Resolution of Greyhound portal plan eludes Medford council

A frustrated City Council decided Thursday to continue studying what to do with a remnant of the former Greyhound building designed to be a portal into a new downtown park.

"This issue has been going on and on," Councilor Dick Gordon said. "I don't see any resolution."

The council would like to tear down the portal, but city officials have determined the city's own codes make that a difficult process.

The council will be looking for guidance from the Medford Arts Commission and the Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission.

The council members, who also make up the Medford Urban Renewal Agency board, have balked at a $50,000 price tag to stabilize the former entrance to the Greyhound bus station and to renovate the structure.

City officials have described the building entrance as an arch or a portal.

The city is required under its own code to commemorate the former Greyhound terminal, which was considered an historic building in a federally recognized historic district.

The portal idea was originally approved in 2007 and was intended to be a feature in one of the two park blocks in The Commons.

The Commons includes the Lithia building, the two park blocks and sites proposed for other retail, commercial and hotel space.

Gordon said he doesn't like the idea of spending the money to preserve the portal, but thinks the city may end up saving money in the long run by proceeding with the preservation project.

He said delays could mean more costs later to tear down the portal if the second park in The Commons is built around it.

"Everything done with that portal costs us money," he said. "To me, the least expensive option is to go ahead with the original proposal."

Most other councilors decided to explore some other possibility of commemorating the bus station rather than spend $50,000.

"I am frustrated by the price tag," Councilor Dan Bunn said.

But he also didn't want to see the city ignoring the work done by the Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission.

"I don't like to see us overturn them because we're frustrated with the code," he said.

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