City official responds to homeless meal issues

The Compassion Highway Project hosts meals along this stretch of the Bear Creek Greenway two to three times a week. (Jennevieve Fong / News 10)

The Compassion Highway Project posted on Facebook on Saturday that their homeless meals were being "shut down," after serving at Hawthorne Park for the past four years.

The post came after an interaction with Medford city manager Brian Sjothun on Friday. However, he said that was not the conversation he had with CHP's organizer.

"I simply got off my bike and went over and asked her if she would please next time or even look to move the feeding, not out of the park, but away from the Greenway, so people can use that recreational amenities without having to get off and move off from the Greenway," Sjothun said.

Sjothun said he was out enjoying the Bear Creek Greenway while riding his bike when he and several other riders had to get off their bikes to pass through the homeless meal.

"We do receive complaints from residents and common users of the Greenway that whenever there are groups that are providing services, that the greenway is commonly blocked," Sjothun said.

Sjothun said another common issue the city hears about Medford Parks is trash.

"During the budget presentation, our Parks and Recreation Department presented information about the amount of trash that we see in our parks in general," Sjothun said. "Whether it's from people that are providing services, or just trash in general, it is a growing problem in our parks and along the Greenway."

Sjothun said the City of Medford would instead like to work with these community organizations to find a solution that works for everyone.

"One of the items that we would like as a city is to be able to work with all of the groups that provide services along the Greenway to see if we can find a better central location," Sjothun said.

While there is no current permit system in place for Medford, Sjothun said he thinks such a system would be helpful to coordinate and assist these various community organizations.

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