Medford business owners responsible, liable for sidewalks

Medford, Ore. — Medford business owners are responsible, and now liable for the sidewalks outside their stores. It’s a story NBC5 news first brought you in February. In a new letter sent out this Fall, the City is making a one time offer to business owners for a free repair.

“It’s great to have something done out here, but pavers was not a good idea for me, or my business, or the tree,” Dan Ebert said, the owner of Central Art Supply. “The trees and this whole project are lifting up the pavers and causing issues.”

Ebert is referencing a project the Medford Urban Renewal Agency took on 12 years ago. Since then sidewalks have buckled, and Ebert said the tree that was added has caused flooding in his basement. Now, he says the responsibility falls in his lap.

“When I get a letter that says you got to sign a contract with them, that they’ll come and fix this, and that you’ll take care of anything that ever happens out here and relieve the city of any liability whatsoever of their sidewalks, that doesn’t sound right to me,” Ebert said.

NBC5 News obtained a copy of that letter, and the agreement sent along with it.

It states this is a one time offer of free sidewalk repairs for the business owners, as long as they sign the agreement and return it to the city before November 30th. If it is not signed, the city will do the work, and charge the business owner for the repairs, along with a 25-percent administrative fee.

“I just don’t understand how that’s the city working for us.”

Signing the form also means the City is no longer liable in any form for anything that happens on the public sidewalk. Any damage done after the repairs will be the responsibility of the business owner.

Public Works Director Cory Crebbin said it’s all backed by a city ordinance, and business owners are responsible for the sidewalks.

Natalie Weber anchors Your Place @ 7, and reports for NBC5 News at 5 and 6. She is also the spokesperson for S.O. Close to Homeless, a community discussion on homelessness in our region, started by Access and NBC5 News.

Natalie began her career in journalism as an intern with NBC5 News during her senior year at South Medford High School. Following graduation, she was promoted to Producer for the morning news broadcast for NBC’s sister station, FOX26, then to Producer for NBC5 News at Sunrise.

Natalie took a break from news to work for the Medford Police Department as a Records Specialist. However, she missed the fast-paced environment of the newsroom. Natalie moved back to her hometown of Eureka, California to start her on-air career with North Coast News KAEF ABC23 before returning once again to NBC5 News.

Natalie attended Southern Oregon University. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, getting lost in a good book, and exploring Southern Oregon.

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