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MailTribune.com
  • Citation avoided after Jennings Co. cleanup

    Cracked sidewalk still at issue between Medford and business near The Commons
  • A dispute between the Sam Jennings Co. and Medford officials was defused partially Tuesday after the business tidied itself up and city officials decided not to issue a citation.
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  • A dispute between the Sam Jennings Co. and Medford officials was defused partially Tuesday after the business tidied itself up and city officials decided not to issue a citation.
    "They backed way off," said Dan Reisinger, who runs Sam Jennings.
    The business, which has operated for 90 years at its current site — adjacent to the city's downtown redevelopment project known as The Commons — was the target of complaints from Mayor Gary Wheeler and others for a variety of problems.
    Officials from code enforcement, the Planning Department, the Public Works Department and other departments descended on the business over the past week to investigate the complaints, which included cracked sidewalks and the untidy look of the business, which repairs trucks and other heavy equipment.
    In response, workers at Sam Jennings graded the lot, removed storage containers and cleaned up the property.
    Reisinger said one sticking point is a fenced area at the corner of Fourth Street and Riverside Avenue. He said city officials said the fence blocks visibility for motorists attempting to turn left from Fourth onto Riverside.
    Reisinger said he pointed out that many buildings in the downtown are built up to the sidewalk edge, which would also block visibility.
    "I'm not taking that fence down," he said.
    Reisinger said he still would make an effort to clean up the area behind the fence and stack things up more neatly.
    The company is not totally off the hook with the city. The Medford Public Works Department has mailed out a letter citing cracked sidewalks and giving Sam Jennings 30 days to make repairs.
    "They can request an extension," said Cory Crebbin, public works director.
    Crebbin said the letter explains that the city is not responsible if anyone is injured as a result of the cracked sidewalks.
    Medford police Sgt. Ben Lytle said workers at Sam Jennings resolved most of the issues by undertaking a clean-up.
    "They've been doing so much work down there it has been great," Lytle said. "He's bent over backwards. It's nice having someone so willing to meet and talk."
    Lytle said the business owners have agreed to clean up accumulated junk, including some pieces that are intertwined with blackberry bushes on the north side of the building.
    The city attempts to get voluntary compliance from a property owner to avoid issuing a citation, Lytle said.
    The city's investigation of the Sam Jennings property came to a head last week, just prior to the holiday tree lighting ceremony at the newest park in The Commons.
    The Commons includes two new park blocks, Lithia Motors' new headquarters, remodeling at the Inn at the Commons and a new business, SkyOak Wealth Management, moving in.
    Elaine Reisinger, daughter of Sam Jennings, said she appreciated the outpouring of public support when the city first announced possible code violations at the business.
    She said she hopes everything will work out with the city.
    "I'm not breathing a deep sigh of relief," she said. "I've got the feeling it's not all over."
    She also questioned why the Medford Urban Renewal Agency hadn't improved the sidewalks around her business as they did near other business in the area.
    She said her family business has made an effort to improve the appearance of the property, but she said she expects heavy equipment and other vehicles will continue to be brought in for repair.
    "It's still the same business," she said.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.
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