LETTER: To remove or repair sidewalk

To the Editor: 

On Dec. 7, 2020, there will be a public hearing at the Keizer City Council to determine how to “fix” the issue of 10 feet of damaged sidewalk located on Harcourt Avenue at the side of a residence (1360 Ivy Way NE). Normally, it is a good idea to repair sidewalks, but not when the sidewalk goes nowhere and a decision by the Keizer City Council to have the sidewalk repaired (rather than remove the damaged sidewalk) will cause the removal of two perfectly healthy, magnificent trees—which are heritage-like landmarks for this area of Keizer. 

The offending sidewalk goes behind these two trees and goes no further. That is, from the corner of Harcourt and Ivy Way NE to the trees is about four feet of “good” sidewalk. Then, there is about ten feet of damaged sidewalk behind the trees. After that, the sidewalk stops—completely.  That’s because the remainder of Harcourt (going south) has no sidewalk. Neither does the next cross street. As a consequence there is no foot-traffic on that offending portion of the sidewalk. Despite that, according to Shannon Johnson, Keizer city attorney, there has been a complaint to which the City of Keizer has to respond.

According to Shannon Johnson, even the complainant doesn’t want the trees cut down, but repairing the sidewalk isn’t feasible without destroying the trees. Unfortunately, one cannot simply reroute the sidewalk because of the way the land slopes. And, Keizer ordinances require the owner of the residence only “to repair or replace this existing sidewalk.” There is no provision for the simple removal of this sidewalk, which is the solution that makes the most sense since the sidewalk goes nowhere. Hence, the decision has been referred to the Keizer City Council.

Why would we sacrifice two magnificent trees to repair a small portion of a sidewalk that leads nowhere? I’m asking the city council of the to resolve the issue of the offending sidewalk by finding a solution, like removing the sidewalk entirely, which will also let us save our wonderful trees.

Anything you can do to help save the trees and generate a good solution for the City of Keizer would be much appreciated.

Barbara Hunter