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City considers closing parts of Ivy Street

Between one and three blocks of Ivy Street near downtown Medford could be closed to traffic under a proposal being considered by the City Council.

The council has directed its staff to study the idea of closing Ivy between Main Street and Eighth Street where it goes through Alba Park.

In addition, the city will study closing Ivy from Eighth Street to 10th Street.

"We are looking at protecting our ability to use the land on Ivy to help us accomplish some of our potential goals with city buildings and parking," Councilman Dick Gordon said.

Since the post office is moving from its current site at Eighth and Ivy, the land now occupied by the street one day could hold government offices, he said, including potentially a new police station.

"If we don't start protecting it now, we could lose the opportunity to do so in the future," Gordon said.

Jackson County purchased the four-story post office building and plans to convert it into offices for the county's health services operations. County officials still are developing designs for the building.

A parking structure will be built behind the existing post office, but Gordon said the county has said vehicles would reach the parking structure from Holly Street, not Ivy.

County officials would be asked to review the city's proposal to close Ivy to determine if it would work with their plans for the health services building.

The Medford Urban Renewal Agency plans to spend $250,000 to improve Alba Park, including repairing the distinctive "dog" fountain.

The plan for Alba Park would include new concrete walkways instead of existing asphalt, a sidewalk along Holly Street, concrete around the park's gazebo and irrigation repairs.

The proposal also includes replacing light poles in the park with a type matching those around City Hall.

Gordon said he would wait until the staff makes a recommendation before he would fully endorse the closure of either of the two stretches of the street. City-owned property covers most of the west side of Ivy between Main and 10th.

Gordon, who made the motion to consider closing the two sections of the street, said planning staff will be reviewing the proposal and presenting a recommendation to the city

"We've been talking about it for the last couple of years," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email dmann@mailtribune.com.