Expansion efforts thwarted

Medford, Ore. — A Rogue Valley business is bursting at the seams and is interested in purchasing an empty Medford lot to help them expand, potentially creating new jobs in the valley, but they’ve hit a road block.

“We have spent nine years basically trying to get a response from the city,” says Jack Schmidt, owner of Precision Electric on Front and Second street in Medford, says the past 44 years of business have been great in the Rogue Valley, but a recent problem has developed.

“We don’t really have the room to do what we need to do for a business that’s grown to the business our size,” says Schmidt.

That’s why he says he set his sights on a lot on the corner of Front and Third streets just up the street from his headquarters.

“We would have the footprint to build the warehouse we would like to build.”

According to Schmidt he expressed his interest to the city almost ten years ago. He claims in all those years he’s never gotten an answer.

“Even no thanks would have been a decent response.”

Schmidt says phone calls, a letter, and several in person visits to the city managers office haven’t helped.  Finally last week, fed up, he drafted a purchasing contract and delivered it to City Hall.

Calls to acting City Manager Allison Chan’s office to verify Schmidt’s claims weren’t returned, but Medford City Councilor Clay Bearnson says he’s heard of Schmidt’s interest and has personally looked into the situation.

“I don’t want to insinuate that anything is being fabricated in any way.  City staff has seen no evidence.”

Bearnson questions how long Precision Electric has wanted the land and if it has anything to do with possible upcoming construction.

“From the outside looking in it might appear that this interest has been a recent interest since the advent of this potential tiny home village that has been proposed,” Bearnson explains.

The lot in question could hold 12-14 tiny homes specifically for the homeless.

“Its really in our best interest for our community to give things like this a try,” says Bearnson.

Schmidt says he sees the need for such a space and would even like to help, but he believes his offer should also be considered alongside the potential homeless community.

“For this epidemic of homelessness, anything you can do is necessary.”

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