National non-profit could help revitalize neighborhood in W. Medford

Medford, Ore. — A non-profit consulting firm that helps revitalize neighborhoods that are struggling, could breathe new life into a W. Medford neighborhood. Purpose Built Communities is in talks with 30 communities across the U.S. and Medford is one of them. The only thing that’s missing is the person or people who want to make it happen.

Kids Unlimited Executive Director Tom Cole reached out to Purpose Built Communities a decade ago. He saw what the organization was doing in other communities around the country and thought the neighborhood around Liberty Park could really benefit.

“There’s a shortage of housing here that’s a community need,” Cole says, “there are what we call food deserts in poor neighborhoods where families can’t get access to healthy nutrition.”

Representatives from the organization came to visit. What they found was that over 90% of the families living in that area of W. Medford were low income, 37% were living in poverty. But in order for the non-profit to sign-on to work with a neighborhood, they need a local organization to lead the charge.

“We have found that success resides in having a really strong-what we call community quarterback organization- which is a newly created non-profit that is dedicated specifically to the neighborhood,” Eytan Davidson, VP of communications at Purpose Built Communities says.

Right now, that doesn’t exist, but Medford City Councilor Kevin Stine says a great starting point could be with the Medford Urban Renewal Agency.

“We heard some things about their not being good infrastructure in the neighborhood,” Stine says, “I heard that when it rains there’s not proper drainage.”

Issues like that are what MURA is hoping to tackle, as they look for community input this week about what revitalization projects the city should invest in. And should someone come forward to lead the charge with Purpose Built, Stine hopes the two can work in tandem.

“We could definitely find a way to merge the two ideas to try and look into this Liberty Park neighborhood,” Stine says.

If you’d like to help bring this revitalization effort to life connect with Purpose Built Communities HERE. If you want to weigh in at what project MURA should complete, the first public meeting will be held Thursday, May 18th at 6pm at City Hall.

Kristin Hosfelt anchors NBC5 News weeknights at 5, 6 and 11. Originally from the Bay Area, Kristin earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from San Jose State University.

She came to KOBI-TV/NBC5 from Bangor, Maine where she was the evening news anchor. Kristin has won multiple journalism awards including Best Feature Reporting in the State of Maine. In 2017, her investigation on lead pipes in Medford’s water system was named Best News Series by the Oregon Association of Broadcasters.

When Kristin is not sharing the news, she’s traveling, hunting down the best burrito, or buried in a Jodi Picoult novel. She’s also a Green Bay Packers shareholder; if you see her out and about she’d be happy to tell you the story of how a California girl became a cheesehead.

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