Latex paint washed from painting tools into a storm drain at a downtown remodeling project is prompting an emergency cleanup operation in Bear Creek.

All storm drains empty into the creek, so the paint is spreading along the creek along Riverside Avenue between Main and Fourth streets, said Brice Perkins, Medford Public Works operations superintendent.

City crews are vacuuming out a curbside catch basin to remove the paint and an environmental cleanup company has been called to assist.

The spill poses no hazard to people in the area, Perkins said.

Perkins notes that state rules require whoever spills materials into waterways to clean up the mess, but the city stepped in to stop the spill while its source is still under investigation.

The amount of paint that spilled was not immediately clear.

Anita Burke