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Letters to the Editor, March 9

Stairways well-marked

I read with interest and concern the recent letter submitted by Barbara Donneaud entitled “Firetrap,” stating that there was insufficient signage for emergency exits in the Jackson County Justice Building and that she had to be led out of the building by an employee through a secret unmarked access. As a longtime Medford lawyer and now a judge, I have been in and out of the courthouse constantly for nearly 40 years and, frankly, I had become oblivious to emergency evacuation and signage, so I thought I had better check it out.

The courthouse has three floors. Our seven courtrooms are located on the second and third floors. Public access to the upper floors is by elevator. If there is a need to leave the courthouse rapidly without an elevator, there are well-marked, overhead green-illuminated exit signs on each end of both the second and third floors that point to well-marked corridors and to public access stairwells. The courthouse emergency evacuation system and signage, as well as well-marked fire extinguishers on each floor, are all in full compliance with state law. The State Fire Marshall’s Office regularly inspects the courthouse and has confirmed this.

Timothy C. Gerking, presiding judge

Jackson County Circuit Court

Logging hurts waterways

Driving around the valley these days, I notice more and more clearcut logging. I have lived in the Williams area my entire life and the damage to surrounding timber lands due to clearcut logging is atrocious. I can only imagine what it is doing to the streams that flow through those lands and down into our rivers.

I recently found out that our Siskiyou region was left out of new rules by the Oregon Board of Forestry to expand streamside buffers along waterways on private timber lands. Streamside tree buffers provide needed shade to cool water and therefore benefit fish and other aquatic species. Why was our region left out when the Rogue Basin hosts one of the largest wild salmon populations in the state? We’re also in the midst of another drought year, which will undoubtedly cause much warmer temps in our rivers this summer.

I am extremely disappointed to know that the Board of Forestry has disregarded our area for improved protections for these important waterways through private timberland. I urge the BOF to readdress their rule and to include our Siskiyou region so that we may see better protections for our water and fish.

Arianna Hunter


Vacancy or no vacancy

Medford has an observable problem called homelessness. A potential solution lies on Central Avenue, namely vacant car dealerships: VW, Nissan, BMW, Honda. These spacious buildings offer immediate sanctuary to the needy. They have electricity, water, heating, cooling systems, bathroom facilities, etc.

These facilities are a short walk away from the Gospel Mission where food and spiritual assistance are provided.

To pay for this housing set up, each current car dealership could donate a portion of its profits for each car that's sold.

This plan would accommodate larger numbers of people, and would require specific guidelines for admission. I welcome your response, care and concern for this proposal.

Let's keep the lights on!

Gary Payton


Letters to the Editor, March 9