Keeping sidewalks shoveled and clear in the winter

Keeping sidewalks shoveled and clear in the winter
Photo by LinedPhoto / Unsplash

I've been in the Portland region for almost a decade and every year we have consistent stretches of below-freezing weather, sometimes lasting a couple weeks.

One thing I've noticed about living in the Pacific Northwest is that most people don't clear their sidewalks after it's snowed. I posed the question as to why this is the case on Reddit last year, and I caught a lot of flack for it. I think it's just a lot of excuse-making by lazy people. And make no mistake: if someone falls on your stretch of sidewalk, you are legally responsible and could be sued.

Some common things I heard from Portland Redditors:

It doesn't snow enough to own a snow shovel or justify salting.

You don't need a snow shovel to clear your sidewalk. Often a push broom and flat garden shovel is more than enough for a city sidewalk. If you don't have one of these, look for a neighbor with a clear sidewalk and ask if they have a shovel you can borrow.

It's just going to melt in a few days anyway.

Leaving the snow to melt during the warmer part of the day only to freeze again overnight when it's colder just makes the situation more dangerous for pedestrians.

Salt is bad for the environment.

Salt in large quantities can be bad for the environment but using small amounts once or twice a year isn't going to be enough to cause any damage to your local environment.

Clearing the sidewalk adjacent to your property is actually required in most places across the U.S. Often homeowners have 24 hours, and commercial businesses have less time than that. Landlords, condo associations, HOAs with commonly owned properties, and apartment complexes are also required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks. Do the right thing and clear your sidewalk for those who need it.