Renewing the Medford Urban Renewal Agency

Medford, Ore — From potted plants to public parks, the Medford Urban Renewal Agency has put it’s stamp on Downtown Medford.

City councilors have a big decision to make on how they want to spend the agency’s more than million dollar budget.

Hawthorne Park is the perfect place to pick a pear or a pack of peppers, but it wasn’t always this way.

“We saw people steering away from Hawthorne park because of what they considered an uncomfortable situations being in the park,” said Dick Gordon.

Gordon is the former chair of the Medford Urban Renewal Agency, or ‘MURA’, the city agency that spearheads revitalization efforts in and around Downtown Medford.

“[MURA helped] Reconstruct the Craterian Theatre, bought the land that the SOU building sits on, built the Pear Blossom Parks, improvements to Hawthorne Park,” said Gordon.

MURA’s days may be numbered. The city council has to decide whether to keep the program or put the $1.3 million annual budget to other use in the general fund.

“There’s pros and cons, everybody on the council is considering the options we have, I think that it will take another several months to decide whether to borrow additional funds that we are allowed to do under state law,” said Gordon.

Sherry Henney, of Sherry’s Pasta, has seen Hawthorne Park’s resurgence first hand.

“I love it here, I think it was a great move for us and the whole community,” said Henney.

From her perspective, just outside the downtown core, Medford’s on the right track.

“I think it’s really been a boost, people can make a day of it, they can eat here, walk around the park, sit on a blanket, take their kids to the water park,” said Henney.

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Matt Jordan is the Chief Meteorologist for KOBI-TV NBC5. Matt joined the NBC5 weather team in 2014 after a year as a reporter and anchor in Alexandria, Louisiana. His experience with the severe weather of the Deep South and a love of the Pacific Northwest led him to pursue a certification with Mississippi State University as a Broadcast Meteorologist. You can find Matt working in the evenings of NBC5 News at 5, 6 and 11 as well as online. Matt also has a degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. In addition to being passionate about news and weather, Matt is a BIG Oregon Ducks fan. When not rooting for the Ducks or tracking down the next storm over the Pacific, Matt can be found outdoors in the Oregon wilderness with his wife, his daughter and their dogs Stanley and Gordi.
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