Trash bins that pose a hazard are illegal

Do we have ordinances or laws for Jackson County prohibiting garbage and recycling bins from being left permanently on public streets or on public county roads? We have an individual on our county road who always leaves the bins sitting on the right-of-way.

— Larry A., via email

Laziness is most likely the issue here, Larry, and there's no law against that. However, there is Municipal Code 6.360, which states that no one can place anything on a street or sidewalk that obstructs the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

Suzi Gish, a records specialist with Medford Code Enforcement, said yours is a common complaint. In most cases, the offending party — aka your neighbor down the way — would receive a warning, and if he continued to leave his bins out, they could be deemed a "public nuisance" and he could be issued a $150 ticket.

"It (the code) doesn't specify how long the cans can be out, but we just use a sense of reasonability," Gish said.

Outside city limits, there is no enforceable ordinance in place. However, someone from the Jackson County Roads Department will talk to your neighbor, in accordance with Oregon Revised Statute 368.256, if the bins are creating a safety hazard (for example, blocking sight lines or obstructing traffic), said Mike Kuntz, a Jackson County engineer.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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