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It's up to the city now

I notice that the low-income development on Spring Street is apparently complete with no sidewalks. Directly west is the Berkeley development with all utilities in, and sidewalks, as well. Who makes that determination?

— Mack G., via email

Mack, developers have built most of the city’s sidewalks, according to Medford Public Works Director Cory Crebbin. But in this case, in part because of a legal agreement, the burden is on the city.

The Housing Authority of Jackson County originally designed the Cherry Creek Apartment complex with sidewalks, a bike lane, curbs, gutters and a small setback along Spring Street, per the city’s code.

However, some neighbors didn't want a low-income development in their neighborhood and didn't want to lose the trees and footpath on that property, so they convinced the Medford City Council to reject the project in September 2011.

Eventually an agreement was reached in which the Housing Authority agreed to reduce the size of the complex from 100 units to 50 units and to transfer 2.5 acres of the 6-acre property to the city for the expansion of Donahue-Frohnmayer Park and a buffer between the complex and Spring Street. In exchange, the city gave the Housing Authority a commercially zoned lot at the corner of Sixth and Grape streets — near Since You Asked headquarters — for another 50 units of low-income housing.

The Cherry Creek Apartments were completed in April. And now the city of Medford owns the strip of land in front of the apartments. 

“We wanted to see those improvements, and we wanted to be a good neighbor, so we gave $279,215 to the city to offset the cost of those improvements,” said Andrea Miranda, one of the Housing Authority’s developers.

Crebbin said the city envisions sidewalks along all its streets, but he also said the section of Spring Street doesn't have to be improved until that chunk of property is developed.

So, Mack, the short answer to your question is: It's the city's responsibility, but there are no immediate plans to install sidewalks.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.