Why does Baker City have a law mandating ice and snow removal from sidewalks?

With apologies to the people of Grants Pass, it's the climate.

Our town can weather a winter like that of 2004/05, where most of the moisture falls as rain. Or we can get a foot of snow and see the mercury hover below freezing indefinitely, as was our fate during the most recent December.

When snow falls, it blankets the landscape indiscriminately. And when that snow gets packed down by feet and cars, and that packed snow freezes and thaws, the end result can be one heck of a slick mess.

The answer: get the snow before it gets you.

It's a monumental task, really. Heavy snow is, well, heavy. Fortunately, many hands make light work: if you have a sidewalk, clear it. And if your neighbor can't or won't clear it, clear it for them or contact Community Connection at 523-6591 and get your neighbor (or yourself) signed up for assistance from inmate work crews.

While the city isn't eager to cite people who violate the snow removal ordinance, we think citizens should report chronic scofflaws not to create a bigger problem, but help solve one.

Baker City has a number of commercial buildings and even residential homes that are essentially vacant and have absentee owners folks who either live out of the area, or just don't pay attention to their property.

You shouldn't try to sic the city on the little old lady down the street who needs help clearing her walk. But the absentee owners of homes or buildings need to be made aware of the law and how to remedy the situation. A letter from the city making the owner aware of the issue might be all it takes to clear the slush and make walking from your car to a store safer when the weather turns sour.