Keeping cool in city pool

Medford's only remaining public pool is near capacity during this week's triple-digit heat wave

Sweltering heat has sent Medford residents scurrying for a cool pool to jump into over the past week. But that's a more difficult task these days.

The city's Hawthorne Park pool closed in 2011 because it was leaking 30,000 gallons a day, which has left Jackson pool running at near capacity.

So far this summer, Jackson has been able to keep up with demand, but just barely.

"The numbers are close to the point of turning people away," said Brian Sjothun, director of Medford Parks and Recreation. "Fortunately, we haven't had to do that."

With the Hawthorne pool closed and the Jackson Pool in need or repairs, city officials went to voters in November with a $14.5 million bond measure that would have replaced the pools and covered the Hawthorne pool. But the proposal was defeated 55 percent to 44 percent.

So Sjothun's staff has rescheduled events and expanded hours to accommodate more people in Jackson pool this summer. For instance, the summer day camp for 4- to 6-year-old children has been reduced from three times a week to one time.

The pool opens for swimming from 9 a.m. to noon, then lap swimming takes place from noon to 1 p.m., along with water aerobics. The pool is open to the general public during three open sessions from 1 to 9:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday. For open swimming, the cost is $1 for youths and $3 for adults. On Sunday, which has open swimming from 1 to 5:15 p.m., the cost is $1 for both adults and children.

For information, call 541-774-2507.

The maximum number of people allowed in the pool area is about 300.

Residents are finding other ways to beat the heat in local parks as well. Sjothun said spray pads are popular at Fichtner-Mainwaring Park, Lone Pine Park and Lewis Park. Vogel Plaza also has a spray pad.

A spray feature in the new Pear Blossom Park in The Commons downtown hasn't been finished yet, but it will add another way to beat the heat.

Rich Hansen, chairman of the Medford Parks and Recreation Commission, said closing the Hawthorne pool was difficult.

Even when Hawthorne was open, the city had to turn away some children because the pools were full.

"It's not surprising to anyone watching the situation that there is not enough room for everyone," Hansen said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or

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