Two arrested Tuesday morning during a Greenway camp sweep
Medford Police executed a sweep of Travis “T-Bone” Greiner’s camp on the Greenway Tuesday morning, resulting in him and Nicholas Stanley, who was protesting the sweep, being arrested.
Medford Police Lt. Darrell Graham said Greiner was given 72-hour notice July 26 to leave the premises before a sweep July 29.
On Thursday, MPD swept a few camps other than Greiner’s, but they were short-staffed, so they decided to come back Aug. 3, Graham said.
At around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, MPD arrested Greiner at his camp on the Greenway and police were in the process of sweeping his camp when Stanley, who was one of a handful of people protesting the sweep, went under police tape and locked himself to a tractor, stalling the sweep.
Another tractor was eventually brought in to sweep the camp, and Stanley was removed from the tractor and arrested.
Greiner was charged with violating a city ordinance that prohibits camping during fire season. Stanley was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, which is a felony, second-degree disorderly conduct, interfering with police and obstructing government or judicial administration.
Medford City Council approved an ordinance in April that prohibits camping along the Greenway during fire season.
Individuals living along the Greenway are given a 72-hour notice to move out, police said.
During those three days, Livability Team members and service providers will work with campers to connect them with shelter opportunities, health assessments and COVID-19 vaccines, veterans services, mental health services and addiction recovery services.
This was the first sweep that resulted in multiple arrests, according to Graham.
“We have cleared over 100 camps since the ordinance took effect,” Graham said. “Prior to (Tuesday), we have only written two citations and only taken one person to jail.”
MPD had repeatedly tried to engage Greiner in services for months, and there were beds open at the Urban Campground, Kelly Center and Gospel Mission, and service providers were available for him, according to Graham.
Greiner said the services don’t work for him. His camp on the Greenway was close to his disabled mother, who he helps support, and the curfew at the Urban Campground conflicts with his night job.
“The reason why I was refusing to leave was because of the simple fact that they offer these resources that don't work and the resources they do have are very, very limited,” Greiner said.
Greiner said the sweeps are having the opposite effect of preventing fires because before the sweeps it was known where the camps were and how to get to them.
“They're just making it that much more unsafe for people because we're being forced to go farther into the woods, farther into hiding, where nobody knows where we're at,” Greiner said.
Stanley has been working with homeless people in Medford since the Almeda fire. He said that the reason he has been protesting is to support and bring awareness to those living on the Greenway.
“Amplifying their voices is extremely important to me,” Stanley said. “They tend to have really great solutions for the problems at hand.”
Greiner said that if he had somewhere else to live that fit his needs he would be there.
“We're not criminals,” Greiner said. “We're doing what we do out of just pure survival. … We don't really have options. This isn't a choice for us.”
Reach Mail Tribune news intern William Seekamp at firstname.lastname@example.org.