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Drivers, fliers should allow extra time when president is here

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In the print edition of the :

Bush will use his visit to Ruch to announce his plan to lower barriers to cutting timber in fire-prone areas. — — —

Spectators at airport won't see Bush, police chief says


Local residents can expect some road closures, slight traffic delays, disrupted airport parking and a long line of cars with tinted windows Thursday during a rare visit to the Rogue Valley by a sitting U.S. president.

Medford, Central Point and Jacksonville police departments and other agencies have been meeting with the Secret Service this week to coordinate security for the visit by President Bush. Air Force cargo planes already have landed at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport to unload presidential vehicles and helicopters.

The president's plane, Air Force One, is scheduled to arrive at 9:55 a.m. Thursday at the Medford airport. The president will receive a briefing on the Biscuit fire, after which the presidential motorcade will leave the airport.

I would advise motorists that traffic will be stopped to allow the motorcade to get through intersections, said Medford police Lt. Mike Moran.

It shouldn't be any lengthy thing, no more than just a few minutes.

Those planning to fly Thursday should give themselves more time than usual.

People who are planning departures from the airport, they may want to plan extra time, said Moran. Parking may be disrupted to a degree.

The police chief said there won't be opportunities for spectators because security is so tight.

I'm not sure it would be worth going out to the airport, he said.

Airport Director Bern Case said he won't comment about possible road closures at or around the airport.

Motorists still will be able to enter and leave the facility without problems on Thursday, he added.

However, it's unclear how regular traffic will be directed.

They'll be able to find their way, Case said.

Case said he cannot comment about any security changes or precautions at the airport, but added that the president's visit isn't expected to disrupt incoming and outgoing flights.

All flights will be booked to travel, he added.

Flight arrival and departure changes aren't anticipated, Case said.

Moran said Terminal Spur Road, an access road that goes to the FedEx building, will be closed for the duration of the president's visit, from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Customers of FedEx will be impacted by that, he said. And there will be some restriction to the fenced area around the airport.

The motorcade will travel to the area of the Squire fire, southeast of Ruch, by way of Jacksonville.

Officials would not release the exact route.

It's mainly a security issue, said Jacksonville Police Chief David Towe. We can't release routes to the general public, we can't release times to the general public.

No roads are scheduled to be closed in Jacksonville, he said.

It should be a very quick and simple visit, said Towe. As far as traffic delays or any inconvenience to the public, it will not be an issue.

Following the Squire fire tour, President Bush is scheduled to deliver a speech on conservation and forest health beginning at 12:45 p.m. at the Compton Arena at the Jackson County Expo. Attendance is by invitation only.

Central Point police have been gearing up for the president's visit to the fairgrounds. Sgt. Tony McPherson on Tuesday said he could not comment about what route the president will take.

We don't give out any information, whatsoever, McPherson added.


Reach reporter Jill Briskey at 776-4485, or e-mail

A private plane preparing for takeoff underscores the immensity of a U.S. Air Force cargo plane parked at the Medford airport Tuesday to unload equipment in preparation for President Bush?s visit to the Rogue Valley on Thursday. Click the photo to see a larger (28k) version. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell