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Time to clean up Medford's 'Temple of Doom'

I live near Lone Pine Creek near Kennedy Elementary School and have seen some city of Medford workers mucking around in there. What's going on? Are they going to finally clean that thing up?

— Anonymous

It turns out that stretch of Lone Pine Creek really is a mess, Miss Anonymous, and it's due for a cleaning, according to the city of Medford.

That portion of the creek is actually a 1,180-foot-long concrete canal to let Lone Pine Creek, which is a known salmon and steelhead stream, through your neighborhood without letting high water scour and cut out the banks and flood the neighborhood, says Medford Public Works Director Corey Crebbin.

The channel was built in the late 1980s, Crebbin says. Near the end of it is a "trash rack," a grate that keeps debris from flowing through a culvert under Temple Drive, he says. It's become a regular duty to clean that rack after storms, Crebbin says.

"The crews have named this trash rack 'The Temple of Doom,' " Crebbin says.

Over the years, quite literally tons of sediment from upstream erosion has been deposited in this canal section. In fact, it's about 219 cubic yards of sediment and debris.

The city has applied for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit to clean the channel as early as this spring, and maintain it over the next five years, according to the Corps. The proposal calls for using coffer dams to ensure that the creek flows during the work and that the disturbance does not add sediment to the stream, the application states.

 — 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.