Medford, Ore.–Medford Police issue 22 citations to people illegally camping along the Bear Creek Greenway. That’s where they are investigating the cause of ten suspicious fires in the past few weeks.
Sgt. Steve Furst and other Medford Police officers worked over night climbing through thick brush, searching for homeless camps on the greenway.
“Seems like everyday there is a new face showing up on the streets with a sad story,” says Sgt. Furst.
It’s illegal to camp on the greenway or anywhere in Medford and while police sweeps like this one occur regularly, “It’s our goal to have success to where there is no homelessness.”
Officers also used the sweep as part of their investigation into ten recent fires in the area.
“We did come up with a couple names tonight and I don’t know where that will lead us,” Sgt. Furst explains.
Two of the most recent fires happening Tuesday night behind the OK Market and another Monday night near the bike path north of Railroad Park. No injuries or structure damage were reported.
“Safety is an issue for everybody that is concerned,” says Jason Bull of the Medford Gospel Rescue Mission.
In Bull’s 19 years working with the homeless community, his organization has helped many who once called the greenway home.
“We will help them develop a plan and keep them accountable week to week to week to see to it that they dont return to the greenway,” explains Bull.
Besides the Gospel Mission, Bull says there are multiple resources to help people who find themselves on the streets.
“Rogue Valley Veterans in Recovery, The Salvation Army, there is a program for just about everybody here in town,” Bull says.
While he knows not everyone confronted for illegal camping will seek the help they need, Bull appreciates the effort of Medford Police.
“Living on the streets isnt something that needs to happen.”
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