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Ashland looks to build urban campground

Jamie Lusch / Mail TribuneRogue Retreat provides temporary help for homeless people at an urban campground Biddle Road in Medford. Rogue Retreat. Ashland is working with Rogue Retreat to build a similar campground in Ashland.

Ashland City Council unanimously accepted a $300,000 grant Tuesday to create and operate an urban campground and purchase pallet shelters.

The grant from Oregon Housing and Community Services allows the city to partner with Rogue Retreat, which hosts a similar campground for homeless people in Medford. The grant was awarded through state Emergency Solutions Grant-Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding.

City staff are working to find a site for the campground and “prepare for rapid implementation of the project” once the grant comes through, according to housing program specialist Linda Reid. Onsite work is slated to begin in July and be complete in June 2022. Per grant rules, 20% of the project funding must be spent by July 31.

Potential campground residents will be prioritized using a homeless management information system and referrals from law enforcement and Options for Helping Residents of Ashland.

“Rogue Retreat will oversee the camp and utilize their existing case management model to connect campers to additional community resources and work toward transitioning them to more permanent housing,” according to the city.