MEDFORD, Ore. -- The Medford City Council Passed a measure that will double the size of Rogue Retreat’s Medford Urban Campground.
On Thursday night, the Medford City Council voted unanimously in favor of expanding the campground.
With the expansion, Rogue Retreat says they will be able to have about 125 sites at the Medford Urban Campground. The current location houses roughly 70 people.
The new site will be separate, but on the same property as the existing location on Biddle Road, located slightly to the north. According to the proposal, the new camp will begin with the construction of a fence. Rogue Retreat will have use of electricity and water on-site, and it will come with a new parking area by the new camp.
Rogue Retreat says the campground is staffed 24/7. Case management teams will also be on site to help those being housed to take the necessary steps forward in their life.
The organization hopes to have this expansion operating by May 1 of this year.
Rogue Retreat's urban campground was initially intended as a "temporary, transitional housing" site when it was approved in July of 2020, but the lingering coronavirus pandemic contributed to its current status as an enduring fixture, providing a means through which the unhoused can secure a place to stay while being in close proximity to resources that can help them in the longer-term.
Medford's recent adoption of a new prohibited camping ordinance provided greater impetus for efforts to add low-barrier housing options for those displaced from the Bear Creek Greenway and other public spaces.