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Mail Tribune 100, Oct. 19, 1921

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago

Oct. 19, 1921


Drastic Action Taken By City Council to Reduce Vagrant Population — Dozen Buck Saws Purchased — Pay 50 Cents Per Cord.

There is consternation among the hoboes and other units of the floating population of Medford following the city council’s decision last night to have every homeless and moneyless man arrested as a vagrant and sentenced to saw wood at a municipal wood pile to be established in the city.

The council ordered Chief of Police Timothy to purchase a number of buck saws and bucks, to be used in making this campaign to enforce the floaters to accept work locally or get out of town. Until arrangements can be made for the establishment of a municipal wood pile, the chief was ordered to put all such loiterers at work on the public library wood pile.

The chief decided to await a day before putting the work order into effect, and this morning and forenoon went among the homeless and jobless men on Haymarket square and in the jungles along Bear creek, warning them that starting with Thursday morning he would arrest every man without a home or job for vagrancy, and if found guilty in police court, he would be put to work sawing wood.

The city will pay such sentenced vagrants only fifty cents a cord for sawing, and no money will be paid until after each man saws his cord.

It is figured by the mayor and councilmen that when the news once gets about of the city woodpile the floating population all over the state and northwest will quickly learn of it and henceforth give Medford a wide berth, and that those jobless now in the city will depart for a more congenial location as soon as possible.

Chief Timothy’s warning of this morning brought quick results. An employment agent of Chas. Delin, the local contractor, on Tuesday went among the jobless men loafing on Haymarket place and loitering in the jungles, offering them work with good pay and free transportation of a large contract Mr. Delin has over on the coast. He could not get a man to accept the offer.

By noon today he reported to the chief that already a big auto load of these same men who refused his offer yesterday had eagerly accepted such jobs today, and more were approaching him for work hourly. They dreaded the wood pile, and realizing that they could no longer live easily in the Bear creek jungle and beg from house to house for food.

— Alissa Corman; acorman@rosebudmedia.com