This picture at Walnut and 5th Avenue South was taken in June but in January at the same location I saw a woman in a wheelchair try three times to get over and around the danger you see in the sidewalk. Looked like a City Code violation. I reported it to Code Enforcement, and they confirmed my suspicions and sent a letter in late January to the property owner stating:
“6.20.042 Health and safety nuisances.
The following actions or conditions have a direct impact on public health and are declared to be public nuisances.
- Vegetation. The following actions and/or conditions shall be public nuisances:
- Any dead, dying or other hazardous tree which is in danger of falling or endangers the traveling public on a street, alley, sidewalk or other public right-of-way. The word “tree” shall have the same meaning as is provided in ECDC 18.45.040.”
A closer look at the history of this issues shows the city had issued demands for a fix at least as far back as September 2019, over a year ago!
There were a series of requests, extensions, and even a lapse in the permit process. Looking at the correspondence and responses to my request for updates the city was not very persistent to fix this safety issue. The current status is the city sent yet another letter this week with a deadline of Oct. 9 to submit a permit application. This is the same type of permit that took 5 weeks to issue last year and after six months it lapsed. My bet is the city will monitor this issue better than in the past.
Every time I look at this picture and recall the struggles of the lady in January it is truly disappointing that such a clear violation of our code that impacts the safety of all of us who walk in this area has taken so long to address. There is nothing wrong with our code, no rewrite is needed. What we need is proper enforcement.
Trees are nice, but the safety of our citizens, especially those in wheelchairs is far more important.
— By Darrol Haug
Darrol Haug is a longtime resident of Edmonds