SEVERE WX : Air Stagnation Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Medford City Council to vote on new urban campsite for the homeless community

A proposal for a temporary urban campsite for the homeless will be brought before Medford City Council for a vote on July 2nd.

Posted: Jun 26, 2020 4:40 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 9:47 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. – Nearly 80 fires have been reported along Bear Creek Greenway since March.

Issues along the Greenway are nothing new but now Rogue Retreat, the Gospel Mission, and the City of Medford are working to form a solution as we head further into fire season, while we also navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposed solution that will go before city council on July 2, is a temporary campsite for people who are homeless.

Medford’s Police Chief, Scott Clauson is hoping that by working to provide a space for people to go for resources, less people will be camping out along the Greenway.

If the campsite is successful, that would potentially mean less fires and a renewed availability for the public to use the greenway for recreation.

“I’m hoping to change the impression, certainly, of the Greenway,” said Clauson, “Our residents really want to use the Greenway for recreation and it’s important to me to create a safe area that has limited fire hazard.”

As a part of the campsite proposal, Rogue Retreat and the Gospel Mission would run and operate services.

“They have a successful track record,” said Clauson, “they do an outstanding job with the Kelly Shelter and the tiny house project so we’re excited to have them on board and to take on the heavy lifting of this project.”

“We’re not just trying to put a person in a tent and leave them, we’re trying to bring all of these resources to them,” said Chad McComas, the Executive Director of Rogue Retreat, “Let’s see if we can’t figure out how to get them off the ground and out of tents and off the Greenway; a lot of these people really want to help, they just don’t know how to get it so that’s where we come in.”

The proposed campsite would be constructed along Biddle Rd. right next to Crater Lake Ford. It would offer food services, medical services and a safe place for the transient community to stay.

“The land has been identified, the owner says they’re willing to work with us so now we have to make it happen,” said McComas.

Many of the specific details of the proposal will be ironed out this week and will be discussed at the city council meeting on July 2nd.

Even as details are solidified, the purpose of the campsite is set.

“We are very concerned about the pending fire season and the fact that we have a lot of people living along the Greenway,” said Clauson, “There’s a sense of urgency to get folks moved out of those camps in heavily vegetated areas. The idea is to move folks into a more concentrated area where they can receive services.”

By having a campsite instead of a building, more people will be able to receive services.

“This is an opportunity for us to allow for social distancing, follow CDC guidelines, and be able to still allow people to be out in a tent situation,” said Clauson.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, local homeless shelters haven’t been able to serve as many individuals.

“We’re really limited because of COVID-19 right now on where we can house people, we still have concerns about social distancing and shelters,” said Clauson.

“Rogue Retreat has said for years that there really needs to be a low-level entry somewhere, like a campground or a campsite because we don’t have enough beds in shelters, we don’t have enough homes in affordable housing, there’s just not enough places so we’ve got to start somewhere,” said McComas.

McComas believes COVID-19 will only continue to complicate the issue of homelessness in the Rogue Valley.

“These homeless issues are not going to go away, with people losing jobs, more people on unemployment than ever before,” said McComas, “somewhere down the road you’re going to have a lot more people homeless that we’ll have to deal with.”

Even though the current proposal is created to be temporary, McComas is hoping it opens doors down the road.

“I am excited that we can try this temporarily; let’s just see if we can’t make the model work and if we can make it work then we’re in a place to have discussions for the future,” said McComas.

According to Clauson and McComas, area businesses are aware of the proposal. In order to not impact local businesses negatively, there are specific regulations built into the campsite plan.

“This isn’t just ‘anyone can show up’, this is going to be a well-run, case managed program,” said Clauson, “It would be completely enclosed; for security purposes, to help protect the occupants, and make sure it’s not unsightly for the businesses.”

Even if area businesses are apprehensive, McComas says it’s nothing they haven’t dealt with before.

“The neighbors were nervous when we built Hope Village, the neighbors were nervous when we built the Kelly Shelter, but ever since they’ve gone up the neighbors are doing really great with us,” said McComas, “the people in this campground and in those other situations, they’re not there to cause trouble, they’re there to get help.”

At the city council meeting on July 2nd, the council will be vote on whether or not they want to establish the temporary urban campground.

If approved, Rogue Retreat is hopeful the campground will be established and running by the end of July.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 390066

Reported Deaths: 5142
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60179836
Washington41910395
Marion39824506
Clackamas32722377
Lane30033354
Jackson24808357
Deschutes23460185
Umatilla15098180
Linn14610179
Douglas13323287
Josephine10134242
Yamhill9717142
Klamath9002145
Polk8162100
Benton608338
Malheur592086
Coos5600106
Columbia429255
Jefferson419366
Lincoln360752
Union338654
Crook332356
Wasco314946
Clatsop261235
Baker219133
Tillamook216345
Hood River211937
Morrow197125
Curry191039
Harney119532
Grant108515
Lake104216
Wallowa75413
Sherman1903
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5078594

Reported Deaths: 74367
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152627227138
San Diego4050994325
Riverside3873955358
San Bernardino3742565958
Orange3341765710
Sacramento1682422428
Kern1575251791
Fresno1566772252
Santa Clara1519051920
Alameda1251221504
San Joaquin1075271834
Ventura1039691190
Contra Costa1036861046
Stanislaus914651415
Tulare860701095
San Francisco56866669
San Mateo56265629
Monterey52477626
Solano47644356
Santa Barbara47268549
Merced45052667
Sonoma43127412
Placer42120470
Imperial38446773
Kings35204364
San Luis Obispo31463358
Madera26180311
Shasta26082444
Butte25441313
Santa Cruz22209224
Yolo21547257
Marin18447249
El Dorado18294166
Sutter14559186
Napa13419104
Yuba1075689
Tehama10275130
Humboldt10143118
Nevada10014105
Mendocino856097
Lassen796256
San Benito780778
Tuolumne772390
Lake7039110
Amador577066
Siskiyou474555
Glenn456636
Calaveras441288
Del Norte375442
Colusa325319
Inyo256846
Plumas19367
Mono18604
Mariposa159818
Trinity99617
Modoc7655
Unassigned2700
Sierra2180
Alpine1080
Out of CA00
Medford
Mostly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 44°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Crater Lake
Mostly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 44°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 44°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 25°
Stagnant and dry weather continue all week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events