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CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Crews are still working to remove heaps of garbage, including large numbers of used needles, following a sweep of the Bear Creek Greenway this week.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office says that multiple agencies and community partners worked together to clean up the Greenway between Biddle Road and the Square Dance Hall on Table Rock Road — an area roughly 25 acres in size.
The sweep began around 7:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, and the Sheriff's Office said that it was preceded by several weeks worth of notices delivered in-person to people camped along the Greenway to warn them of the coming operation.
"This included handing out information about support services available," the agency said. On Thursday, the sweep included help from the Medford Police Department's Livability Team, which has helped homeless people get back on their feet.
The Sheriff's Office said that most camps had already been vacated, and a few stragglers left the area when asked by law enforcement on Thursday. One person was arrested for an outstanding warrant, the agency said, but there were no other confrontations.
"Removing this amount of refuse along the greenway can be challenging due to terrain and access," the Sheriff's Office said. "As such, the Jackson County Parks Department worked closely in the planning of the event to protect the riparian zone in the area to prevent damage to natural resources."
Crews started out with four 40-yard dumpsters in order to remove all of the trash piled along the Greenway. The Sheriff's Office estimates that there will be more than 200 yards of garbage removed over the course of two days.
"Crews had to take precautions due to the proliferation of used needles and a great deal of waste," the agency said.
The Sheriff's Office said that in addition to cleaning up the area, removing waste will help allow access for firefighters and other emergency services.
The sweep and cleanup will continue through Friday. The operation includes help from Medford Police, Central Point Police, Oregon State Police, Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon, Jackson County Animal Services, Jackson County Mental Health, Jackson County Parks Department, Jackson County Community Justice, Jackson County Roads Department, City of Medford Parks Department and ODOT.
Community partners Knife River, Art of Plumbing, Central Equipment and the Rogue Valley Square Dance Center also contributed to the sweep and clean-up.