Medford Partners With U of O

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MEDFORD, Ore. — The University of Oregon is partnering with the city of Medford and the impact might be felt throughout the next year.

This is the fourth year of the project which selects a city in Oregon for students to focus on ways to improve sustainability. Past cities include Gresham, Salem and Springfield, and officials say this year Medford beat out Bend, Beaverton and Portland.

University officials say beginning next academic school year, more than 400 students will spend more than 60,000 hours on projects that enhance livability, conserve resources and generate economic development.

23 projects have been proposed and which project will specifically be taken on are unknown at this time. City officials say the partnership provides and exciting opportunity to hear fresh ideas of city improvement.

“We’re looking forward to the future and to really, to address the needs of citizens, make this a more livable community. It already is livable, but improve on that,” said Medford Planning Director Jim Huber.

University officials say the partnership gives students “real-world” experience that can be used to better communities in the state. University officials say since the “sustainable cities initiative” began a few years ago, it has gained national attention and universities in other states are starting similar programs.

The project will be a year-long partnership with project work taking place primarily in eugene classrooms during the 2013 to 2014 school year.