, I have come up with an idea. We should place signs out by the sidewalks in front of our homes that read, "DANGER! Use of this sidewalk is extremely hazardous and may result in serious injury or death. Use at your own risk." Wouldn't those look nice posted all around town?

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questioner

Feb-20-14 12:00 PM

Drove down Pershing today in front of Timberlanes. Potholes so big I had to pull well into the lane with cars coming at me, a couple times.

Parts of 3rd street not much better.

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GrantMingus

Feb-20-14 11:34 AM

Made a point of looking today. Mr. Kenst could start with his own sidewalks, especially considering he lives in a school zone. This is ridiculous.

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GrantMingus

Feb-19-14 4:10 PM

Well, considering I signed a contract to purchase my property, and my property does not include the sidewalks, and I signed no such agreement that I would be responsible for the condition of the sidewalks, there is no way that should be enforceable in an honest court of law. Of course, many courts aren't really honest.

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questioner

Feb-19-14 3:57 PM

But, if ours just says we should shovel, I assume whoever said we weren't liable if someone slips was correct.

NOT, that I want to test it. We shovel. But in the storm a few weeks ago where there was ice first, it was actually safer not to do anything than to shovel down to he impossible to remove or melt ice.

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questioner

Feb-19-14 3:55 PM

Many municipalities have recognized this anomaly and have enacted ordinances that create such a legal duty, specifically imposing civil liability on abutting owners for injuries caused by unsafe conditions such as snow & ice, uneven sidewalks and exposed tree roots.

(Some) Code specifically provides that:

Each owner and occupant of any house or other building, and any owner or person entitled to possession of any vacant lot, and any person having charge of any church or any public building in the Town shall keep the sidewalk in front of the lot or house free from obstruction by snow or ice and icy conditions, and shall at all times keep the sidewalk in good and safe repair and maintain it in a clean condition and free from filth, dirt, weeds or other obstructions or encumbrances, and such owner or occupant and each of them shall be liable for any injury or damage by reason of omission, failure or negligence to make, maintain or repair such sidewalk or for a violation or nonobse

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questioner

Feb-19-14 3:53 PM

(in some towns) a homeowner's failure to clear the sidewalk in front of his/her home won't create liability for the homeowner should someone slip and fall on snow or ice.

The Town would be responsible---but generally only if it received prior written notice of the dangerous sidewalk conditions. This can often be a difficult thing to find--especially for transient conditions like snow and ice.

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questioner

Feb-19-14 3:52 PM

Huh, I looked it up myself, at least in general. Someone tell me how to look up Salem's ordinances/laws.

"Most towns, counties, villages and cities have ordinances that require abutting property owners to clear the sidewalk in front of their property. However, if you fail to clear the snow and ice and someone slips and falls–you may not have liability for the accident.

While a local ordinance may require you to clear the snow & ice, it might not create a legal duty to the passing pedestrian to keep the area safe–that duty remains with the municipality as the sidewalk oftentimes belongs to the municipality. As owner of the sidewalk, the municipality is legally responsible to the passing pedestrian to take care of the sidewalk, keep it clean and reasonably safe.

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AnotherFedupSpouce

Feb-19-14 3:39 PM

With living on one of the busiest streets in town I see the trucks going back and forth all the time. I have yet to figure out when they are tag teaming to do the whole side of the road WHY is the lead truck spreading the salt? I don't blame people for not wanting to clean their walks especially when they get done cleaning them and a plow comes down the road and blows it all right back on what they cleaned.

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ladybug

Feb-19-14 3:10 PM

Cut and Dice anyway you want..

Someone gets hurt on your property !

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ladybug

Feb-19-14 3:08 PM

That's why we have attorneys.

Yummie yummie! $$$$$$$$$$$$$

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GrantMingus

Feb-19-14 2:59 PM

Unfortunately that route down 2nd Street is my standard route to work every day, but I'm certainly going to be going a different direction until it gets patched up.

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questioner

Feb-19-14 2:48 PM

I am just guessing, but I figured they did downtown because of the number of empty buildings that would never get done otherwise. Just a guess, don't know.

And then I think they "salt" the sidewalk corners at the intersections--would that be the city's responsibility?--especially some like Broadway and State that have slippery bricks there.

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questioner

Feb-19-14 2:38 PM

Yeah, but I assume some of this was prompted because there just was a letter to the editor about someone almost hitting a child who was standing in the street waiting for a bus (she couldn't see child because of high snowbanks--I assume with turning a corner). I kinda wondered why the child couldn't stand in a driveway--street wouldn't have to be the only option.

But what if resident is out of town??

Side comment: Can you picture a city official walking up an unshoveled walk to deliver their reprimand?

And Grant, don't drive down the blocks of Second St between Lincoln and Ellsworth--I thought I'd lose teeth and/or a tire this morning.

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GrantMingus

Feb-19-14 2:33 PM

Like I said repeatedly, I understand that the road crews don't have the proper equipment to properly take care of the streets, and we've certainly had a tough winter. It's not that they aren't doing their jobs, they just don't have what it takes to do it properly. But every time he opens his mouth about it, it just feels like he's spitting in our faces instead of admitting the problem. I'd rather honest than the sugarcoated, beating around the bush nonsense that we get about the issue. He paints a much different picture than I see when I drive, and like I said, I drive by his house on a daily basis--I know he sees the same picture.

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GrantMingus

Feb-19-14 2:31 PM

You're absolutely correct Watchdog, nothing more than a liability thing. And I get it, I certainly don't expect the city to take care of all the sidewalks and have no problem shoveling in front of my house. I certainly wouldn't want them to waste resources paying people to do it all over town, it would take a bunch of people a LONG time. But the lecture is disgusting considering the state of the roads. Why hold up our end if they aren't holding up theirs? And what is worse is I know the gutter and curb in front of the service director's house isn't clear, I drive by it daily. And the city does the sidewalks downtown, why do those businesses get special treatment? It's just really poor taste to say this in my opinion, and I think a deflection from blame for how terrible the condition of the streets has been.

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WatchDog

Feb-19-14 2:14 PM

It's not an enforceable law, don't worry about it, blow it off. This ordinance is not worth the paper it is written on. It just the cities way to control and dump LIABILITY. Something they can't do and they know it. All this is about is that they hope a bunch of idiots will be scared into doing it and it will shut the busy bodies up that have nothing more to do that find away to complain.

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GrantMingus

Feb-19-14 2:13 PM

This is pathetic, I have to say. A lecture to the citizens about keeping sidewalks clear after the way our roads have been treated? People out to be outraged. The same service director that said he'd put our road crews up against anyone. While I certainly don't mean to be critical of the men doing the work, they don't have the proper equipment and he knows it. Those private plow trucks that are "pushing snow into the street", I've also seen plowing streets because the city trucks either never come by, or don't have their blade down. The roads are already terrible, the cost to repair all of the damage is going to be enormous. But a lecture from the city government to take care of what they claim to own anyways, regardless of an ordinance, after seeing the state of the streets for WEEKS is disgusting.

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questioner

Feb-19-14 12:23 PM

A question:

We were told that if you shoveled and someone fell, legally you were responsible, but if you hadn't shoveled and someone fell, you were not responsible.

Is that true?

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rpmwwe

Feb-19-14 12:11 PM

"no owner or occupant of abutting lands shall fail to keep the sidewalks, curbs or gutters in repair and free from snow, ice or any nuisance."

Isn't the city the owner of the abutting land on the otherside of the sidewalks, curbs, and gutters?

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