Bear Creek Park Playground Heavily Damaged After Fire

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At approximately 1:01a, ECSO 911 received calls regarding a vegetation fire near the Bear Creek Park Olsrud Family Community Playground, on the 1500 block of Siskiyou Blvd.

Several Medford Fire (MFD) and Medford Police (MPD) units initially responded to the incident. Medford Public Works QRT was also activated to assist with traffic control.

Upon arrival, crews reported that a portion of the play structure was fully involved and requested additional traffic control assistance. Siskiyou Blvd traffic was closed during the initial firefight as firefighters worked to control the blaze.

Medford Police immediately sent units both northbound and southbound on the Bear Creek Greenway to investigate and search for possible leads into this fire.

Firefighters continued to work the large blaze. Emergency radio traffic indicated that the playground structure was “totaled”. However, that has not been confirmed by officials at this time. The fire was highly visible from the Roxy Ann Peak Cam as it sent plumes of dark smoke over south Medford.

MPD also sent officers to a nearby homeless camp named “Paradise” as part of the early investigation. Medford Fire activated an on-call Fire Investigator to the scene shortly after.

At this time, there are no reported injuries or arrests. The cause of the fire is also unknown currently.

The Bear Creek Playground was recently completely rebuilt with help from the community and local philanthropists.

The original playground was installed in 1987 following an extensive fundraising campaign and an all-volunteer construction effort consisting of hundreds of donors and volunteers spearheaded by the Kiwanis Club of Medford, the Family Connection, Inc., and the City.

Rejuvenating the 30-year-old wooden fort-like structure along Siskiyou Boulevard with a similar style using modern materials was identified by the Department and the Medford Parks and Recreation Commission as a high-priority capital improvement project for the 2017-19 funding cycle.

The new Bear Creek Park Playground was dedicated and opened on December 10, 2018. During the ceremony, Medford Parks, Recreation and Facilities director Rich Rosenthal said. “It is a jewel that will be loved for generations, just like the original.”

Named by the Medford City Council to honor the longtime philanthropy of the Sherm and Wanda Olsrud Family, the 18,000-square-foot castle-themed playground designed by Leathers & Associates is double the size of its predecessor. The new playground was made possible by the City of Medford, cash and in-kind donations from the community, and by nearly 1,100 volunteers, who, along with local contractors and City staff, assembled the structure over the past two months. The grassroots effort was coordinated by the Medford Parks and Recreation Department, JWA Public Affairs and the Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation.

These pictures were taken this morning and sent to Medford Alert showing the aftermath of the suspicious fire.

Here is the latest from Medford Police: LINK.

Currently, Medford Alert is working to gather additional information regarding this fire.

Source: MPRF


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