News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Basketball hoops can stay, but off the sidewalk

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

The decision about removing basketball hoops from Scio city sidewalks was not a slam dunk, but for now, it’s a must-do.

After attending the recent city council meeting to address the issue, Casey Tibbs, owner of Rocky’s Coffee Corner, let people know via the Scio Community Happenings Facebook page that hoops should be moved off of city sidewalks.

“It seems all town members who attended were on the same page about keeping the hoops as long as they’re in a safe non-interfering location,” she said. “As of right now the sidewalk issue is the biggest issue, so, if your hoops are on the sidewalk, please relocate them to a different location that does not interfere with the flow of moving traffic.”

City Manager Ginger Allen told council members at the Oct. 10 city council meeting that since Scio has no specific ordinance regarding basketball hoops, a notice of violation was the first step to rectify the standard for placement. Because both streets and sidewalks are public rights-of-way. Allen notified all basketball hoop owners after making some changes to the original notice.

Councilor Luke Zedwick asked council members to look at an ordinance change that would maintain the language about blocking of sidewalks but would allow placement of hoops in the street against the curb, maintaining distances between locations, and in specific areas.

“That way we can encourage kids to play outside,” Zedwick told council members.

The notice, he said, was a start to make people aware and start a conversation. 

Tibbs said the city has postponed enforcement of hoops until January to allow for further discussion by the city attorney and council members.

“There is a potential that they may change the verbiage of the current ordinance moving forward but without discussion with the city attorney,” she said. “Nothing is promised or set in stone.”

Roberta Reed posted, “Sounds like the battle is won, and maybe full victory in the future. It does seem like a good compromise. I can understand not having them on the sidewalk, but if safe and non-interfering, let them stay on the street!”

Tibbs agreed, saying, “Definitely constructive progress!”

The issue began last month when a violation notice from the Scio City Council began appearing on hoops around town due to a recent complaint. Tibbs invited people to discuss the issue on the site.

The violation notice alerted hoop owners to Scio’s public rights-of-way ordinance 610 which prohibits a person from occupying or encroaching upon a public right-of-way without the permission of the city. Owners could be cited if basketball hoops clogged sidewalk areas or parking spaces, the notice declared. Citation enforcement was to begin Dec. 1 and served by a Linn County Sheriff Deputy.

“I would much rather have my children playing basketball with their friends either in front of my home or theirs than the many other destructive or negative options out there,” she said in response to the notice. “I can see them, supervise them, and they can have safe, clean, positive fun and move out of the way when they see cars.

“This is a small town,” she added. “Kids only have so many options. Let them be kids!”

Tibbs’ posts generated a slew of comments, including once from Courtney Elkins that expressed her disappointment in community priorities.

“I agree blocking sidewalks completely should not happen, but the argument that hoops negatively impact livability via limited parking is weak at best,” said Amber Lovejoy. “We should be encouraging our youth to be outdoors and active, as well as creating additional opportunities and space for them to do so.”

Dennis Shaffer found some of the comments disturbing but is for keeping the sidewalks open for people in wheelchairs, seniors and others needing a clear walkway.

“I agree that the city is taking this problem too far,” he said. “The main concern should be to keep the sidewalks open for what they are meant to be used for.”

Shaffer is not against having a basketball hoop on the street up against the sidewalk, “especially in the Thomas Creek area where streets are wide enough to handle it.”

Tibbs told Shaffer most of the hoops in her neighborhood were on the street and not blocking the sidewalk.

Backing Tibbs, Carolyn Nunn encouraged people to attend or write a letter voicing their concerns prior to the Nov. 14 city council meeting.

“I believe we have a compassionate council who will make the right decision on this issue,” she said. “Our hoop has been in the same place for probably 30 years and now it’s an issue?”

Mary Lou Driscoll enjoys watching kids interact.

“I miss my sweet neighborhood kids,” she said. “What an awful rule. Destroys community love!”

For more information, call the city at 503-394-3342.

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