Medford prepares to enforce camping ban, May 1

MEDFORD, Ore. – After Medford City Councilors approved a new ordinance prohibiting camping along the Bear Creek Greenway last Friday, there are still questions about how the rule will be enforced. Police Chief Scott Clauson told NBC5 News the new ordinance won’t be enforced until May 1, 2021. But he said they are already doing outreach for the homeless community on the Bear Creek Greenway.

“One of the things that keep me up at night is just how dangerous, along the greenway, for people to live down there,” said Medford Police Chief Scott Clauson, “We’re not going to do a full sweep of the greenway, initially. We’re going to take a very measured approach. We’re going to work with individuals.”

One city partner is Rogue Retreat. Since Friday’s meeting, they have already started discussions with the city to increase the role of their urban campground.

“We’re working with the city and the property owner to possibly expand the campground at the current site. As well as grow it to go onto another piece of the property where we can actually get electricity,” Matthew Vorderstrasse, Development Director of Rogue Retreat.

But early in that process, Vorderstrasse is clear that funding is the biggest factor in whether it will come about.

“No money, no mission type work. As the resources come available, we’ll be looking at doing the expansion,” said Vorderstrasse.

With the beginning of enforcement on May 1st less than a month away, police say the process has only just begun.

“We’re not gonna solve this in one day or one week,” said Chief Clauson.

The City of Medford is also holding a Resource Fair on Friday, April 9, 2021, at Hawthorne Park. There, community members, and those currently camping along the Bar Creek Greenway, will find help from  organizations that will offer various forms of assistance, including legal aid and shelter information.

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