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Bear Creek Greenway closed from south Medford through Ashland

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has closed the Bear Creek Greenway from south Medford through its southern end point in Ashland.

The closure of the paved walking, jogging and biking path was announced Saturday.

“The greenway is definitely not a safe place for people to be at this time, and a closure is required to ensure public safety,” Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Captain Tim Snaith said in a press release. “Please do not use this section of the greenway.”

The greenway is closed to the public from U.S. Cellular Community Park in south Medford south through Phoenix, Talent and its end near the dog park in Ashland.

The Almeda fire that started Tuesday in Ashland swept north along the greenway, Highway 99 and the surrounding area, destroying whole neighborhoods, nursing homes, apartment buildings and businesses in Talent and Phoenix.

The fire significantly damaged greenway infrastructure, including multiple bridges.

The fire also downed trees and left behind hundreds of standing dead trees that pose significant hazards to trail users. Damaged standing trees can fall at any time.

Jackson County has begun assessing the damage and the trail will open in the future after hazards can be mitigated, officials said.

The community has spent decades building the trail that links Central Point, Medford, Phoenix, Talent and Ashland.

Downed and standing dead trees pose hazards along the Bear Creek Greenway. Photo courtesy of Jackson County
Multiple bridges along the Bear Creek Greenway are no longer safe due to burn damage.{ } Photo courtesy of Jackson County