Medford, Oregon

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Medford, Oregon
City of Medford
MFR Montage 2016.png
Clockwise, from top: aerial image of Medford, City Hall, the Medford Carnegie Library, Vogel Plaza, and Bear Creek Park
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Jackson County Oregon Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Medford Highlighted.svg
Location of Medford in Jackson County and in the state of Oregon
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Medford, Oregon
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 42°19′55″N122°51′43″W / 42.33194°N 122.86194°W / 42.33194; -122.86194 Coordinates: 42°19′55″N122°51′43″W / 42.33194°N 122.86194°W / 42.33194; -122.86194
Country United States
State Oregon
County Jackson
Incorporated February 24, 1885
   Mayor Gary Wheeler
   City manager Brian Sjothun
   City council Clay Bearnson
Kay Brooks
Tim D'Alessandro
Dick Gordon
Alex Poythress
Eric Stark
Kevin Stine
Michael Zarosinski
   City 25.74 sq mi (66.67 km2)
  Land25.73 sq mi (66.64 km2)
  Water0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
1,382 ft (421 m)
 (2010) [2]
   City 74,907
(2018) [3]
  RankUS: 425th
  Density2,911.3/sq mi (1,124.1/km2)
154,081 (US: 213th)
208,545 (US: 209th)
Time zone UTC−8 (PST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP Codes
97501, 97504
Area codes 541, 458
Website City of Medford

Medford is a city in, and the county seat of, Jackson County, Oregon, in the United States. [4] As of July 1, 2017, the city had a total population of 81,780 [5] and a metropolitan area population of 217,479, making the Medford MSA the fourth largest metro area in Oregon. The city was named in 1883 by David Loring, civil engineer and right-of-way agent for the Oregon and California Railroad, after Medford, Massachusetts, which was near Loring's hometown of Concord, Massachusetts. Medford is near the middle ford of Bear Creek. [6]

Jackson County, Oregon U.S. county in Oregon

Jackson County is a county in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 203,206. The county seat is Medford. The county is named for Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States.

Metropolitan area region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated but economically-linked surroundings

A metropolitan area is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metro area usually comprises multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships, boroughs, cities, towns, exurbs, suburbs, counties, districts, states, and even nations like the eurodistricts. As social, economic and political institutions have changed, metropolitan areas have become key economic and political regions.

Oregon and California Railroad

The Oregon and California Railroad was formed from the Oregon Central Railroad when it was the first to operate a 20-mile (32 km) stretch south of Portland in 1869. This qualified the railroad for land grants in California, whereupon the name of the railroad soon changed to Oregon & California Rail Road Company. In 1887, the line was completed over Siskiyou Summit, and the Southern Pacific Railroad assumed control of the railroad, although it was not officially sold to Southern Pacific until January 3, 1927.



In 1883, a group of railroad surveyors headed by S. L. Dolson and David Loring arrived in Rock Point, near present-day Gold Hill. [7] They were charged with finding the best route through the Rogue Valley for the Oregon and California Railroad. Citizens of neighboring Jacksonville hoped that it would pass between their town and Hanley Butte, near the present day Claire Hanley Arboretum. Such a move would have all but guaranteed prosperous growth for Jacksonville, but Dolson decided instead to stake the railroad closer to Bear Creek. [8] The response from Jacksonville was mixed, [9] but the decision was final. By November 1883, a depot site had been chosen and a surveying team led by Charles J. Howard was hard at work platting the new town. They completed their work in early December 1883, laying out 82 blocks for development. [10]

Gold Hill, Oregon City in Oregon, United States

Gold Hill is a city in Jackson County, Oregon, in the United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 1,220. It is along a bend of the Rogue River.

Rogue Valley Valley in Southern Oregon, United States

The Rogue Valley is a valley region in southwestern Oregon in the United States. Located along the middle Rogue River and its tributaries in Josephine and Jackson counties, the valley forms the cultural and economic heart of Southern Oregon near the California border. The largest communities in the Rogue Valley are Medford, Ashland and Grants Pass. The most populated part of the Rogue Valley is not along the Rogue proper, but along the smaller Bear Creek tributary. The Rogue Valley is a popular fall destination in Oregon because of the hardwood forests there.

Jacksonville, Oregon City in Oregon, United States

Jacksonville is a city in Jackson County, Oregon, United States, approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of Medford. It was named for Jackson Creek, which flows through the community and was the site of one of the first placer gold claims in the area. It includes Jacksonville Historic District, which was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1966. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 2,785, up from 2,235 at the 2000 census.

James Sullivan Howard, a merchant and surveyor, [11] claimed to have built the town's first building in January 1884, [12] though blacksmith Emil Piel was advertising for business at the "central depot" in the middle of December 1883. [13] Others point out the farms of town founders Iradell Judson Phipps and Charles Wesley Broback, which were present before the town was platted. [12] Regardless, on February 6, 1884 (less than a month after it was built), J. S. Howard's store became Medford's first post office, with Howard serving as postmaster. The establishment of the post office led to the incorporation of Medford as a town by the Oregon Legislative Assembly on February 24, 1885, [14] and again as a city in 1905. Howard held the position of postmaster for Medford's first ten years, and again held the post upon his death on November 13, 1919. [15]

A postmaster is the head of an individual post office. When a postmaster is responsible for an entire mail distribution organization, the title of Postmaster General is commonly used. Responsibilities of a postmaster typically include management of a centralized mail distribution facility, establishment of letter carrier routes, supervision of letter carriers and clerks, and enforcement of the organization's rules and procedures.

Oregon Legislative Assembly legislative body of Oregon, USA

The Oregon Legislative Assembly is the state legislature for the U.S. state of Oregon. The Legislative Assembly is bicameral, consisting of an upper and lower house: the Senate, whose 30 members are elected to serve four-year terms; and the House of Representatives, with 60 members elected to two-year terms. There are no term limits for either house in the Legislative Assembly.

The beginning of the 20th century was a transitional period for the area. Medford built a new steel bridge over Bear Creek to replace an earlier one which washed away three years before. Without a bridge, those wanting to cross had to ford the stream, typically using a horse-drawn wagon; the first automobile did not arrive in Medford until 1903. [16] Pharmacist George H. Haskins had opened a drugstore just after the town was platted, and in 1903 he allowed the Medford Library Association to open a small library in that store. Five years later the library moved to Medford's new city hall, in another four years, Andrew Carnegie's donation allowed a dedicated library to be built. Construction on the Medford Carnegie Library was completed in 1912. [17] [18]

Ford (crossing) Shallow place with good footing where a river or stream may be crossed by wading

A ford is a shallow place with good footing where a river or stream may be crossed by wading, or inside a vehicle getting its wheels wet. A ford may occur naturally or be constructed. Fords may be impassable during high water. A low water crossing is a low bridge that allows crossing over a river or stream when water is low but may be covered by deep water when the river is high.

Andrew Carnegie American businessman and philanthropist

Andrew Carnegiekar-NAY-gee was a Scottish-American industrialist, business magnate, and philanthropist. Carnegie led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and became one of the richest Americans in history. He became a leading philanthropist in the United States and in the British Empire. During the last 18 years of his life, he gave away $350 million to charities, foundations, and universities – almost 90 percent of his fortune. His 1889 article proclaiming "The Gospel of Wealth" called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society, and stimulated a wave of philanthropy.

Medford Carnegie Library United States historic place

The Medford Carnegie Library is a two-story library building located in Medford, Oregon, United States. The building was erected in 1911 as a gift from Andrew Carnegie. The Carnegie Library building was vacated in 2004 when all services were moved to a new library building in downtown Medford.

In 1927, Medford took the title of county seat of Jackson County away from nearby Jacksonville. [6] [19]

Until the 1960s, Medford was a sundown town where African Americans and other nonwhites were not allowed to live or stay at night. [20]

Sundown town All-white municipalities that enforced discriminatory local laws through intimidation and violence

Sundown towns, also known as sunset towns or gray towns, were all-white municipalities or neighborhoods in the United States that practiced a form of segregation by enforcing restrictions excluding non-whites via some combination of discriminatory local laws, intimidation, and violence. The term came from signs posted that "colored people" had to leave town by sundown. "At least until the early 1960s...northern states could be nearly as inhospitable to black travelers as states like Alabama or Georgia."

In 1967, [21] Interstate 5 was completed immediately adjacent to downtown Medford to replace the Oregon Pacific Highway. It has been blamed for the decline of small businesses in downtown Medford since its completion, [21] but nevertheless remains an important route for commuters wishing to travel across the city. In fact, a study completed in 1999 found that 45% of vehicles entering I-5 from north Medford heading south exited in south Medford, just three miles (5 km) away. [22]

The high volume of traffic on Interstate 5 led to the completion of a new north Medford interchange in 2006. The project, which cost about $36 million, improved traffic flow between I-5 and Crater Lake Highway. [23] Further traffic problems identified in south Medford prompted the construction of another new interchange, costing $72 million. The project began in 2006 and was completed in 2010. [24] [25] [26]

Since the 1990s, Medford has dedicated an appreciable amount of resources to urban renewal in an attempt to revitalize the downtown area. [27] Several old buildings have been restored, including the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater and the Prohibition era Cooley-Neff Warehouse, now operating as Pallet Wine Company, an urban winery. Streets have been realigned, new sidewalks, traffic signals, and bicycle lanes were installed, and two new parking garages have been built. Downtown Medford also received a new library building to replace the historic Medford Carnegie Library and now boasts satellite campuses for both Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University. [28]

Economic problems in 2008 and 2009 put a hold on The Commons project, a collaboration between the city of Medford and Lithia Motors. [29] The project, one of the largest undertaken in downtown in recent years, aims to provide more parking, recreation, and commerce to the area. Before the work stopped, the Greyhound Bus depot was moved and $850,000 was spent replacing water lines. The Commons is anchored by the new corporate headquarters of Lithia Motors, Inc. (NYSE: LAD). Included in The Commons are two public park blocks slated to be informal public gathering areas as well as an area for special events such as the farmer's market. Ground breaking for the project was April 22, 2011, with a Phase 1 completion date of 2012. [29] [30]


An aerial image of Medford Medford Oregon.jpg
An aerial image of Medford

Medford is located approximately 27 miles (43 km) north of the northern California border at 42.3°N. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.74 square miles (66.67 km2), of which, 25.73 square miles (66.64 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water. [1] The Pacific Ocean is about 75 miles (121 km) west of the city, and is the nearest coast. The nearest river is the Rogue River (8 mi or 13 km), and the nearest lake is Agate Lake (13 mi or 21 km).

Nearby cities include Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, Ashland, Roseburg, Redding (California), and Crescent City (California). Medford is 229 miles (369 km) from Salem, the capital of Oregon.

The nearest interstate highway is I-5, which runs northwest-southeast through the center of the city. The nearest junctions with other interstate highways are with I-84 in Portland (273 mi or 439 km) and I-80 in Sacramento (309 mi or 497 km). Medford also serves as a junction for Oregon Routes 99, 238, 62, and nearby 140 (6 mi or 9.7 km).

Medford is also situated in the remains of ancient volcanic flow areas as demonstrated by the Upper and Lower Table Rock lava formations and nearby Mount McLoughlin and Crater Lake, which is the remains of Mount Mazama. [31] [32] In the late spring/early summer the snow on the slopes of Mount McLoughlin melt away into a formation called the "angel wings," which Native American tribes interpreted as an osprey, an indicator of the beginning of salmon run.


Medford sits in a rain shadow between the Cascade Range and Siskiyou Mountains called the Rogue Valley. As such, most of the rain associated with the Pacific Northwest and Oregon in particular skips Medford, making it drier and sunnier than the Willamette Valley. Medford's climate is considerably warmer, both in summer and winter, than its latitude would suggest, with a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa). Summers are akin to Eastern Oregon, and winters resemble the coast. Here, summer sees an average of 57 afternoons over 90 °F or 32.2 °C and eleven afternoons over 100 °F or 37.8 °C. [33] In August 1981, the high temperature reached over 110 °F or 43.3 °C for four consecutive days, [34] with two days reaching 114 °F or 45.6 °C. [35] Freezing temperatures occur on 69 mornings during an average year, and in some years there may be a day or two where the high stays at or below freezing; the average window for freezing temperatures is October 23 through April 23. [33] The city is located in USDA hardiness zone 8. [36] Medford also experiences temperature inversions in the winter which during its lumber mill days produced fog so thick that visibility could be reduced to less than five feet. These inversions can last for weeks; some suggest this is because the metropolitan area has one of the lowest average wind speeds of all American metropolitan areas. The heavy fog returns nearly every winter with the inversions lowering air quality for several months without relief. [37] [38] [ failed verification ]

Medford residents do experience snowfall during the winter months; however, due to the weather shadow effect it only averages 3.6 inches or 0.09 metres and melts fairly quickly. In the past, the city has seen seasonal snowfall totals reach 31 inches or 0.79 metres in 1955–1956. [39] That season was also the wettest "rain year" with a total of 33.41 inches (848.6 mm); this immediately followed the driest "rain year" since records started in 1911 from July 1954 to June 1955 when only 9.28 inches (235.7 mm) was recorded. By far the wettest month has been December 1964 with 12.72 inches (323.1 mm); no other month has had more than 10 inches or 254 millimetres. The wettest day on record has been December 2, 1962 with 3.30 inches (83.8 mm).

The lowest recorded temperature in Medford was −10 °F (−23.3 °C) on December 13, 1919, [40] and the highest recorded temperature was 115 °F (46 °C) on July 20, 1946. There is significantly more diurnal temperature variation in summer than in winter, with the difference between January high and low average temperatures being only 15 °F (8.3 °C), but the difference between August high and low average temperatures is 34 °F (19 °C).

Climate data for Medford, Oregon (Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Record high °F (°C)71
Mean maximum °F (°C)60
Average high °F (°C)47.8
Daily mean °F (°C)40.3
Average low °F (°C)32.8
Mean minimum °F (°C)19
Record low °F (°C)−3
Average precipitation inches (mm)2.42
Average snowfall inches (cm)1.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)13.111.412.
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Source #1: NOAA (extremes 1911–present) [33]
Source #2: The Weather Channel [41]

Government and leadership

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Municipal governments
Medford City Hall MedfordOregonCityHall.jpg
Medford City Hall

Medford has a council-manager style of government. The governing body of Medford consists of an elected mayor and eight city council members, two from each of four wards. The council hires a professional city manager to run the day-to-day operations of the city including the hiring of city staff. [42]

The mayor and council members are not paid, but are reimbursed for expenses. [42]


The current mayor of Medford is Gary Hale Wheeler. He was first elected mayor in November 2004 with 16,653 of 28,195 votes (59%), [43] reelected in 2008 with 21,651 of 22,211 votes (97.5%), [44] reelected again in 2012 with about 97 percent of the votes, [45] and reelected again in 2016 with about 56 percent of the votes for a term ending in December 2020. [46]

Wheeler is an optometrist with an office in Medford. Prior to his election, he spent thirteen years on the Medford Urban Renewal Agency Board and served in the US Army where he also practiced optometry. [47]

Previous mayors

  • Gary Wheeler 2004 – present; he is an optometrist in the Medford area
  • Lindsay Berryman, 1998–2004; first female mayor of Medford [48]
  • Jerry Lausmann, 1986–1998 [49]
  • Gerald "Lou" Hannum, 1983–1986 [50]
  • Al Densmore (Rep), 1977–1983, [51] president of the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation [52]
  • Sebastiano "Benny" Fagone, 1974–1977, [53] founded the North Medford High School Black Tornado softball program in 1980 [54]
  • Lorin Jacobs, 1973–1974 [55]
  • John W. Snider Sr., 1957–1972, [56] [57] established Medford's sister city relationship with Alba, Italy in 1960
  • Diamond "Dime" Flynn, 1949–1954 [55] [58]
  • J.C. Collins, 1948 [58]
  • Clarence A. Meeker, 1942–1948 [58] [59]
  • Halbert S. "Hob" Deuel (Rep), 1940–1942, [58] [60] [61] former Jackson County congressman, died in 1971 [62]
  • Charles C. Furnas, 1937–1939 [58] [63]
  • George Porter, 1935–1936 [58]
  • E.M. Wilson, 1930–1934 [58]
  • A.W. Pipes, 1928–1929 [58]
  • O.O. Alenderfer, 1925–1927 [58]
  • Earl C. Gaddis, 1923–1924 [58] [64]
  • C.E. "Pop" Gates, 1917–1922 [58]
  • Vernon Emerick, 1915–1916, [58] [65] lit the city's first official Christmas tree in 1915 [66]
  • Mahlon Purdin, 1914 [58]
  • William W. Eifert, 1913, [58] [67] moved from Ohio, died of a heart attack during term on September 1, 1913, buried at the Eastwood Cemetery in Medford [68]
  • W.H. Canon, 1909–1912 [58]
  • John F. Reddy, 1907–1908 [58] [69]
  • W.R. Bradshaw, 1906 [58]
  • E.B. Pickel, 1904–1905 [58]
  • W.S. Crowell, 1902–1903 [58]
  • J. Howser, 1900–1901 [58]
  • H.L. Gilkey, 1898–1899 [58]
  • G.W. Haskins, 1894–1897 [58]
  • W.I. Vawter, 1893 [58]
  • J.A. Whitehead, 1892 [58]
  • G.W. Howard, 1890–1891 [58]
  • Mahlon Purdin, 1889 [58]
  • William Crawford, 1888 [58]
  • Edward P. Geary, 1887 [58] [70]
  • James S. Howard, 1886, [58] [70] Medford's first mayor

City council

City Ward Map Medford, Oregon Ward Map.png
City Ward Map

Medford municipal code divides the city into four wards, each represented by two city council members. Every biennium, one member from each ward is elected to serve a four-year term, creating an overlap where half of the eight-member council remains in office while the other half must campaign for reelection. [71]

Ward 1Ward 2Ward 3Ward 4
2017–2020Dick Gordon
(elected 2008)
Tim D'Alessandro
(elected 2016)
Kay Brooks
(elected 2016)
Eric Stark
(appointed 2019)
2019–2022Alex Poythress
(elected 2018)
Clay Bearnson
(elected 2014)
Kevin Stine
(elected 2014)
Michael Zarosinski
(elected 2014)

City manager

The city manager position is held by Brian Sjothun, the former Medford Parks and Recreation Director. [80]


Welcome sign near the north end of Medford Welcome to medford oregon.jpg
Welcome sign near the north end of Medford

Medford's economy is driven primarily by the health care industry. [81] The two major medical centers in the city, Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center [82] and Providence Medford Medical Center, employ over 2,000 people. As Medford is also a retirement destination, assisted living and senior services have become an important part of the economy.

In the past, Medford's economy was fueled by agriculture (pears, peaches, viticulture grapes) and timber products. The largest direct marketer of fruits and food gifts in the United States, Harry and David Operations Corp., is based in Medford. It is the largest employer in Southern Oregon, with 1,700 year round and about 6,700 seasonal employees in the Medford area. [83] The recreational legalization of OR marijuana in 2012 has been a special boom for area agriculture. Of the more than two million pounds of marijuana grown in the state each year [84] , $2 million a month is sold from Medford area retailers [85] . Lithia Motors, a Fortune 500 company and the 4th largest auto retailer in the U.S., [86] has been headquartered in Medford since 1970 and was started in Ashland in 1946, named for a nearby springs. [87] [88]

Other companies located in the city include Benchmark Maps, [89] Falcon Northwest, Pacific International Enterprises, and Tucker Sno-Cat. Medford and the surrounding area is home to the expanding Oregon wine industry, which includes the Rogue Valley AVA.

The city's historic downtown has undergone an economic recovery in recent years, using a combination of public funds and private investment. The revitalization effort led to the renovation of underutilized downtown properties and to the construction of a new Lithia Motors headquarters building in the district, completed in 2012. [90] Hospitality company The Neuman Hotel Group, based in nearby Ashland, OR, took over management and ownership of a large downtown motel, The Red Lion, in 2014, that had fallen into disrepair. Neuman Hotel Group renovated the property and renamed it Inn At the Commons. [90]

RVMC Patient Tower Rogue Valley Medical Center.jpg
RVMC Patient Tower


Historical population
1890 967
1900 1,79185.2%
1910 8,840393.6%
1920 5,756−34.9%
1930 11,00791.2%
1940 11,2812.5%
1950 17,30553.4%
1960 24,42541.1%
1970 28,97318.6%
1980 39,74637.2%
1990 46,95118.1%
2000 63,15434.5%
2010 74,90718.6%
Est. 201882,347 [3] 9.9%
Sources: [91] [92] [93] [94]

2016 census estimate

The Census Bureau estimate for 2016 [95] calculated an 8.9% growth in Medford since 2010 with 81,636 people in 29,751 households. Through 2015, the Census Bureau estimates that there were 7,427 veterans and 7.3% foreign-born persons. Among persons aged 25 or more, 86.4% had a high school degree or higher and 23.7% had a bachelor's degree or higher. Of people 16 or older, 61% of people held employment, and the median income was $41,931 (in 2015 dollars).

2010 census

As of the census [2] of 2010, there were 74,907 people, 30,079 households, and 19,072 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,911.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,124.1/km2). There were 32,430 housing units at an average density of 1,260.4 per square mile (486.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.0% White, 0.9% African American, 1.2% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.5% Pacific Islander, 6.0% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.8% of the population.

There were 30,079 households of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.6% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.98.

The median age in the city was 37.9 years. 24.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.4% were from 25 to 44; 25.3% were from 45 to 64; and 16.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.

Points of interest

Alba Park

Location: 42°19′26″N122°52′34″W / 42.3238°N 122.876°W / 42.3238; -122.876 (Alba Park)

The oldest park in Medford, Alba Park is located at the intersection of Holly and Main in downtown Medford was deeded to the city by the railroad company in 1888. [96] Known as Library Park after the 1911 construction of the Medford Carnegie Library, it was later renamed for Medford's sister city, Alba, Italy. [97] The park contains a gazebo, a statue of a boy with two dogs surrounded by a fountain pool, and a Japanese gun from World War II. [98] [99]

The annual Pear Blossom Run ends across the street from Alba Park at the Medford city hall, with an all-day fair conducted in the park itself. [100]

Bear Creek Corporation/Harry & David

Medford is the birthplace of Bear Creek Corporation, known around the world for its fruit-laden gift baskets, especially locally grown pears. [101] Tours of the plant are open to the public.

Bear Creek Park

Bear Creek Park Bear Creek Park (Oregon) 1.jpg
Bear Creek Park

At nearly 100 acres (0.40 km2), this south Medford park is the second largest in the city (Prescott Park is the largest at 1,740 acres). [102] Bear Creek Park is bordered on the west by Bear Creek and the Bear Creek Greenway. On the park grounds are four tennis courts, a skatepark, a dog park, an amphitheater, a large playground, a BMX track, and a community garden. [103]

Since 1925, the property hosting Bear Creek Park has been used for several purposes. The first section was purchased from a resident of Medford named Mollie Keene. The town used it for incinerating garbage until 1939. After that, it spent 20 years as a girl scout day camp before seeing private ownership again for a few years. Concerns about pollution in the Bear Creek received media attention in 1963 and the city purchased more property. [104] In 1988, a playground designed by Robert Leathers of New York was built. [105]

The Commons

The Commons is a public park built in the city's historic downtown district adjacent to the Lithia Motors headquarters building. It has been used as a venue for community activities. It was completed in 2012. [90]

I.O.O.F. Eastwood Historic Cemetery

The cemetery, established in 1890, lies on 20 acres (8.1 ha) just north of Bear Creek Park. It includes the grave of J. S. Howard and other former residents of Medford. The Parks and Recreation Department offers free tours of the cemetery.

Claire Hanley Arboretum

The Claire Hanley Arboretum was first planted in 1962 by Claire and Mary Hanley, two sisters raised on the historic Michael Hanley Farmstead along present-day Oregon Route 238. [106] It is part of a larger agriculture research center belonging to the Oregon State University. Located on the grounds are species of the dogwood cornus mas , the dove tree, and the Sorrel tree.

Medford Carnegie Library

Medford Carnegie Library Medford Carnegie Library - Medford Oregon.jpg
Medford Carnegie Library

The Medford Carnegie Library is a two-story library building located in downtown Medford. It was erected in 1911 thanks to a gift from Andrew Carnegie, but was vacated in 2004 after a new library building was constructed near the Rogue Community College extension campus, also in downtown Medford. [107] Currently, there are plans to use the building for class reunions, public meetings, and for annexing some city offices from the neighboring City Hall building. [108]

Roxy Ann Peak and Prescott Park

Roxy Ann Peak overlooks Medford from the east Roxy Ann Mountain.jpg
Roxy Ann Peak overlooks Medford from the east

One of Medford's most prominent landmarks, [109] Roxy Ann Peak is a 30-million-year-old mountain located on the east side of the city. Its summit is 3,576 feet (1,090 m) above sea level. [110] [111] It was named for Roxy Ann Bowen, an early settler who lived in its foothills. [112]

A significant area of Roxy Ann Peak (including the summit) is enclosed in Medford's largest park, [113] a 1,740-acre (2.72 sq mi; 7.0 km2) protected area called Prescott Park. The land was set aside in the 1930s and named in honor of George J. Prescott, a police officer killed in the line of duty in 1933. [114]

The most commonly used trail on Roxy Ann Peak, part of Prescott Park, climbs about 950 feet (290 m) from the beginning of the footpath at the second gate to a height of about 3,547 feet (1,081 m). The trail is about 3.4 miles (5.5 km) one-way, and provides a panoramic view of the Rogue Valley.

Vogel Plaza

Art in Bloom 2007 Vogel Plaza Art in Bloom 2007.jpg
Art in Bloom 2007

Finished in 1997 at the intersection of E. Main St and Central Ave in downtown Medford, Vogel Plaza has quickly become a center of activity for many local events. [115] One such event is the annual Art in Bloom festival, which is held around Mother's Day each year. During the two-day festival, over 10,000 people attend and more than 75 artists showcase their work while surrounded by live entertainment, workshops, food, and children's activities. [116] [117] [118]


Medford is served by Medford School District 549C and has two main high schools and an alternative high school: South Medford High School, North Medford High School, and Central Medford High School, respectively. In addition to the two public high schools, Medford has several private high schools. Two of the largest are St. Mary's School and Cascade Christian High School. In addition, there are 14 public elementary schools and two public middle schools, (Hedrick and McLoughlin). Medford 549C has over 13,000 students enrolled as of 2012.

Crossroads School is a private, alternative high school operating in Medford along with three others operated or affiliated with a church; Cascade Christian High School, St. Mary's High School, and Rogue Valley Adventist School. Grace Christian and Sacred Heart School are private elementary and middle schools in Medford. [119]

In 1997, Grants Pass-based Rogue Community College (RCC) completed construction on a seven-building campus spanning five blocks in downtown Medford. [120] Nearby Ashland-based Southern Oregon University collaborated with Rogue in 2007 on the construction of an eighth building which will offer third- and fourth-year courses to students. [121] Pacific Bible College, formerly named Dove Bible Institute, was founded in Medford in 1989. [122]

Crime and law enforcement

Violent CrimeProperty Crime
MurderRapeRobberyAssaultTotalBurglaryTheftCar TheftTotal
2007 [123] 030441912654122,6621963,270
2006 [124] 122361932524562,7481773,381
2005 [125] 128532433255563,4552794,290
2004 [126] 021382292885513,2722574,080

The Federal Bureau of Investigation publication "Crime in the United States" provides unranked statistical data from law enforcement agencies across the United States. The table to the right are statistics reported for the city of Medford for the years 2004 through 2007. [123] [127] [128] The FBI data for 2017 ranks Medford as the most dangerous city in Oregon. [129]

As with any city that experiences rapid growth,[ citation needed ] Medford has seen a recent surge in gang activity and organized crime in the past decade. [130] Methamphetamine use is a problem in Medford and southern Oregon and is believed to play a role in numerous property crimes, including identity theft. [131]

Police Department

The Medford Police Department has 103 sworn police officers supported by a staff of 33 civilian employees and 30 volunteers. [132]





  • KTMT 580 Sports
  • KRTA 610 La Gran D – Regional Mexican
  • KEZX 730 Fox Sports Radio
  • KCMX 880 News/Talk
  • KSJK 1230 JPR/SOU Public Radio News & Information
  • KAPL 1300 Religious
  • KMED 1440 News/Talk


  • KSRG 88.3 JPR/SOU Public Radio Classical
  • KSMF 89.1 JPR/SOU Public Radio Jazz
  • KSOR 90.1 JPR/SOU Public Radio Classical
  • KHRI 91.1 Air 1 Christian Rock
  • KDOV-FM 91.7 Christian Top 40
  • KTMT-FM 93.7 Now 93.7 - Top 40
  • KRRM 94.7 Classic Country
  • KBOY-FM 95.7 Classic Rock
  • KROG 96.9 The Rogue - Active Rock
  • KLDR 98.1 Top 40
  • KRVC 98.9 Hot 98.9 Today's Hits
  • KRWQ 100.3 Country
  • KCMX-FM 101.9 Lite 102 - Adult Contemporary
  • KCNA 102.7 The Drive – Classic Hits
  • KLDZ 103.5 Kool 103 - Classic Hits
  • KAKT 105.1 The Wolf - New Country
  • KYVL 106.3 Adult Album Alternative
  • KIFS 107.5 KISS-FM Top 40


The official newspaper of Medford and Jackson County is the Mail Tribune, which is owned by GateHouse Media. It began circulation in 1909 after a merger between the Medford-based Mail and the Ashland-based Tribune. [133] As of 2004, an average of 37,000 copies of the Mail Tribune are in circulation each day. [134]


In addition to having several athletes who were famous natives or residents of the city, Medford played host to several professional sports teams since 1948. It was the home city for several professional baseball teams, most notably the Medford A's, later known as the Southern Oregon Timberjacks, of the Northwest League. They were a short-season single-A minor league baseball affiliate of the Oakland Athletics who played at historic Miles Field from 1979 to 1999 before relocating to Vancouver, British Columbia. There is currently talk about bringing an expansion franchise to Medford, but there is no suitable stadium to host such a team at the moment.

Medford also hosted a professional indoor football team from the National Indoor Football League known as the Southern Oregon Heat in 2001. It played in the Compton Arena at the Jackson County Expo Park.

Medford's Lava Lanes bowling alley previously hosted the PBA's Medford Open every January, which aired on ESPN, the last Open took place in 2009.

Medford is the home of a Junior A hockey team, the Southern Oregon Spartans, who plays their home games at The RRRink in south Medford.

Medford is host to the Medford Rogues, a collegiate wood bat baseball team, who plays their home games at Harry and David Field

Each year, Medford hosts the Rogue Memorial Challenge on Memorial Day Weekend. This event is primarily based at US Cellular Community Sports Park, however uses fields across the city throughout the tournament.


The city of Medford is responsible for over 322 kilometers (200 mi) of roads within its boundaries. [135]

Major highways

The I-5 viaduct in downtown Medford Medford Viaduct.jpg
The I-5 viaduct in downtown Medford


Medford is home to Oregon's 3rd busiest airport, [138] the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport (airport code MFR). Over 1 million passengers use the airport annually, [139] Medford airport has two asphalt runways which handle about sixty daily flights from five airlines. [138] Medford's Airlines are Alaska Airlines (operated by Horizon Air), United Express, Delta Connection, United, American Airlines,and Allegiant Airlines.

With expansion of the airport terminal underway, the facilities are quickly being upgraded. [140]


The greater Medford metro area has been served by Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) since 1975. [141] The bus system operates eight routes from Monday to Saturday, four of which travel to nearby cities Central Point, Jacksonville, Phoenix, Talent, Ashland, and White City. [142] All routes connect at the Front Street Transfer Station, which since October 2008 has contained Medford's Greyhound Bus depot. [143]


There are no passenger trains that route through Medford. Amtrak trains serve nearby Klamath Falls. People in Medford can board the Southwest POINT Klamath Shuttle Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach (an intercity bus route) at the RVTD Front Street Transfer Station for a two and a half hour ride and guaranteed connection with Amtrak's Coast Starlight train at the Klamath Falls Amtrak Passenger Rail Station. [144] The last direct service was provided by the Southern Pacific Railroad to Portland, ending in 1956. [145] [146]


The nearest maritime port is the Port of Coos Bay, which is 167 miles (269 km) away.

The nearby Rogue River is monitored for flooding at the Gold Ray Dam, a decommissioned hydroelectric dam built in 1906 near Gold Hill. [147] The National Weather Service identifies 3.6 meters (12 feet) as the flood level. [148] At this depth, navigability between the Pacific Ocean and the Rogue Valley is limited. Even a small "handysize" freighter is unable to make the trip, [149] and any ship hauling cargo to Medford would have to have a much smaller draw. [150] Therefore, Medford does not have a nearby maritime port.

In the 1944 movie Double Indemnity , the fictional character Mr. Jackson said: "I'm a Medford man – Medford, Oregon. Up in Medford, we take our time making up our minds." [151]

Sister city

Shortly after the sister city program was established in 1960, Medford was paired up with Alba, Piedmont, Italy. The cities are 9,175 kilometers (5,701 mi) apart and were paired based on 1960 similarities in population, geography, and climate. [152] [153]

Every other year, both Alba and Medford take turns exchanging students. During March and April of one year, students from Medford's high schools will visit Alba and stay with host families. Likewise, Alba students will visit Medford every other year. Sixty-seven Medford students applied for the 2007 trip to Italy, but only 24 were selected. [154]

It was former mayor of Medford John W. Snider who selected Alba during his 1957–1962 term, making a satellite phone call to Alba's former mayor Osvaldo Cagnasso. [56] [155]

Notable people

Related Research Articles

Ashland, Oregon City in Oregon, United States

Ashland is a city in Jackson County, Oregon, United States. It lies along Interstate 5 approximately 16 miles (26 km) north of the California border and near the south end of the Rogue Valley. The city's population was 20,078 at the 2010 census and was estimated to be 21,263 as of 2019.

Rogue River (Oregon) river in Oregon, United States

The Rogue River in southwestern Oregon in the United States flows about 215 miles (346 km) in a generally westward direction from the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean. Known for its salmon runs, whitewater rafting, and rugged scenery, it was one of the original eight rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Beginning near Crater Lake, which occupies the caldera left by the explosive volcanic eruption of Mount Mazama, the river flows through the geologically young High Cascades and the older Western Cascades, another volcanic province. Further west, the river passes through multiple exotic terranes of the more ancient Klamath Mountains. In the Kalmiopsis Wilderness section of the Rogue basin are some of the world's best examples of rocks that form the Earth's mantle. Near the mouth of the river, the only dinosaur fragments ever discovered in Oregon were found in the Otter Point Formation, along the coast of Curry County.

Rogue Valley International–Medford Airport airport near Medford, Oregon, United States

Rogue Valley International–Medford Airport is a public-use airport three miles north of downtown Medford, in Jackson County, Oregon. Owned and operated by Jackson County's Aviation Authority, the airport serves southwest Oregon. Originally named Medford–Jackson County Airport, it was renamed to Rogue Valley International–Medford Airport after it became an international airport in 1994.

Oregon Route 62 highway in Oregon

Oregon Route 62 is an Oregon state highway that runs between the city of Medford, and U.S. Route 97 between Chiloquin and Klamath Falls. The highway approaches Crater Lake National Park from the south, and is known as the Crater Lake Highway. While the highway is signed east-to-west, it is in reality shaped somewhat like a horseshoe; heading north-northeast from Medford, turning east as it approaches the park, and then turning south-southeast as it approaches Klamath Falls. Oregon Route 140, which intersects with OR 62 in White City, and Oregon Route 66, are more direct routes between Medford and Klamath Falls. Route 62 comprises a portion of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway.

Bear Creek (Rogue River) stream located entirely within Jackson County, Oregon

Bear Creek is the name of a stream located entirely within Jackson County, Oregon. The stream drains approximately 400 square miles (1,000 km2) of the Rogue Valley and discharges an annual average of 114 cubic feet per second (3.2 m3/s) into the Rogue River. It begins near Emigrant Lake and travels 28.8 miles (46.3 km) through the municipalities of Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, and Central Point.

Lithia Motors Lithia Motors, Inc. is an American nationwide automotive retailer headquartered in Medford, Oregon.

Lithia Motors, Inc. is an American nationwide automotive retailer headquartered in Medford, Oregon. It is the third largest automotive retailer in the United States. In 2015, Lithia Motors broke into the Fortune 500 list at #482, making it one of only three Oregon-based companies in the Fortune 500. This followed a year that saw the acquisition of the DCH Auto Group, one of the 10 largest dealer groups in the country, with 27 dealerships, before being purchased by Lithia Motors. In 2016, Lithia climbed to #346 and that same year made the Fortune 500 List of Top Ten Companies with the biggest jump in rank on the Fortune 500. As of 2018, Lithia is ranked #294 on the Fortune 500. Lithia employs more than 14,150 people in stores across the nation including Alaska and Hawaii. Lithia operates 180 stores in 18 states.

Interstate 5 (I-5) in the U.S. state of Oregon is a major Interstate Highway that traverses the state from north to south. It travels to the west of the Cascade Mountains, connecting Portland to Salem, Eugene, Medford, and other major cities in the Willamette Valley and across the northern Siskiyou Mountains. The highway runs 308 miles (496 km) from the California state line near Ashland to the Washington state line in northern Portland, forming the central part of Interstate 5's route between Mexico and Canada.

Roxy Ann Peak mountain near Medford, Oregon, United States

Roxy Ann Peak is a 3,576-foot-tall (1,090 m) mountain in the Western Cascade Range at the eastern edge of Medford, Oregon. Composed of several geologic layers, the majority of the peak is of volcanic origin and dates to the early Oligocene epoch. It is primarily covered by oak savanna and open grassland on its lower slopes, and mixed coniferous forest on its upper slopes and summit, although not all the way. Despite the peak's relatively small topographic prominence of 753 feet (230 m), it rises 2,200 feet (670 m) above Medford and is visible from most of the Rogue Valley. The mountain is Medford's most important viewshed, open space reserve, and recreational resource.

Rogue Valley Transportation District

Rogue Valley Transportation District is a transportation district serving the greater Jackson County, Oregon area. The district serves the cities of Medford, Ashland, White City, Phoenix, Talent, Jacksonville, and Central Point. The district also provides paratransit services to older adults and people with disabilities within its route coverage area.

Wimer, Oregon Census-designated place in Oregon, United States

Wimer is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Jackson County, Oregon, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 678. Wimer lies along Evans Creek north of the city of Rogue River.

The Southern Oregon Land Conservancy is an accredited land trust that works exclusively in Southern Oregon. Its headquarters are located in Ashland, Oregon. The mission of the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy is to protect special lands in the Rogue River Basin and surrounding areas for this and future generations by working cooperatively with landowners and communities. Its service area includes all of Jackson, Josephine, Curry, Coos, and Southern Douglas Counties.

Upper and Lower Table Rock two prominent volcanic plateaus located just north of the Rogue River in Jackson County, Oregon, US

Upper Table Rock and Lower Table Rock are two prominent volcanic plateaus located just north of the Rogue River in Jackson County, Oregon, U.S. Created by an andesitic lava flow approximately seven million years ago and shaped by erosion, they now stand about 800 feet (240 m) above the surrounding Rogue Valley. The Table Rocks are jointly owned; The Nature Conservancy is responsible for 3,591 acres (1,453 ha), while the Bureau of Land Management is responsible for 1,280 acres (520 ha).

Little Butte Creek river in the United States of America

Little Butte Creek is a 17-mile-long (27 km) tributary of the Rogue River in the U.S. state of Oregon. Its drainage basin consists of approximately 354 square miles (917 km2) of Jackson County and another 19 square miles (49 km2) of Klamath County. Its two forks, the North Fork and the South Fork, both begin high in the Cascade Range near Mount McLoughlin and Brown Mountain. They both flow generally west until they meet near Lake Creek. The main stem continues west, flowing through the communities of Brownsboro, Eagle Point, and White City, before finally emptying into the Rogue River about 3 miles (5 km) southwest of Eagle Point.

Big Butte Creek river in Oregon, United States of America

Big Butte Creek is a 12-mile-long (19 km) tributary of the Rogue River in the U.S. state of Oregon. It drains approximately 245 square miles (635 km2) of Jackson County. Its two forks, the North Fork and the South Fork, both begin high in the Cascade Range near Mount McLoughlin. Flowing predominantly west, they meet near the city of Butte Falls. The main stem flows generally northwest until it empties into the Rogue Falls was incorporated in 1911, and remains the only incorporated town within the watershed's boundaries.

Big Butte Springs spring in Oregon, United States of America

Big Butte Springs are natural springs located near the south fork of Big Butte Creek in Jackson County, Oregon, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Medford. It provides 26 million US gallons (98,000,000 L) of high quality water per day. The springs provide enough water to meet the needs of the valley for seven months of the year. During the remaining five months, water is pumped and treated from the Rogue River. The springs provide water to over 115,000 customers.

Evans Creek (Rogue River tributary)

Evans Creek is a tributary, about 35 miles (56 km) long, of the Rogue River in the U.S. state of Oregon. It begins near Richter Mountain in the Cascade Range and flows generally south to The Meadows then southwest to Wimer then south to the city of Rogue River, all in Jackson County. The creek enters the river about 111 miles (179 km) from the Rogue's mouth on the Pacific Ocean. Wimer Bridge, a one-lane covered bridge crosses the creek at Wimer.

Pear Blossom Park

Pear Blossom Park is a park in Medford, Oregon, United States. The Commons at Pear Blossom Park was a collaboration project by the Medford Urban Renewal Agency (MURA) and Lithia Motors.


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