There are a lot of big parking lots in Medford, and the biggest is probably the one at the Rogue Valley Mall. Since it's located right next to Bear Creek, is there some kind of drainage built into the parking lot to prevent all the runoff from flowing into the creek?
— Ron J., Medford
Ron, this may come as a shock to you, but all of Medford's stormwater eventually ends up in Bear Creek. Of course, there are different routes, but the destination is the same.
"It might go into Larson Creek or Elk Creek first, or it might go straight into the creek, but it all goes into Bear Creek," said Medford Public Works Director Cory Crebbin.
This goes for the Rogue Valley Mall, too. The parking lot is on private property and so is its drainage system, built with the shopping center in 1986.
Water from the parking lot empties into grated catch basins that filter out bigger particulate before being channeled into the creek. Only three or four basins on the east side of the mall empty directly into the creek, said Vince Quinones, the mall's operations manager.
Stormwater here and in most other parts of Medford is not treated, but the city tries to keep streets swept and enforces strict regulations on what can and cannot be dumped into storm drains.
Quinones says he is conscientious about runoff from the mall lot. When a customer identified some suspicious orange sludge in the parking lot, Quinones had a specialist come out and test it. It turned out to be iron.