Sam Jennings feud with city heats up

Medford officials have taken photos of cracked and buckled sidewalks around the Sam Jennings Company building next to The Commons as part of a recent crackdown on possible code violations at the business.

Dan Reisinger, who runs Sam Jennings, returned the favor and filed a complaint against the entire sidewalk along the west side of Apple Street across from The Commons, because it is crumbling and overrun with weeds.

"I think they shouldn't just pick on me," said Reisinger. "The sidewalks across the street are just as bad."

The Reisinger family is descended from Sam Jennings, who started the business in 1923, eventually moving to the distinctive white building often referred to as the "Alamo" at the corner of Fourth Street and North Riverside Avenue.

Last week, Medford City Council discussed code violations at the business but didn't describe them in any detail, though police and fire officials have prepared a report on the violations that will be presented to the owners. The sidewalk issue is being handled by Medford Public Works.

The Apple Street properties are owned by Lithia Real Estate Inc., but one of the properties, at the corner of Apple and Fourth streets, was owned by the Medford Urban Renewal Agency until July 3, when it was sold to Lithia.

The property on the corner has been used to store construction materials during the building of The Commons. The properties to the north are fenced off and are planned to be turned into a parking lot for Lithia. At one time, the entire block was slated to be a third park as part of The Commons, but MURA canceled the project.

Other nearby sidewalks at the southeast corner of Fourth and Central Avenue also are in bad shape, though they are scheduled for replacement as part of an intersection renovation project.

— Damian Mann

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