Over 200 Community Members Attend First in Series of Medford Town Halls

The City recently kicked off a series of town hall events to talk about the organization’s efforts to address homelessness and highlight related challenges our community is facing. The first event was hosted by Ward 4 Councilors Eric Stark and Nick Card.

Over 200 community members attended the event, and the panel answered over 100 questions from the audience during the Q&A session.

The panel consisted of Councilor Nick Card, Councilor Eric Stark, Mayor Randy Sparacino, City Manager Brian Sjothun, Deputy City Manager Kelly Madding, Police Chief Justin Ivens, Fire Chief Eric Thompson and City Attorney Eric Mitton. 

Some of the questions asked were, “How to do you handle people who don’t want help?” and “How will the City handle all the garbage along the Bear Creek Greenway?”

The panel highlighted that there are limited enforcement options for individuals who refuse services. Limitations are compounded by a lack of resources, specifically, mental health and addiction recovery treatment resources. 

When it comes to garbage along the Greenway, clean-ups are regularly done by the Medford Parks, Recreation and Facilities Department as well as the Medford Police Livability Team. 

The panel also highlighted how the City is investing in services for individuals experiencing homelessness, which includes committing $4.1 million of discretionary funding to support emergency shelters, transitional housing initiatives, and community outreach services. 

Additionally, the City has allocated $15.4 million of one-time American Rescue Plan Act funds and Community Development Block Grant funds to support the Navigation Center, Urban Campground and Project Turnkey.

Click here for an overview of how the City is addressing homelessness, the work that’s being done by the Livability Team and how the City is investing in services.

The following testimonials were received from community members following the town hall event: 

“Thank you so much for hosting this town hall on homelessness. I just wanted to commend you on all the work you are doing and in particular the latest change of defining the encampment. This is a very beneficial step for our community.”

“I did find the meeting very informative, and it helped me understand some of the legal issues that have changed over time thus creating changes. I know we all share frustrations with this issue, and I do appreciate all efforts the City is making and look forward to any additional improvements that will be coming.”

The next town hall event will be hosted by Councilors Sarah Spansail and Jessica Ayres in Ward 1 on Wednesday, May 31 from 6:00-7:30 PM at the North Medford High School Cafeteria (1900 N. Keene Way Dr.). Click here for the town hall event schedule.

Source: City of Medford

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