MEDFORD, Ore. — The Jackson County Circuit Court has expanded the hours during which it can serve the public. The increase actually began in mid-January, according to state officials.
“Thanks to restored funding from the legislature, technological and business efficiencies, and efforts by the Chief Justice and state courts leadership to prioritize public access to justice, the court is now able to increase its hours,” explained Trial Court Administrator Tina Qualls.
The court will now be open an extra 10 hours per week — remaining open during the lunch hour and until 5 p.m. every business day.
Qualls said that the increased budget would also help allow the court to "better balance" its obligation to administer justice swiftly while expanding courthouse public service hours for community members with necessary business at the court.
According to Presiding Judge Lorenzo Mejia, the change isn't so much a simple improvement as it is a return to the way things were back in the early 2000s.
"Unfortunately because of budget cuts and how it affected our personal, for over a decade we’ve been closed during the noon hour," Mejia said. "And then even though we were all here working, we were closed to the public at 4 p.m. because the clerks had to catch up with their paperwork from all the work they’ve been doing all day.”
Jackson County will also be getting a tenth judge soon, Mejia said, as the county has a larger case load per capita than most counties in the state of Oregon. It's welcome news for many who have been lobbying for the extra help in Jackson County since at least 2018.
"We’ve had strategic plans before. What’s new now is we have those strategic plans broken down and we have people both on the state court level in the courts itself and also in the state court administrator’s office who have been assigned to deal with these particular issues," Mejia said. "So, there is going to be more accountability and hopefully more progress.”
Customer service hours are posted on the court’s website.
- The new public service hours for both the Justice Building and Juvenile Services Building are: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday (in person and by phone).
- Court Facilitation hours are: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday