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Police: Transients Started Greenway Fire While 'Smoking Meth'

Two men are in police custody, accused of starting a fire in the Bear Creek Greenway after smoking meth and losing control of a cook fire.

Posted: Sep. 6, 2018 12:29 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Officers arrested two transient men on Wednesday night after they smoked meth and lit a cook fire that quickly spread out of control, according to the Medford Police Department (MPD).

MPD says that officers responded to the Bear Creek Greenway behind Target around 8 p.m. They found a fire burning in a homeless camp, where transients were attempting to put the fire out. Two men fled when they saw MPD arrive.

After a brief chase, officers took 64-year-old Luis Valdez and 65-year-old George Savage into custody. Investigators believe that the two men were smoking meth in the camp when they decided to start a cooking fire that got out of control.

According to MPD, the men were in possession of 13 grams of meth and a pipe. Both men were lodged in jail on "multiple charges."

MPD reports that they have responded to 34 fires over the summer—most of them along the Greenway, and most of them without any arrests.

Apparently prompted by the fire and arrests, MPD continued a sweep through the Greenway overnight. They claim to have taken "enforcement action" against 23 different people, from Meth Possession charges to more minor violations. Nine people were on probation or parole, six were arrested on warrants, one sex offender was arrested for being out of compliance.

"We will continue these efforts to ensure safety along the Greenway," MPD said in a Facebook post.

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