MEDFORD, Ore. – Some people living and working in west Medford are taking steps to protect themselves and their property after a series of arson fires.
Staff at the Southern Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Center, located at 228 N. Holly Street, had a newspaper recycle bin hauled away from its parking lot Wednesday morning, to avoid it becoming a target for an arsonist. The center is near the sites of several recent arson fires.
“This doesn’t seem to be going away,” said Executive Director Glory Cooper. “We don’t want to take a chance on our property being damaged or things being destroyed.”
Medford Police have investigated 10 confirmed arson fires in the past week, and said they are likely the work of a serial arsonist. A total of 14 suspicious fires have been reported since late June and may all be linked. Those fires have included a massive fire at a warehouse on Fir Street on June 25th, five small arson fires at different locations on July 9th, and a fire that burned part of a house Tuesday. Many of those fires were lit early in the morning or late at night at locations near alleys.
Lions members also cleared out a storage shed that housed hundreds of American flags used for community events. The flags will be stored inside the main building, which Cooper says is much safer.
The blue newspaper bins are used to collect old newspapers for recycling, and are picked up once a month from several locations around Medford. The bin at the Holly Street office brings in about $1,600 per year for the organization, and the money is used to pay for eye exams for people on fixed incomes.
The bin could be brought back to the Holly Street office, Cooper said, but only if police arrest the arsonist first. People who still wish to recycle their newspapers can drop them off at Lions bins at WinCo and Sherm’s Thunderbird Market.