Yard Sale
Jan Cline's yard sale ran afoul of Salem city ordinances. Image: Flickr / rainchurch / CC-BY-SA

The codes, rules, and regulations that cities enforce are always a delicate balancing act. The city of Salem, Oregon, is currently in hot water, because a yard sale to pay medical bills may be shut down. The city is working with Jan Cline to help her find a way to pay her medical bills without running afoul of city regulations.


The yard sale for medical bills shut down

For the last several weekends, Jan Cline has been holding a yard sale in her back yard. An unknown neighbor, however, complained to the city about the yard sales. City code in Salem specifically states that an individual is limited to 3 yard sales of no more than 3 days each. The city is required to act on resident’s complaints, so an officer was sent to Cline’s residence. The officer did not cite Cline, but did let her know that she was in violation of city code.

Cline’s sales were to pay for cancer treatment

Jan Cline had a very good reason for holding her numerous garage sales. The 64-year old has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a bone cancer that leaves her very vulnerable to fractured bones. Cline is self-employed and has no medical insurance to help pay her mounting medical bills. There are volunteers that help Cline haul, set out, and price her items, since she is confined to a chair.

City of Salem trying to find a solution

The City of Salem has indicated that they do, in fact, have sympathy for Cline’s situation. In the end, however, the city code is written to help protect neighbors from being forced to endure flea market type environments in neighborhoods not zoned for commercial use. The city is making an effort to connect Cline with local charities and health organizations, and the website set up for donations has already brought in over $17,000. The average costs of treating cancer without insurance, however, can easily drive any uninsured person into bankruptcy.


ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=14327990
Jan Cline Cancer Fight: http://janclinecancerfight.bbnow.org/donate
Statesman Journal: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20110819/COLUMN0101/108190338/When-cancer-meets-city-code

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