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... and miles to go before he sleeps ...

Since You Asked

Why does the sign at Interstate 5, mile marker 1, just after crossing the California border, state that Medford is 31 miles?

The first Medford exit is at mile marker 27, which would only be 26 miles. Even if they were calculating the mileage to the second Medford exit (exit 30), they would still be wrong. I drove the stretch several times checking it on my own odometer, and indeed it is only 26 miles.

If I was a traveler and looking for a place to stay or eat, that 5-mile mistake might cause me to stop earlier than Medford.

' Ryan M., Medford

Dear Ryan, you are somewhat right. And somewhat wrong. What you didn't calculate into your odometer reading is that highway mileage is gauged by distance to a central point in a town.

For instance in Medford, that point is the corner of Central and Eighth, according to John Vial of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

But, Ryan, if you decide to waste more gas and drive from the mile marker — to downtown Medford, you'll still be shaking your head. It's actually 27.5 miles, Vial said. But not to worry, ODOT is on it and will soon change the sign to read Medford 28.

We're not sure where the error was made originally, Vial said. But we thank the writer for bringing it to our attention.

So, dear Ryan, you may be oddly compulsive, but in one small 3-mile segment of our universe, you are also a hero.

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to