Medford considering new rules for illegal campsites

MEDFORD, Ore.– With fire season fast approaching, the Medford City Council is considering new rules regarding illegal camping.

The city is looking to provide a local definition for “established camping sites”.

City officials believe it would help law enforcement clear illegal campsites faster.

State law requires law enforcement to give illegal campsites a 72-hour notice before they can be cleared.

Adopting a new local definition would give law enforcement the power to clear campsites immediately, as long as the campsite hasn’t been there for longer than five days.

City Attorney Eric Mitton said, “It would allow law enforcement to take immediate action if they haven’t been in that place for very long, they don’t have an expectation of permanency. It would allow law enforcement to say ‘No, this is a violation of time, place and manner regulations. You need to pack it up now and if you don’t, enforcement is a possibility.'”

Mitton said tents would still be permitted at places like the urban campground and during severe weather events.

He said there is very little precedent for how these rules have worked in other cities.

Ashland recently adopted a 24-hour rule for unhoused campers just two weeks ago.

The Medford City Council will vote on the new definition 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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