Medford City Council to consider ‘Livability Team’

Medford, Ore. — The City of Medford is working to address problems in the downtown and greater area with a proposed ‘Livability Team’. The idea will be discussed at Thursday night’s City Council meeting.

The idea was first brought up last Fall to create a team of new Medford police officers to handle specific problems. Since the, the city of Medford has since been researching the idea.

“We’re looking to model it after what other cities have done, that Oregon City and Corvallis, most notably, that have livability teams, or they’ve termed some other type of team that addresses this,” City Manager Brian Sjothun said.

If approved, the team would be comprised of three new police officers and an additional code enforcement officer. They would focus on tackling issues like abandoned homes and cars, or illegal camping and homelessness.

“We want to be able to not necessarily arrest them, but to link them to places to stay, support services, in order for them to potentially get out of the cycle of homelessness,” Sjothun said.

The team would cost the city around $500,000 a year. The city is considering applying for a federal COPS grant to help cover the cost.

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