- Salem KATU -
A woman fighting a terminal form of bone cancer is trying to raise money to help pay bills with a few weekend garage sales, but the city of Salem says she’s breaking the law and is shutting her down.
Jan Cline had no idea, but the city of Salem has a clear law that states a person can only have three yard sales a year.
Cline has been selling her stuff in the backyard for a few weekends and said she thought she’d be fine by keeping the sale out of everyone’s way.
“It’s a struggle,” Cline says. “It’s a struggle for me because I’m very independent, used to taking care of myself.”
She’s run businesses and supported herself for years but this summer she was diagnosed with bone cancer.
“It’s a bone marrow cancer that eats through the bones and causes holes in the bones so that just by walking I can break a bone,” she says.
In one day she lost her independence, her ability to work and earn an income that could pay for all those medical bills.
So she decided to sell what she owned. The sale was bringing in several hundred dollars each weekend until one neighbor complained and she got a visit from the city.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry. Rules are rules.’”
Cline says she understands the city is trying to prevent nuisances in neighborhoods but she doesn’t think she’s causing any trouble.
“We make such an effort of making it back here (backyard) so that it’s not goobering up the neighborhood, so it’s not like a garage sale all laid out day after day after day,” she says.
Cline says she’s not looking for special treatment but maybe some understanding.
“I just hope that nobody else has to go through this kind of thing. I hope no one else has to give their lives away for nickels and dimes and then be told they can’t even do that. I hope nobody else has to do this ever.”
According to the Community Development Department, there is a reason for the law. In the past some people had set up what ended up being permanent flea-market-type sales on their property.
After hearing more about Cline’s situation, a supervisor said he is going to take another look to see if there’s anything she can do to operate within the law. But if she reopens now, it is a misdemeanor and about a $300 fine.