Central Oregon Daily▶️ Start digging out: Rules for sidewalks, tips to avoid ice berms,...

▶️ Start digging out: Rules for sidewalks, tips to avoid ice berms, ice dams

▶️ Start digging out: Rules for sidewalks, tips to avoid ice berms, ice dams

Snow blower

With Central Oregon’s winter storm now over, it’s time to start digging out. That means plows will be coming through city streets. It also means homeowners and renters need to start clearing their sidewalks.

“Digging out, it’s a lot of snow but it’s not that compact, it was a light snow because it was so cold. We want to dig it out really good and keep good access for our customers,” said John Congdon, Maintenance Manager at Wall Street Storage.

The City of Bend posted on Facebook Saturday that it plans to start sending plows through residential streets Sunday. Residents are urged, if possible, to get their vehicles and any other obstructions such as basketball hoops and garbage cans off the street to make room for the plows.

Redmond reported Sunday morning it was on a Level 4 response, meaning city-wide plowing (residential & priority routes, all elevations).

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Avoid ice berms

One of the downsides of having plows come through your neighborhood after a big snowstorm is that they usually leave ice berms in front of your driveway. Clearing these is a lot harder than simply shoveling snow.

One tip often shared by cities to prevent berms is to clear out a pocket of snow on the street from the side of the driveway adjacent the direction of travel. Generally, this is the left side of the driveway. But if you’re on a narrow street, the plow could be coming from the opposite direction.

The City of Bend suggests trying to clear about 20 feet of space ahead of your driveway before the plows come through.


Clear your roof to avoid ice dams

Icicles that form on roofs indicate the formation of ice dams. Ice dams trap water that would normally roll off your roof. If ignored, it can lead to interior water damage in your home.

Deschutes Roofing owner Carlos Simpson told us last week that he recommends using a roof rake or a tool called an Avalanche to clear your roof of snow. The Avalanche has a plastic slide attached, so when you push into the snow on the roof, the snow breaks up and slides down to the ground.


Shoveling your sidewalks

The general rule from most cities is that property owners and renters are responsible for clearing the sidewalks in front of their property. The rules vary from city-to-city, but it’s generally expected to be within a day of the snowfall. It’s generally also requested that the snow be shoveled back onto the owner’s property, not into the street.

Also, be sure to clear the snow around your fire hydrant. And if you have neighbors who are elderly or live with disabilities, consider helping them out by shoveling their sidewalk and driveway.

But know your limits in terms of your own health. According to the American Heart Association, the exertion of shoveling snow may lead to an increased risk of a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest.

Here are the posted regulations for most major Central Oregon cities.


  • All commercial properties must remove snow and ice from the sidewalk within six hours of daylight after the snow has fallen
  • All residential properties have 24 hours to remove snow after it has fallen.
  • When shoveling snow, be sure to keep all of the snow on your property. Snow cannot be moved from the sidewalk into the street.
  • The City of Bend’s street crews do their best to keep from plowing snow back up onto the sidewalk however, it may still occur. If the snow plow causes more snow to accumulate on your sidewalk, it is still your responsibility to keep the sidewalk clear.
  • Code Enforcement has compiled a small list of licensed contractors who a property owner can hire for snow removal maintenance. Please contact Teresa Stovall at (541) 312-7968 or at tstovall@bendoregon.gov for more information.


  • Residents are responsible for removing snow from adjacent sidewalks. Please assist us in providing a safe walking surface for pedestrians. Transportation Division crews do their best to keep from plowing snow back on the sidewalk however, it may still occur. If a snow plow moves snow on to your sidewalk, please know that it is still your responsibility to keep the sidewalk clear.
  • Do not shovel, blow, or plow snow from your driveway or sidewalk into the street. Snow should be piled in yard space behind curbing and sidewalks. Moving snow into the right-of-way may cause ice ruts before the street is plowed, making entrance to your home and driving on the road dangerous.
  • Park vehicles off-street. Vehicles parked in the street create a hazard for snow plow operators and do not allow roadways to be completely cleared. If you cannot park off the street, park as close to the curb as possible.
  • Remove basketball hoops, bicycles, soccer nets and all other personal property from the street right-of-way. These obstructions pose a safety hazard to snow-plowing crews and to the traveling public during snow events. The City is not responsible for damage caused to personal property left in the street.



  • The City of Sisters is asking all residents and business owners to park vehicles off the street during a snow event, to allow our plow drivers to clear streets as wide as possible.
  • Please do not put garbage cans out until the morning of collection, so that our snow plows can operate as efficiently as possible during the nighttime hours.
  • When the City is plowing, snow may end up as a berm across your driveway (with significant snow it may even cover a sidewalk and/or fire hydrant). We apologize for the inconvenience.
  • Unfortunately, this is unavoidable during times with large snow accumulation. Removal of driveway berms and clearing sidewalks is the responsibility of the adjacent resident and/or business owner.
  • Snow removal in alleys and parking areas is the adjacent property owner’s responsibility. The City will focus its limited resources on keeping travel lanes open. When plowing the parking area at your home or business, be mindful of storm drains. Covered drains will create unnecessary flooding. Snow mounds can also reduce visibility to adjacent streets, alleyways, and sidewalks. Please don’t place snow mounds in handicap accessible parking spaces.
  • Per City Ordinance No. 473, when the Public Works Department determines that it is necessary to remove snow or widen a street, temporary “No Parking” zones may be established. “No Parking” zones will be signed not less than four hours before the start of the snow removal operation.


  • Many of our neighbors rely on a clear sidewalk to get to and from work or school, or to access the school bus. When a sidewalk has not been cleared of snow and/or ice, pedestrians may be forced to walk in the road, causing a dangerous situation for both the pedestrian and the driver of a vehicle.
  • City code requires every property owner or occupant to maintain the adjacent sidewalks in good condition. Commercial properties are responsible for snow shoveling/de-icing the adjacent sidewalks within 6 hours of daylight following the snowfall or ice event. This includes sidewalks adjacent to an empty lot.
  • As you clear your sidewalks, remember to remove snow in the bulb-out area and all the way to the street. Please connect to your neighbor so there is no gap between your property and theirs.
  • This will vastly improve connectivity and make for a safer town for everyone to enjoy. Please refrain from using Ice Melt or similar products that contain salt because they can damage sidewalks. The City uses bird seed or sand as an alternative method for keeping the sidewalks safe & accessible.


(1) No owner or person in charge of property, improved or unimproved, abutting on a public sidewalk shall permit:

(a) Snow to remain on the sidewalk for a period longer than the first six hours of daylight on business days after the snow has fallen.

(b) Ice to remain on the sidewalk for more than six hours of daylight on business days after ice has formed, unless the ice is covered with sand, ashes, or other suitable material to ensure safe travel.

(2) In the event the property owner shall fail to remove any ice or snow from their sidewalks, and the same becomes hazardous in the opinion of the Street Department for the City, the City may remove such snow and ice or cause the same to be removed and charge the cost of removal to the owner of the property abutting said sidewalk.

(3) In areas where buildings abut the sidewalk, snow or ice shall be placed on the three-foot area of the sidewalk adjacent to the curb. No ice or snow shall be placed on the street or in the gutter where it can block runoff water or impede traffic.

La Pine

  • Property owners/residents are responsible for clearing berms, sidewalks, and access to mailboxes.
  • Parking is prohibited on snow routes in order for plowing services to maximize snow removal.
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