Homelessness FAQ

The City receives a variety of questions and concerns regarding homelessness in our community. We have compiled the following list of frequently asked questions (FAQs):

What is the city doing to address the growing transient and homeless problem in our community?
  • The City has expanded Medford Municipal Code 2017-40 ordinance to include part of a downtown area where there is increased vandalism to public property, graffiti, and left behind garbage. The exclusion ordinance acts as an additional tool for Medford Police to use to monitor the area and remove individuals in violation of the ordinance.
  • City Council reviewed a proposed Shopping Cart ordinance during a study session on Thursday, June 29th in response to increased complaints from Medford residents regarding abandoned shopping carts seen throughout the city. In short, the proposed shopping cart ordinance addresses unauthorized appropriation of shopping carts and recovery of an abandoned shopping cart. Please note this proposed ordinance is not in its final version and will need to be approved by Council before moving forward.
  • Greenway Sweeps are conducted to improve the safety, security, and cleanliness in the area and are used as a way to provide help to homeless individuals. Before each sweep, notices are posted 24-hours in advance to alert citizens about the operation. ON average, two tons of trash are removed from the targeted area.
 
Why are the homeless allowed to “hang out” all day in our parks and in our downtown? 
Being homeless is not a crime. If homeless individuals choose to spend time in a public place they have every right to do so. 
 
What is the City doing to discourage panhandling, loitering, urinating or defecating in public places, and other unwanted activities?
  • The City has added a porta potty to Alba Park in downtown Medford, a public park frequented by homeless and transient individuals, in an effort to deter individuals from defecating on the property of local businesses.
  • The City has also expanded Medford Municipal Code 2017-40 ordinance to include part of a downtown area where there is increased vandalism to public property, graffiti, and leave behind garbage. The exclusion ordinance acts as an additional tool for Medford Police to use to monitor the area and remove individuals in violation of the ordinance.
 
I am witnessing unlawful activity, such as drugs, sex in public, aggressive behavior, and people using the public right-of-way as a toilet? 
If you witness unlawful activity you are encouraged to call the non-emergency line, 541-770-4783 to notify authorities.  
 
If camping is prohibited within City limits why are people camping in our downtown and parks, along Bear Creek, and in other areas of the city?
Merely resting or sleeping in public is not illegal during daytime hours. People are allowed to rest in public parks during daytime hours, however, they are not allowed to be in the parks after they close at 10:30 each night. MPD does enforce the Medford Municipal Code 5.257 Prohibited Camping as time allows.

What has the City done regarding homeless veterans?
Officers that come into contact with homeless individuals frequently recommend services. MPD Officers carry with them a list of community resources to handout.  One of the objectives of the Greenway Sweeps program is to connect homeless veterans with services.  According to Mike Whitfield, the Outreach Specialist at Rogue Valley Veterans & Community Outreach, since the start of the Greenway Sweeps, over 50 homeless veterans have been placed in a home.
Additional Department Information

City Manager Department Contacts

411 West 8th St.
Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 774-2000
Fax: (541) 618-1700
Email:
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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