The Medford City Council voted to approve a Prohibited Camping Ordinance during a special meeting on Friday, April 2. This ordinance provides clear time, place and manner regulations regarding sleeping or camping outside within City limits.
Earlier this year, Council directed staff to draft an ordinance to address changing case law as well as public safety concerns and equitable use of property in public areas including the Bear Creek Greenway.
City staff conducted extensive outreach throughout the past two months in an effort to gather feedback from several local advocates and organizations including the Homeless Task Force, the City’s Housing Advisory Commission and Community Development and Services Commission. Feedback gathered, both for and against the draft ordinance, was used to modify and update the now approved ordinance.
The approved ordinance prohibits individuals from lying/sleeping and camping along the Bear Creek Greenway and Prescott Park during fire season, on playgrounds or sports fields during hours of closure, underneath bridges, near railroad tracks, on streets and publicly-owned property not open to the public, and obstructing sidewalks or entryways to private property. Click here for more information about the ordinance.
“Camping along the Bear Creek Greenway is posing a significant health and safety risk for individuals living along and near the Greenway. We’ve had two homicides occur along the Greenway in the past month, two fires just yesterday and an overall increase in calls for service for both fire and police related activity. Environmental degradation occurring due to the impact of people living on the Greenway is also a growing concern,” said Council President, Tim D’Alessandro during a statement in Friday’s meeting. Click here to read Councilor D'Alessandro's full statement made during the April 2 meeting.
The City is actively working to create equitable solutions to address challenges related to homelessness in the community and assist individuals living along the Greenway with access to emergency housing and social services.
Examples of this work includes the City’s role of facilitating and funding the Urban Campground which provides over 60 entry-level tent shelter sites and the Medford Project Turnkey which will transform an existing motel into 47 units of transitional housing for fire victims.
The implementation of the ordinance will continue to emphasize outreach and connection of houseless individuals to resources, with enforcement tools available when needed and appropriate.