Medford, Oregon 2021-07-01 Thursday evening the Medford City Council meeting was disrupted by a protester, with microphone sound needing to be cut off briefly, due to yelling and profanity. Melissa Jones, a protestor operating a free needle program for homeless addicts on the Bear Creek Greenway attended the City Council meeting with a small group of homeless individuals. Most speakers maintained their composure, but Jones became disorderly during her speaking time, cussing at Councilman Kevin Stine and Mayor Randy Sparacino, and yelling louder than the speaking microphone system could process sound for other observers online & in person.
The sound was shut off to the microphone until Jones could leave the auditorium floor and the next speaker came to the podium. The small group of protesters that showed up to speak did not have an agenda item, but used their time to demand Greenway Sweeps, the cleanup of illegal camp, be stopped and accused the Medford City Council and Police Department of not caring about the homeless population. In 2020
Medford Fire Department responded to over 400 fire calls, with approximately 50% started on the Greenway by the transient and homeless population camping in the dry grass and fast burning blackberry brambles.
Although illegal Greenway campers continue to use the space, in recent months many have found homes through help offered by the City of Medford and other organizations. Each week, City-approved transitional homeless camps and housing are available, but unfilled. Individuals that would like to get off of the Greenway or street should contact Medford Police Department, Rogue Retreat or the Medford Gospel Mission.