MEDFORD, Ore. — It could take several days for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office to clean out tons of garbage and debris from 50 camp sites along the Bear Creek Greenway.
Jackson County Sheriff’s employees and Community Corrections workers will be out over the next few days clearing out homeless camps and picking up tons of trash. Typically, the sheriff’s office alternates each year cleaning the north and south ends of the Greenway, but this year they saw more camps and trash than ever, and forced workers to clean the entire length.
Deputies posted notices telling people to leave the area, and some transients were cited and released. Sheriff’s officials said these were some of the largest camps they’ve seen in a while, and said many big camps returned after being cleared out last year. Workers filled dumpsters with clothes, needles, trash, tarps, furniture, even strollers.
“All this garbage and hypodermic needles and baby diapers and all this debris is swept into Bear Creek, which ends up in the Rogue River, which ends up in our fisheries,” said Sheriff Mike Winters.
Medford Police also recently conducted a sweep of the portion of the Greenway inside city limits.
Medford Parks and Recreation has looked into options to make the Medford portion a little safer, including adding LED lights every 100 feet. The department is looking for grants to cover the estimated $150 thousand price tag.