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Fire station isn't gobbling up park

Apparently the city of Medford is planning to rezone a huge chunk of Bear Creek Park to build a new fire station. A select few neighbors received letters telling them of the intent and the date of a public hearing. The best parts of the park will be swallowed up. With a big thing like losing a part of the city's best park, why weren't the residents of the whole city notified? It affects everyone, not just a few neighbors. Why are they keeping it under wraps? Everyone knows these public hearings are just a ruse to make people think they have a say.

— Scott W., Medford

Bear Creek is a fine park, Scott, and apparently it will remain a fine park.

You’re right, the city of Medford wants to build a new fire station just to the south of the existing fire station next to the traffic circle at Highland Drive and Siskiyou Avenue.

But, you’re wrong about the city seeking to rezone a portion of the park. Instead of a zone change, the city is seeking a conditional use permit to build the new station. 

Also, Scott, the Mail Tribune has written quite a few stories about the fire stations over the past couple of years.

Medford fire Chief Brian Fish said the new station will occupy a slightly bigger area than the old fire station, which will be taken over by Medford Parks and Recreation to store maintenance equipment.

In some of the earlier plans, the skate park was going to be taken out to make way for the new station, but Fish said the current design will allow the skate park to remain. He said the new fire station will be built between the old one and the skate park.

“We’re going to be able to squeeze it in there,” he said.

As a result, most of the park will be untouched by the new station.

By placing the fire station farther south on Highland, firefighters will have easier access to the street rather than facing traffic in the roundabout.

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.