Medford considering new camping rules, could affect camping on Bear Creek

MEDFORD, Ore.– The Medford City Council is looking at a new camping ordinance that would prevent people from camping near schools and waterways.

The DEQ recently voiced concerns to the city, over how camping near places like Bear Creek is affecting water quality.

The new ordinance is an extension of another camping ordinance that was passed in 2021.

Medford’s attorney said the new ordinance took inspiration from a number of other cities, like Bend and Los Angeles.

If passed, the new ordinance would prevent camping within 500 feet of schools and playgrounds.

It would also outlaw camping within 50 feet of the nearest edge of any waterway.

City Attorney Eric Mitton said, “in the current ordinance, it is lawful to sleep, at least with a bedroll, immediately on the banks of bear creek or other waterways. That can lead to litter, belongings, other things, falling into the creek and affecting water quality.”

Mitton said the new ordinance will expand camping rules that are usually only in place during fire season.

He said the city is looking to be proactive on the issue of homelessness and camping.

The city council will vote on the ordinance at Thursday’s meeting.

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NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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