COVID-19: City Facilities Reopen for Limited In-person Services


Agenda & Minutes

When available, the full agenda packet may be viewed as a PDF file by clicking the "Attachments" button and selecting the file you want to view.

Agendas are posted until the meeting date takes place.  Minutes are posted once they have been approved.

Mayor & Council (View All)

City Council Study Session & Minutes

Thursday, January 31, 2019

January 31, 2019

Approximately 6:15 p.m.
City Hall, Medford Room
411 W. 8th Street, Medford, Oregon

The Medford City Council Study Session was called to order at 6:25 p.m. in the Medford Room of the Medford City Hall on the above date with the following members and staff present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Clay Bearnson, Kay Brooks Tim D’Alessandro, Dick Gordon, Alex Poythress, Kevin Stine and Michael Zarosinski; City Manager Brian Sjothun, Deputy City Attorney Eric Mitton, Parks, Recreation and Facilities Director Rich Rosenthal, Public Works Directory Cory Crebbin, Transportation Manager Karl MacNair, and Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard
Event Center/Jackson Aquatics Update
Parks, Recreation and Facilities Director Rich Rosenthal noted that based on the 2016 Leisure Services Plan, the City is deficient in recreation facilities. Surveys from 2015 and 2018 indicate that citizens would like additional aquatics and/or recreational facilities. He provided the following information:
  • In 2016, an Event Center Study recommended a multipurpose event center
  • Voters have rejected recreation facilities funding initiatives five times since the 1970’s
  • Indoor facility options: dry recreation center, aquatics facility and community center combination of dry recreation and aquatics
  • 2017-2018 a recreational facility focus group recommended the community center combination; Parks and Recreation Commission agreed
Mr. Rosenthal requested Council direction regarding whether to consider development of an indoor recreation facility or other another type of recreation facility.
Council discussion/answers to questions:
  • There should be options for low-income children to use facilities
  • Pool should be enclosed to allow use with outdoor smoke and/or weather
  • Councilmembers recommended the inclusion of aquatics with any facility
    • Needed for the community
    • Teach children how to swim
    • Potentially work with high schools
  • Funding options should be determined before designs
City Manager Brian Sjothun recommended that staff needed direction regarding the type of facility before determining funding. He outlined the reasons Hawthorne was closed. Previously, Council agreed to put the aquatics facility on the ballot, but not all Councilors supported the idea.   
  • A facility could be built on the Wes Howard property
    • Meets the criteria/restrictions on the property
    • Plenty of room; 50 acres
  • Citizens request pools and activity spaces, etc., but the proposals are rejected on the ballot; need to figure out how meet citizen requests and the funding
  • Currently a shortage of indoor sport courts in Medford; often groups are unable to find and fill up and there are none open
  • The completed facility will not be self-sustaining
  • Any new facility should be large enough for competitions
  • City needs to creatively fund the project; property tax increases are rejected by voters
  • Requested statistics regarding the estimated number of people who would visit and how far they would travel to use it
Mr. Sjothun advised that there are multiple design options for all types of facilities. USCCP was built for the community’s needs and is now used for area events. Organizers repeat bookings at USCCP, because of the customer service and the success of their event.
  • Although not centrally located, the Wes Howard property provides the area for a larger park as well as ample parking
  • Perhaps it could be a regional project
Mr. Rosenthal clarified Council would like information on the development of an indoor recreation facility and almost universal interest in an aquatics facility, with the potential to expand.
  • Requested economic and social impact analysis
Jackson Aquatics Update
Mr. Rosenthal presented an update on Jackson Aquatics Center.  The facility was built in 1959, opened in 1960 and is Oregon’s oldest unimproved pool. He outlined a variety of maintenance and improvement requirements to keep the location open, including a failing main tank, water leakage, old boiler, ADA compliance etc.
Three options were provided for Council consideration: continue to run facility “as is” with operational expense of $221k annually and risk a breakdown mid-season; invest $700k into repairs in addition to the operational expense with no guarantee that it will remain functioning; or close/demolish the location for a one-time cost of $250k.
Staff suggested closing/demolishing the facility and redeveloping 2019 the property with a very large splash pad or other community draw, with a lower build cost.  Medford has five splash pads now, with the largest at Hawthorne.  They have very low operational cost and they are free to visitors.
Council discussion/answers to questions:
  • It would take a minimum of 36 months to build a new pool at the location
  • Could keep Jackson open until the aquatics facility was built
  • Currently there is no masterplan for Jackson; planned for next biennium
  • Potentially could use MURA funding
  • Stine – would like to have a process in place before considering redeveloping that area
  • A possibility that a heating oil tank could be buried on the property
  • Approximately $1 million to install a large splash pad versus $700k for repairs that are no guaranteed
Mr. Sjothun clarified that the City does not have funding for repairs or the creation of a splash pad.  Most likely, funding would be determined through the budget process.
  • Closing facility would remove the only location where children can take public swim lessons
  • Could use the cannabis profit to fund repairs at Jackson until the new aquatics facility is built
  • Council had differing opinions regarding whether to pay for repairs or demolish
Deputy City Attorney Eric Mitton most of the repairs identified are environmental. The cost of repairing a trip hazard to prevent injury is typically nominal.  ADA upgrades are required with improvements.  
Mr. Sjothun suggested Council complete the 2019 season and then make a decision.  There were no objections.
Transportation Manager Karl MacNair explained that per Council instruction, the concurrency requirement will be removed from the Transportation System Plan (TSP) and staff will rely on the State Transportation Planning Rule (TPR) for determining transportation facility adequacy. Staff is looking for direction on projects surrounding the North Phoenix/ South Stage mega corridor, as it is not a fully-funded project.
He defined “concurrency” as the requirement that developments have adequate transportation facilities available at the time of development (zone change). If not, they are required to build the capacity prior to vertical development.
When concurrency is removed, staff will rely on the TPR.  This allows developers to assume that all Tier 1 (funded) projects planned in the TSP over the next 20 years will occur.  It could cause increase in congestion in the short term, but allows development to proceed so the City can collect development fees to fund transportation system improvements.
The City dedicated partial funds toward the South Stage overcrossing and classified it as a Tier 1 project.  However, Medford does not have the estimated $50 million dollars needed to actually build it. Without adequate funding, ODOT will likely appeal zone changes that are based upon the project’s completion as it does not seem “reasonably likely” the overcrossing will be constructed during the future year analysis period. This would impact a portion of property recently annexed into the Urban Growth Boundary. 
Council and staff discussed potential funding options for the South Stage overcrossing: 
  • Surcharge on SDC and street utility fees
  • Gas tax
  • General fund dollars
  • Local improvement district
  • Location specific SDC fees
Staff recommends pursing funding sources for the mega corridor and/or the South Stage overcrossing and working work with Transportation Commission to develop recommendations. 
Council discussion/answers to questions:
  • MURA funds could pay for transportation facilities, if they were within the district
  • ODOT’s opposition will not impact the City’s ability to receive grants
  • City will apply for grants to help fund the project
  • EDA was discussed. To use this option, the City would need to be in control of the property through donation or a long-term easement. If this option is reviewed, City could partner with other employment agencies
Mr. MacNair clarified that the timeline for the change to the concurrency expecting new code language in June for approval.  Then, development can move forward based on our Tier 1 projects.
ODOT will continue looking at capacity as development occurs.  Eventually, the South Medford Interchange will reach the maximum allowed V/C (volume/capacity) ratio and further development will not be able to proceed. Developers are aware of this situation.
Mayor clarified that staff should work with the Transportation Commission to research funding options.  There were no objections.
Planning Director Matt Brinkley provided a brief update on the TSP.  We are currently in the appeal period; one notice of appeal was received. The appellant did not object to our record and has about a week to submit the actual appeal. If LUBA hears the appeal, it will be completed in about 77 days. Unless the appellant asks for a stay from LUBA and until LUBA grants that stay, the City will continue to accept annexation applications.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Winnie Shepard, CMC
Deputy City Recorder


© 2021 City Of Medford  •  Site Handcrafted in Ashland, Oregon by Project A


Share This Page

Back to Top