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16 Sep 2014
17 Sep 2014
Small break proposed for sidewalk owners
Portland property owners will have longer to repair damaged sidewalks under a proposal to be considered by the City Council on Wednesday.
They will still have to fix them at their own cost, however.
There are currently over 3,200 miles of sidewalks and curbs, including 37,000 corners, in Portland. The City Charter assigned the responsibility for maintaining them to the owners of the property they cross. That includes both residential and business property owners.
City policies currently give property owners just 20 days to repair their sidewalks once Portland Bureau of Transportation inspectors notify them they are hazardous. If the repairs are not made by then, the bureau hires a repair firm to do the work and bills the property owners.
An ordinance to be considered by the council on June 12 increases the time limit to 60 days.
According to the ordinance, 20 days is not a "realistic and/or adequate period of time," even though that is what has been required until now.
Repair costs can add up quickly. Replacing a 5-foot-by-50-foot length of sidewalk can cost $2,250 or more, including the cost of concrete and labor. Costs can be even higher if the damage is caused by large tree roots that need to be removed.
On the other hand, property owners can be held legal liable for injuries caused by sidewalk damage.