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Medford's weed and grass ordinance goes into effect June 1

A Medford ordinance that requires the cutting of grass and weeds to help prevent wildfires goes into effect Wednesday, June 1.

City code requires that residents' grass, weeds, brush and similar vegetation can't be more than 10 inches in height between June 1 and Sept. 30. The ordinance can be in effect at other times of the year, if fire officials deem it necessary.

Greg Kleinberg, deputy chief and fire marshal for Medford Fire-Rescue, said overgrown weeds and grass are plentiful in areas within the city limits, turning those portions into potential tinder boxes.

"There are empty lots, there are fields in the city limits also," Kleinberg said. "If it ignites, the fire spreads pretty rapidly."

Kleinberg said he's seen multiple examples of this problem in mobile home parks where weeds and grasses have grown to multiple feet in height. There are also certain problem areas along the Bear Creek Greenway that are close to homes.

There are exceptions to the ordinance, including ornamental shrubs and bushes maintained and kept within a landscaped yard, crops grown for agricultural purposes, grass or other vegetation used for pasture and natural areas within city parks.

Letters to property owners who need to do some snipping and mowing will be sent out June 1. They can face up to hundreds of dollars in fines a day if the weeds and grass don't get cut.

"Code enforcement works really hard to get this done before the Fourth (of July)," Kleinberg said.

Complaints about vegetation can be submitted to Medford Code Enforcement at 541-774-2016.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.