Medford City Council Study Session
January 31, 2013
The meeting was called to order at 12:00 noon in the Medford Room, City Hall, 411 W. 8th Street, Medford with the following members present.
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Dick Gordon, John Michaels, Karen Blair, Eli Matthews, Bob Strosser, Al Densmore, Daniel Bunn and Chris Corcoran.
Exclusion Ordinance: Police Chief Tim George addressed the Council and provided an overview on the proposed modifications to the Medford Code Section 5.256 pertaining to exclusion from City property. He noted that this information was presented previously to the Parks and Recreation Commission and an article in the Mail Tribune was published. He noted that this is not an anti-homeless action but to address those individuals who cause continual problems on City property, including parks. The current code allows for exclusions from the property that the offense occurred. Suggested options for Council consideration included expanding the exclusion to all City properties if individual has received a number of exclusions.
Deputy Police Chief Tim Doney noted that of the 171 exclusions issued in 2012 twenty-five individuals were responsible for 70 of the exclusions. In addition eleven of the twenty-five individuals were excluded from more than one park. He noted there is a core group that is responsible for a majority of the issues.
Councilmember Densmore expressed concern that if these individuals were excluded from all parks where would they go and would we just be moving the problem to a different area such as downtown. Chief George noted that was a good point and that the City needs to be reasonable and find a balance, but the intent is to provide additional language to help deal with the habitual offenders.
Councilmember Michaels questioned how the Bear Creek Greenway is handled and Chief George noted this is a recreation area and there exists language to deal with exclusion from the Greenway.
Senior City Attorney Kevin McConnell noted that this ordinance is focused on protecting the civil rights of individuals while striving to address the issues. Chief George noted the proposed ordinance is modeled after the Tri-Met ordinance which is more rigid than what is being proposed.
Fireworks: Police Chief Tim George addressed the Council regarding the unlawful use of fireworks. He noted that Police Lieutenant Whipple and Fire Marshall Kleinberg will be presenting today.
Councilmember Densmore noted he feels that this is also a noise violation issue as well and is more than just the Fourth of July, but also New Year’s Eve, etc.
Lt. Whipple addressed the Council and noted that use of any retail fireworks is prohibited during fire season. He noted that this is the same language as Oregon Revised Statues. All fireworks are prohibited at all times in the area East of Foothill Road, in the Bear Creek Greenway, in City parks, and on school property. He reviewed the types of fireworks that are legal in Oregon. These include those with no explosion or flight. Fireworks that are illegal are mortars, bottle rockets, firecrackers, aerial spinners, sky rockets, missile rockets, roman candles, etc.
Fire Marshall Kleinberg reviewed the incident history or fires and injuries that are attributed to fireworks.
Councilmember Michaels questioned what is being done in enforcement. Lt. Whipple noted that the future plan is to implement an education effort as well as to provide active enforcement. Sergeant Ben Lytle spoke to the efforts of the Code Enforcement Division to abate weed issues during fire season.
Chief George noted that staff is recommending that the use of legal fireworks be allowed only on the Fourth of July as opposed to the current period allowed from June 23rd to July 6th.
The meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.