MPD continues massive clean up effort on Bear Creek Greenway as fire season begins

MEDFORD, Ore. —One of the Rogue Valley’s most fire-prone areas is the Bear Creek Greenway. Medford Police have removed 9 campsites since it began enforcing the city’s Prohibited Camping Ordinance last Thursday.

Fire season has officially begun in Jackson and Josephine Counties, only intensifying what is always a threat on the Bear Creek Greenway.

“Those fires escape beyond their container or their original intended use faster, and so that’s why this is such a significant issue that we are trying to address,” said Medford Fire Chief, Eric Thompson.

Thompson says the department isn’t doing anything differently now that it’s fire season. They are continuing to monitor the greenway daily.

Medford Police says preventing fires on the greenway is one of its top priorities.  It’s been a focus of the livability team, as it began enforcing the city’s new Prohibited Camping Ordinance this month.

The livability team is out there daily, targeting new sections of the greenway each week. Corporal Randy Jewell with the livability team says the crew is better informed this week with what to expect on the greenway.

“When we do have conversations with them, we do express there is now an extra sense of urgency based on the fire season and that it really is time to move along,” said Corporal Jewell.

The joint effort includes Medford Fire, Medford Parks, Access, La Clinica, Rogue Retreat, and Options, to help get the homeless who live on the greenway, toward available resources.

“Camp removal is going to continue at the same pace, that’s all we’re capable of doing based on the resources we have available,” said Corporal Jewell.

The massive project isn’t something that can be done overnight. But, both agencies say it’s picking away at the massive clean-up, will help reduce the fire risk.

“Give us about six months to actually get through the process and get in from one end of the greenway to the other, to start having an impact and move some of the caps that are out there,” said Corporal Jewell.

Corporal Jewell says next week, the team is tackling another 6 campsites

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Jenna King
NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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