MPD, Community Organizations Conduct Homeless Outreach and Cleanup Initiatives
For the past four months, at the recommendation of Jackson County Public Health, the City of Medford and the Jackson County Sheriff have allowed “camping in place” to occur on the Bear Creek Greenway. Jackson County is currently in Phase 2 of the reopening process.
As COVID-19 restrictions slowly begin to relax and we move into summer, fire danger is a growing concern as well as the sharp increase of discarded trash accumulation along the Greenway.
In response, the Medford Police Department, in partnership with numerous local service organizations, conducted homeless outreach and cleanup initiatives along the Greenway throughout the past week.
In total, 300 cubic yards of garbage have been removed from the Bear Creek Greenway including from the creek itself. Collected items included loose garbage, food wrappers, needles, cardboard, drug paraphernalia, and discarded plastic. All garbage removal was conducted during the day time.
As a result of this week’s efforts, two individuals were placed in the Kelly Shelter, seven applied for housing with the Gospel Mission, and a domestic violence survivor was connected with housing services. Over 70 individuals attended Monday’s Resource Fair in Railroad Park where they connected with local service providers such as ACCESS, Maslow Project, Addictions Recovery Center, Jackson Care Connect, Columbia Care, Veterans Resources, Street Dogs, and more.
Jackson County Parole and Probation arrested four individuals for probation violations and MPD arrested two individuals on warrants for failure to appear. One individual was cited and released for stealing a $2,200 Specialized bike.
The City has received multiple questions regarding why an initiative was conducted late Monday evening and into the early hours of Tuesday morning.
“Through previous experiences we have found more success in connecting with individuals when we conduct initiatives during the late evening and early morning time frame,” said Police Chief, Scott Clauson. “Connecting with individuals plays a critical role in determining what items are personal belongings and what items are abandoned and can be removed.”
MPD follows the guidelines of ORS 203.079 – Required Elements of Local Government Policies on Camping by Homeless.
“Partnering with other essential service providers helps to ensure we are able to address the needs of each individual receiving outreach services during this effort,” said Clauson.
Thank you to Medford Parks, Recreation and Facilities, Jackson County Mental Health, Rogue Retreat, Easter Seals Veterans Outreach, Rogue Disposal and St. Vincent de Paul for participating and providing services during this week-long effort.
On Thursday, July 2, the Medford City Council will review a proposal, which if approved, would allow plans to move forward for a COVID-19 Temporary Urban Campground.
The proposed campground would provide a space for individuals to go and would be equipped with hand washing stations, portable restrooms, food, as well as case management services. Click here for more details.
This week’s initiatives along the Greenway and the efforts to create a temporary urban campground are indicative of the City’s dedication to assist our vulnerable population through a comprehensive effort of working with community partners to provide essential services such as housing, access to health care, food and more.