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Greenway sweep nets 8 arrests, quells small fire

Local report

Local police made a sweep of the Bear Creek Greenway Wednesday evening, arresting eight people on outstanding warrants and citing 30 people for camping illegally.

Medford and Ashland police and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office participated in the sweep, which led to the discovery of a small fire on the Greenway near Barnett Road in Medford. Medford police arrested Stephen Melton, 61, in connection with the fire, and a report on MPD's Facebook page said officers suspect he was involved in three other fires set within the preceding 24 hours. No one was injured in the fires.

The officers also recovered a stolen baby stroller and other property taken from the Little League fields near the Greenway off Barnett Road.

Representatives of Easter Seals Veteran's Housing effort participated in the sweep in an effort to assist homeless vets.

The MPD Facebook post said officers "dealt with enormous amounts of trash" and were continuing to clean up the camping sites.

"We conduct these sweeps several times a year, but the problem does not seem to be going away," the Facebook post said. "We sometimes get criticized for our efforts by people wanting us to leave them alone. But as you can see, that is not an option. It would create a toll on the environment, as well as a significant safety issue to the folks using the bike path. We do our best to provide campers with resources to help get them out of the situation, but ultimately it will be something they will have to want to do. We cannot force them."