MEDFORD, Ore. — The City of Medford says that it has begun the process of implementing a prohibited camping ordinance that was approved at the beginning of April, with the Medford Police Livability Team posting 72-hour notices at seven campsites along the Bear Creek Greenway.

While not the only aspect of the ordinance, the rule allows for Medford to ban camping or sleeping of any kind on the Greenway and Prescott Park during high fire danger months, defined as May 1 through September 30.

Monday’s effort identified seven campsites, but Medford said that the number of camps is subject to change.

“Reducing fire dangers and addressing public safety concerns along the Bear Creek Greenway is our top priority as we begin implementation of the prohibited camping ordinance,” said Scott Clauson, Chief of Police.

The City said that members of MPD’s Livability Team and other organizations will continue to work with campers over that 72-hour period in an effort to connect them with shelters and services. Medford said that Rogue Retreat’s urban campground, the Kelly Shelter, Hearts with a Mission, and Medford Gospel Mission “reported having one or more shelter spots available” as of Monday.

Once the 72 hours are up, the City said that crews will assist anyone remaining with the removal of their belongings from the Greenway, followed by clean-up of the area. People who refuse services and don’t leave the area can be charged with a misdemeanor.

The larger process of cleaning up the Greenway and enforcing the ordinance is expected to take “weeks, possibly months,” the City said.

By Jamie Parfitt