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Street addresses must be clear, easily visible, say Medford's codes

I notice that there seem to be fewer and fewer street numbers being displayed, especially in the downtown Medford area. Isn't there a requirement that the street address numbers be prominently shown? It is very frustrating and at times difficult to find where you're going. Is someone dropping the ball on this?

— Gordon D., Medford

Yes, Gordon, you're right, there is a city requirement regarding the display of addresses. In fact there are a couple.

City Code 9.570 states: "The owner or tenant of every residence or place of business or other structure opening upon or having access to the streets of the city shall cause to be placed in a conspicuous place upon the main entrance or at the principal place of ingress to his premises a number, to be ascertained as provided in Sections 9.571 and 9.572."

Code 9.571 refers to the assigning of building numbers, while 9.572 goes into more detail about the requirement that the numbers be visible.

It reads: "Each property owner or tenant, as provided in Section 9.570, shall ascertain from the Building Safety Director the number so assigned to his premises, and shall cause that number to be affixed thereto in figures not less than three inches high. The figures shall be so placed as to be easily legible from the adjoining sidewalk or street, or public space."

There are a couple of times when the lack of a visible address number may be detected by the city: first, during the final inspection by the building department prior to occupancy and, second, during periodic inspections by the fire department.

Greg Kleinberg, fire marshal for the city, says the fire department inspects commercial buildings on one-, two- or three-year cycles, depending on the degree of hazard a building or its contents presents. The inspections do include ensuring that the address can be seen. He also noted that some addresses are painted on windows and may be missed by would-be visitors.

Kleinberg said anyone who spots a building lacking a visible address can report the issue to the fire department by calling 541-774-2300.

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 youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.