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Snow Removal: The city of Bend sends a mixed message 

It's tough to keep your sidewalks clear in Bend when snowplows keep covering them up.

OK, so we all know that the City of Bend has an obscure ordinance that says we citizens should clear our sidewalks within 24 hours of a major snow dump. Fine, I can live with that, and have for the past 33 winters, and I suspect that no one has ever been fined for not clearing his or her sidewalks in a timely fashion.

I have also wondered from years why and try to clear your sidewalks at all if you live on a busy arterial street. Because as soon as I clear my sidewalks along a busy arterial, along comes a city plow and any and all the loose snow from the street back onto the sidewalks.

Here’s how it goes: I wake at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday the 23rd and by 7 a.m. have my sidewalks completely clear of snow. So far so good.

At 1:00, my wife and I walk downtown only to arrive back as two city plows scrape whatever snow they can off the streets and put it back on the sidewalks. That’s the sidewalks along the entire length (over a mile) of street. Sidewalks that were clear, and very walkable, hours before.

A decade ago we could park on the busy arterial and we my aging Ford pickup there all winter to discourage the maniacal plow drivers. It worked. We cleaned the sidewalks and they stayed clean.

Then parking was banned on the street and the walks get cleared and then refilled with snow courtesy of Public Works.

You can’t expect people to conform to an ordinance and then make it almost impossible to do so. It appears the city and Public Works think so.

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