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Latest Bear Creek Greenway clean-up operation couples outreach with enforcement

With multiple organizations and agencies working together, Medford Police says that this week's clean-up accomplished more than just garbage pickup.

Posted: Jun 26, 2020 5:09 PM
Updated: Jun 26, 2020 5:45 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — With buy-in from a coalition of non-profit organizations and local agencies, the first Bear Creek Clean-up operation since the advent of coronavirus may have accomplished much more than simply garbage pickup.

After Oregon went into COVID-19 lockdown in mid-March, law enforcement agencies agreed to suspend Greenway "sweep" operations while Jackson County worked to bring in improved sanitation and food delivery to the area.

"As COVID-19 restrictions slowly begin to relax and we move into summer, fire danger is a growing concern as well as the sharp increase of discarded trash accumulation along the Greenway," MPD said on Friday. "In response, the Medford Police Department, in partnership with numerous local service organizations, conducted homeless outreach and cleanup initiatives along the Greenway throughout the past week."


RELATED: Mobile health clinic offers care along the Bear Creek Greenway


This time, the clean-up included a multi-pronged effort to both beautify the Greenway and connect the houseless with resources. Greenway sweeps typically include handing out some information on resources, and an operation in January was assisted by MPD's Livability Team — but this week's operation may represent the most concerted effort to date.

On Monday, staff from multiple organizations — including ACCESS, Maslow Project, Addictions Recovery Center, Jackson Care Connect, Columbia Care, Veterans Resources, Street Dogs  — held a resource fair in Railroad Park, which MPD said was attended by more than 70 people.

“Partnering with other essential service providers helps to ensure we are able to address the needs of each individual receiving outreach services during this effort,” said Medford Police chief Clauson.

Over the past week, MPD said that two people were placed in the Kelly Shelter, seven more applied for housing with the Gospel Mission, and a domestic violence survivor was connected with other housing services.

During the operation, Jackson County Parole and Probation arrested four people on probation violations, and MPD officers arrested two people on "failure to appear" warrants. One person was cited and released for possessing a $2,200 stolen Specialized bike.

Meanwhile, other groups worked to remove roughly 300 cubic yards of garbage from the Greenway, including from within the creek. That included loose garbage, food wrappers, needles, cardboard, drug paraphernalia, and discarded plastic, Medford Police said.

Though garbage pickup happened during the day, much of the outreach occurred late Monday night and into the early hours of Tuesday morning.

“Through previous experiences we have found more success in connecting with individuals when we conduct initiatives during the late evening and early morning time frame,” said Clauson. “Connecting with individuals plays a critical role in determining what items are personal belongings and what items are abandoned and can be removed.”

MPD thanked Medford Parks, Recreation and Facilities, Jackson County Mental Health, Rogue Retreat, Easter Seals Veterans Outreach, Rogue Disposal and St. Vincent de Paul for participating and providing services during the week-long effort.

Next week, the Medford City Council will consider a proposal to create a temporary urban campground for the houseless while COVID-19 persists. That campground would include space for people to stay, hand washing stations, portable restrooms, food, and case management services.

"This week’s initiatives along the Greenway and the efforts to create a temporary urban campground are indicative of the City’s dedication to assist our vulnerable population through a comprehensive effort of working with community partners to provide essential services such as housing, access to health care, food and more," MPD said.

NewsWatch 12 will have further coverage on the temporary campground this evening at 5 and 6 p.m.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 132412

Reported Deaths: 1799
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28237458
Washington18512171
Marion16085238
Clackamas11577138
Lane8219108
Jackson686284
Umatilla670968
Deschutes490736
Yamhill316245
Malheur312452
Linn310246
Klamath242238
Polk241340
Josephine170633
Jefferson168725
Benton168414
Douglas166643
Union110416
Wasco106323
Columbia103318
Lincoln98517
Hood River94821
Coos93315
Morrow92710
Clatsop6695
Crook60410
Baker5665
Tillamook3622
Curry3185
Lake2295
Grant2131
Harney1734
Wallowa963
Gilliam481
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2955323

Reported Deaths: 33342
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles100392313741
San Bernardino2482851560
Riverside2352352517
San Diego2098972065
Orange2093652320
Santa Clara914661060
Kern83547558
Sacramento802791080
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San Joaquin56484748
Contra Costa50627430
Stanislaus41925739
Tulare40176501
Monterey34959249
San Mateo31291294
San Francisco28574254
Imperial24944463
Solano24654105
Santa Barbara23538228
Merced23492296
Sonoma23204234
Kings18661110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo15129128
Madera12883130
Santa Cruz11776113
Marin11345153
Yolo10240131
Shasta9594117
Butte9233121
El Dorado751544
Sutter748477
Napa723139
Lassen509413
San Benito485043
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada309973
Mendocino307631
Amador295329
Lake243428
Humboldt226324
Glenn182419
Colusa16919
Calaveras153823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8472
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3434
Trinity3024
Alpine730
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