City shuts down early — and a reminder to keep your sidewalks clear

Snow falling in Edmonds as predicted early Friday afternoon. This photo is from the Lake Ballinger neighborhood at about 1:20 p.m.

As heavy snow began to fall early Friday afternoon, the City of Edmonds announced it was closing City Hall and other city administrative offices, although police, public works and other essential personnel would remain on the job.

“We would like to ensure that city staff are able to get home while the streets are still passable,” Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling said, noting that current predictions call for up to 4 inches of snow by midnight, with another up to 4 inches possible overnight and into Saturday morning.

Public works personnel will continue to apply sand and salt on city streets, starting with principal arterials, the mayor said. “Please be aware that some especially-steep neighborhood side streets may not be able to be treated. Where resources allow, we will attempt to barricade such streets as ‘closed,’ but there may not be sufficient resources to barricade every steep street segment in the city,” Earling said.

“In such cases, please use good judgment in traversing these streets. Consider parking at the bottom of slopes, using chains or studded tires, or refraining from driving,” he added.

When it comes to city sidewalks, Edmonds property owners are responsible for ensuring that sidewalks adjacent to their homes are snow- and ice-free. That’s according to City Development Director Shane Hope, who was responding to a question from a My Edmonds News reader.

Under city code, Hope said, “property owners are responsible for maintaining adjacent sidewalks. Thus, they are legally liable if someone is hurt from slipping on an adjacent sidewalk that the property owner has not reasonably maintained from snow and ice hazards.”

While a property owner could theoretically be fined $100 per day, “the city recognizes that snow and ice conditions are relatively rare in our region and extenuating circumstances sometimes make it difficult for property owners to immediately clear the adjacent sidewalks,” Hope said.

Enforcing such penalties for short-term circumstances “is generally not a high priority for limited city resources,” she added. “Regardless, we strongly urge property owners to maintain the adjacent sidewalks and recognize their responsibility for people’s safety.”

Edmonds police are prepared to assist citizens involved in snow-related traffic accidents, as patrol cars are equipped with traction devices, Mayor Earling noted. Residents are asked to call 911 in case of any accidents or other emergencies, but should use the nonemergency number for other issues: 425-407-3999.

Edmonds police spokesman Sgt. Shane Hawley said Friday night that for police, the evening was “fairly quiet. Traffic has been minimal,” he said.

Snohomish PUD was prepared for any storm-related power outages. If you experience a power outage, call PUD at 425-783-1001 or visit

During his announcement of City Hall’s early closure, Mayor Earling issued a reminder for those people who need shelter overnight: The South Snohomish County Emergency Cold Weather Shelter will be open at Maple Park Church, located at 17620 60th Ave. W. in Lynnwood. Hours of operation are 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., with both dinner and breakfast being offered. Transportation to and from the shelter is being provided from the following three locations: 1) Lynnwood City Hall at 7 p.m., 2) 196th and Highway 99 at 7:05 p.m., 3) and Value Village at 172nd and Highway 99 at 7:25 p.m.

“Police personnel who encounter individuals in need of shelter will ensure transportation either to these pick-up locations or to the shelter itself,” Earling said. Anyone who knows of individuals in need of shelter should contact police using the nonemergency number: 425-407-3999.

“We all know that a snowstorm can also be a source of wintertime fun, especially for the kids. Enjoy the snow, but please be mindful that sledding on city streets is neither safe nor permissible, Earling said. “Many other opportunities exist for sledding, such as city parks, school yards, etc.  Please enjoy the snow safely.”


  1. I don’t know if it would pass legal muster as “reasonable maintenance” but coffee grounds are something that are usually pretty available in the area, and can be used for traction on snow/ice. They will help melt ice if the temperatures are near freezing and there’s some light to warm them. Plus, they decompose easily once the ice melts and rain washes them away.
    I used them on my sidewalk and roof (to prevent ice dams) for years in the Midwest. If you use them, it’s also a good idea to take shoes off when you go in your house, they can stain carpets.

  2. “When a jurisdiction fails to keep its sidewalks in a reasonable state of repair, free of dangerous and unsafe conditions, the results can be costly in terms of injury claims. Many cities and towns have ordinances that impose the cost of sidewalk repair upon abutting property owners. If a sidewalk needs repair, the jurisdiction requests the abutting property owner to make the repair. If the repair is not made, the jurisdiction will make the repair and bill the property owner. While these ordinances provide a means to repair and maintain sidewalks, they do not relieve the jurisdiction from liability.” quoting (See Rivett v. Tacoma, 123 Wn.2d 573 (1994).

    Hazardous conditions on public street right-of-way.
    ECC 9.20.100 (I) …this chapter shall not be interpreted to require indemnification from the property owner for injury or damage to any and/or property which is the result of the sole negligence or fault of the city. [Ord. 3101 § 1, 1996].

    Contrary to Ms. Hope, and simply put, it is the City’s duty to keep our streets and sidewalks maintained and free from obstruction for safe travel. The Edmonds code with regards to liability is an unreasonable exercise of the police power granted to the city and therefore is unconstitutional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.