MEDFORD, Ore. — The Red Lion Hotel is being sold to a new owner and it’s unclear what the future will hold for that downtown Medford landmark.
But the change of hands is giving the city the chance to move forward with plans to purchase a lot of land next to the Red Lion Hotel and turn it into a parking lot.
For daily downtown commuters like Lyndsay Byrd, her day begins with searching for a parking space before hitting the books at RCC, “Pull into the parking lot, drive around and try to find a spot, park, then you have to pay.”
She says finding a nearby parking spot can be all about timing,” I know like earlier in the term it’s a little bit harder to find a parking spot; it kind of gets more open at the end of the term.”
Commuters like Lyndsay could soon have more parking lot options. Thursday, Medford City Council approved an ordinance to purchase about three acres of land where the Red Lion Hotel currently sits and turn it into a parking lot.
“There’s a private investment group that will purchase it, then a short time later, they will do a lot line adjustment, partition the property and sell the three acre portion to the city,” says Medford City Counselor Daniel Bunn.
Bunn says the city will purchase the land from a private investment group who is purchasing the entire Red Lion lot. $1.6 million plus closing costs will be spent of the land and additional funds of around $2 million would be spent on demolition costs for the new lot.
Bunn adds, “It’s easier to have the city purchase it, the city has some contingency funds it can dip into and then MURA will purchase it a month or two months later.”
Bunn also says parking is vital to the future of downtown businesses and has become a priority for the city, “Urban renewal is winding up, as we spend our last amount of money, we want to make sure we get parking right because it’s vital to making downtown work… so staff is continuing to look.”
Byrd says she might not park there regularly herself but it may free up some parking spaces by campus, “It’s a little far over there to walk for those of us at RCC, but yeah I think it would have more spaces for people.”
The deal on the land has not been made and no exact timeline has been set as to when the lot would be completed.