Medford in the 21st Century

A Vision for our Future
Prepared by Cogan Owens Cogan LLC, Consultants

Vision Logo The Visions and accompanying Elements in these pages represent the best thinking and highest aspirations of many citizens of Medford.

The process began with a 15-member task force appointed by the City Council in June 1997 to ascertain whether a Vision for the City was needed. Community surveys affirmed the public’s overwhelming support for a Vision. The process concluded two years later when the Medford Vision Steering Committee reported the results of these efforts to the City Council.

The project made its public debut in February, 1999, when more than 300 people attended the Kick-Off event at the Ginger Rogers Craterian Theater. Nearly everyone signed up to participate in one of seven TAC's (Technical Advisory Committees) that met the following month to make specific recommendations for Arts, Culture and the Environment; Cultural Diversity and Human Services; Economic Development and Telecommunications; Housing and Growth Management; Parks, Recreation and Open Space; Public Safety; and Transportation.

Additionally, the City and the Medford Mail Tribune co-sponsored a Youth Vision project that asked the young people of our community to express their visions and aspirations for Medford's future. Nearly 550 responses from a broad range of age groups and perspectives were received and publicized in the newspaper. A few are reproduced in this report.

High-schoolers also participated in Medford Unplugged, a free-flowing town hall meeting where they discussed the future issues that most concern them.

The results of the community surveys, TAC and Youth recommendations were considered carefully by the Steering Committee and synthesized into the following document. The overall and each specific Vision for the City are followed by distinct elements that are necessary to make the Visions realities.

Thanks to the many people who took the time and effort to participate in this exciting and inspirational process, Medford is poised to reach its potential as an ideal community in which to live, work and play.

Leading Vision

We envision Medford as an outstanding livable community -- the financial, medical, tourist and business hub of Southern Oregon and Northern California, blending family lifestyles, diverse educational, artistic and cultural resources and a strong sense of environmental stewardship with robust economic activity to create a vibrant place for people to live, work, learn, invest, grow, play, and visit.

Key Elements

  • Leadership to develop and carry out the City’s vision is characterized by the commitment of its elected and appointed leaders and involvement by citizens to produce meaningful, measurable outcomes.
  • Medford is carefully balanced with appropriate housing densities and open space to avoid urban sprawl, define and establish character within and between neighborhoods and other valley communities and provide a quality living environment for all its citizens.
  • Downtown Medford is a vibrant and enjoyable regional center.
  • Bear Creek is an important community asset and feature that connects Medford and ties it to the Bear Creek Valley.
  • Neighborhoods are clean, safe environments for all citizens, including children and senior citizens; they form the backbone of Medford’s social infrastructure and are the focus of community involvement and participation.
  • Aesthetic values are apparent in all facets of community expression.
  • Excellent, life-long educational opportunities are available and accessible to all.

Growth Management

The City is a leader in regional efforts to manage growth in the Bear Creek Valley and cooperates with other jurisdictions to enhance livability, protect agricultural land uses at the urban fringe and preserve open space within and between communities.
  • A positive community outlook is enhanced by such assets as our schools, our climate and our commitment to balancing growth to protect our quality of life.
  • Downtown Medford is a vibrant and enjoyable regional center that includes a mix of residential, commercial, educational, cultural, recreational and public uses that provide activities around the clock, seven days a week.
  • Artists and college students live, work and attend classes downtown while being involved in the City’s cultural and civic life.
  • Downtown Medford is connected to major commercial centers north and south of town by pedestrian and bike trails along Bear Creek. A rail linkage is in the planning stage.
  • Medford is a series of well-planned neighborhoods, connected by all modes of transportation and a system of open space and parks.
  • A range of housing and neighborhood-level retail and business services define each neighborhood’s character.
  • Accessible neighborhood centers provide safe, convenient recreation, business and community services.

Parks, Recreation and Natural Environment

Medford has a system of attractive, safe, clean, accessible, interconnected parks throughout the City that provide a variety of passive and active recreational activities.
  • Park land for current and future growth has been acquired through careful master planning and public/private collaborative efforts.
  • The City has preserved and enhanced its urban and natural environments through creative beautification and by protecting and maintaining creeks, preserving and planting more trees, protecting historic sites, and identifying and managing wetlands.
  • Medford has diverse and abundant sports and recreational activities and facilities for families, youth and adults.
  • The restoration and enhancement of Bear Creek and the Bear Creek Greenway has made it the “crown jewel” in the park and open space system, connecting several areas of Medford and the Rogue Valley.
  • Prescott Park is an integral element in the park system providing a variety of outdoor educational, recreational and community activities.
  • Medford protects its air, water and land by promoting transportation alternatives, careful planning and recruiting nonpolluting industries.

Public Safety

Medford is a vibrant, safe and enjoyable community for all citizens, including young people and seniors.
  • The police actively participate with citizens to achieve a closely knit community through neighborhood watch, community-oriented policing, schools and other neighborhood-level programs.
  • Those blighted buildings that provide an environment for illegal or undesirable activities have been eliminated.
  • Young people have meaningful activities and opportunities to become involved in their community, diverting them from boredom and delinquency.
  • Parents feel secure in permitting their children to engage in youth activities, move about in the neighborhood and utilize community facilities such as parks and neighborhood shops.
  • Appropriate signage, traffic safety devices, lack of visual obstructions and enforcement of traffic laws help make all modes of travel safe and enjoyable for all age levels.

Human Services

Medford is a vibrant, safe and enjoyable community for all citizens, including young people and seniors.
  • The City values and supports the work of existing and emerging human service providers to fully serve the citizens.
  • Citizens are secure in their knowledge that service agencies provide safety net services, including emergency care, rape crisis intervention, substance abuse treatment, medical care, legal services, shelter for women and children and programs for the homeless.
  • Basic healthcare, including mental health and substance abuse treatment, as well as equal justice, affordable housing, transportation, and job opportunities are available to all citizens.
  • Easy access to services is enhanced through community centers and information and referral services.

Economic Development & Telecommunications

Local economic growth benefits from the latest global technological and telecommunications advancements to create and maintain a thriving regional economy that is a shining example to the rest of the nation.
  • Economic success is due in large part to regional public-private and cross-institutional partnerships, including those with nonprofit organizations, Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University.
  • The City’s infrastructure, composed of both information and physical “grids”, is modern, up-to-date and adequate to serve existing and new business and industry.
  • A qualified workforce serves existing and potential new businesses.
  • State of the art training provides opportunities for all residents to update their work skills.
  • City policies and incentives support its ability to nurture existing businesses and attract those new businesses the community favors.
  • Medford is a model connected city with a state-of-the-art technological infrastructure capable of carrying important information to every location.
  • Medford is the regional financial center of Southern Oregon.
  • Medford is an active catalyst in positioning the City and region in a targeted approach to attract new business, industry and tourism.
  • Community celebrations and events provide economic benefits and also foster community involvement and pride.

Arts & Culture

Medford is a dynamic community where artists, arts and culture flourish, enhancing the livability, beauty and economic vitality of the region.
  • The City has a philosophy of support for and appreciation of the arts.
  • The City and private organizations work together to make financial investments in the arts and cultural programs of the community.
  • A downtown Arts and Cultural district centered on the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater includes buildings for ongoing arts and cultural programs and living space for artists.
  • A new library is an integral element in the Downtown Arts and Cultural district.
  • The City has aesthetic principles and standards for buildings and encourages the incorporation of art in public and private projects.
  • The community supports arts education and programs for children.
  • The City encourages downtown and neighborhood beautification.


The City of Medford values an excellent, stimulating, caring, safe school system that includes students and their families in the learning process.
  • The City cooperates with school districts in developing and maintaining neighborhood school parks.
  • The community nurtures resilient children who are capable of critical thinking and problem-solving and able to avert violence.
  • Youth-city groups and mentoring programs promote student safety and civic education.
  • Ongoing partnerships with public, private and alternative educational sources provide varied life-long learning opportunities.
  • Adequate and appropriate counseling and treatment decrease delinquency and anti-social behavior.
  • Early childhood education is available to all children and families.
  • Community centers are available for adult education.
  • Awareness and understanding of cultural diversity enhances the education process.
  • Downtown is a cultural and education center in partnership with Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University.
  • An expanded, modern library is a resource center for the entire community.


Medford is served by a safe, accessible, efficient and well-planned transportation system.
  • An efficient arterial street system provides north-south and east-west travel as well as alternatives to use of the freeway for local travel.
  • The City provides sidewalks on all its streets and a network of bike paths and bike lanes.
  • Shopping and work opportunities are close to neighborhoods, minimizing travel and congestion.
  • Medford works in partnership with the region to provide frequent transit service with longer hours of operation and more passenger amenities.
  • The Bear Creek Greenway is complete with pedestrian and bicycle routes and connects with other east-west linear routes.
  • The transportation system is enhanced through a combination of planning, community education, secure funding and diligent implementation.
  • Medford has convenient and affordable air service in and out of the valley.
  • The community has access to competitive freight and passenger rail service.
  • Downtown is a cultural and education center in partnership with Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University.
  • Medford is served well by the inter- and intra-state highway system through an effective partnership with state and federal highway agencies.


Medford has an abundant variety of attractive, safe, clean housing choices that suit a range of lifestyles, ages and income levels without discrimination.
  • Revitalization of older housing and residential neighborhoods provides a range of home ownership and rental housing options.
  • New housing in all price ranges is available in well-planned, mixed-use neighborhoods.
  • A strong economic base encourages and cultivates family wage jobs and the ability for everyone to secure housing within their income levels.
  • The City and community housing organizations reduce homelessness and economic hardship by working together to provide affordable housing, capitalizing on state and other public and private funding resources.

Vision Steering Committee

Eva Avery
Dennis Hoffbuhr
Curt Bennett
Debra Lee
Lindsay D. Berryman
Scott Morris
Pedro Cabrera
Julie Petretto
Michelle Carlton
Craig Stone
Jane Carpenter
Matt Tidwell
Russ Dale
Jim Wright
Laura Hisomoto

“As we move into anew century it will become increasingly important for us to consider the welfare of the environment and the community. . . We should limit urban development to keep Medford as nice a place to live in as it is now. . . If we cover every inch of land with subdivisions and malls, Medford would produce a great deal of pollution and with less trees not be as pleasant a place to live. . . . It is important to find a way to prevent over-development and destroying the environment.”
Trevor, 15
South Medford High School

The City will be happy to receive any comments or ideas you may have relating to Medford's Vision for the 21st Century!  Submit your comments or ideas to:

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Additional Department Information

Mayor & Council Department Contacts

411 W. 8th St. Room 310
Medford, OR 97501
Phone: 541-774-2000
Fax: 541-618-1700
Hours: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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