Medford is a city in
County, Oregon, United
As of 2008, the city had a total population of
76,850 and a metropolitan area
population of 202,310. The city was named in 1883 by David Loring,
civil engineer and right-of-way agent for the Oregon and California
Railroad for his home town of Medford, Massachusetts and in recognition of its supposed position on the
middle ford of Bear
the county seat of Jackson
Statue of Liberty, dedicated in
In 1883, a group of railroad
surveyors headed by S. L. Dolson and David Loring arrived in Rock
Point, near present day Gold Hill.
They were charged with finding the best
route through the Rogue Valley
Oregon and California
. Citizens of neighboring Jacksonville hoped that it would pass between their town and
Hanley Butte, near the present day Claire Hanley Arboretum.
a move would have all but guaranteed prosperous growth for
Jacksonville, but Dolson decided instead to stake the railroad
closer to Bear Creek
The response from Jacksonville was mixed, but the decision was
final. By November 1883, a depot
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.
Sullivan Howard, a New
Hampshire Freemason, claimed to have built the town's
first building in January 1884, though blacksmith Emil Piel was
advertising for business at the "central depot" in the middle of
Others point out the farms
town founders Iradell Judson Phipps and Charles Wesley Broback,
which were present before the town was platted. Regardless, on
February 6, 1884 (less than a month after it was built), J. S.
Howard's store became Medford's first post
, with Howard serving as postmaster
. The establishment of the post office
led to the incorporation of the Medford as a town by the Oregon Legislative Assembly
February 24, 1885, 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.
The beginning of the 20th century was a transitional period.
Medford built a new steel bridge
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. 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
's donation allowed a dedicated library to be built.
Construction on the Medford Carnegie
Library was completed in 1912.
Medford took the title of county seat of Jackson
County away from nearby Jacksonville.
In 1967, Interstate 5
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, 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.
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
. Further traffic
problems identified in south Medford prompted the construction of
another new interchange, estimated at costing $70 million. The
project began in 2006 and should be completed by 2010.
Since the 1990s, Medford has dedicated an appreciable amount of
resources to urban renewal
attempt to revitalize the downtown area. Several old buildings
have been restored, including the Craterian Ginger
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
Economic problems in 2008 and 2009 put a hold on The
project, a collaboration between the city of Medford
and Lithia Motors
. The project, one of
the largest undertaken in recent years, aims to provide more
parking, recreation, and commerce to the area. Before the work
stopped, the Greyhound Bus
moved and $850,000 was spent replacing water lines. Originally,
was scheduled to be completed by 2017, but
remains on indefinite hold until the economic situation
Government and leadership
Medford has a council-manager
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.
The mayor and council members are not paid, but are reimbursed for
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%),
and then was reelected in 2008 with 21,651 of 22,211 votes
(97.5%).His current term expires in December 2012.
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
where he also practiced optometry.
- Gary Wheeler 2004 – present; Dr. Wheeler is an optometrist in
the Medford area
- Lindsay Berryman, 1998 – 2004; first female mayor of
- Jerry Lausmann, 1986 – 1998, the longest-serving mayor in
- Gerald "Lou" Hannum, 1983 – 1986
- Al Densmore (Rep), 1977 – 1983,
president of the Bear Creek
- Sebastiano "Benny" Fagone, 1974 – 1977,
founded the North Medford High School Black Tornado sports program in
- Lorin Jacobs, 1973 - 1974
- John W. Snider Sr., 1957 – 1962, established
Medford's sister city
relationship with Alba,
Italy in 1960
- Diamond "Dime" Flynn, 1949 - 1954
- Clarence A. Meeker, 1942-1948
- Halbert S. "Hob" Deuel (Rep), 1940 – 1942, former
County congressman, died
- Charles C. Furnas, 1937 – 1940
- Earl Gaddis, 1925?
- Vernon Emerick, 1914? – 1918?, lit the city's first official
Christmas tree in 1915
- William W. Eifert, ? – 1913, moved from Ohio, died of a heart
attack during term on September 1, 1913, buried at the Eastwood
Cemetery in Medford
- Edward P. Geary, 1888 – 1888,
- James S. Howard, 1887 – 1888, Medford's first mayor
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.
|James F Kuntz
The city manager of Medford is Michael Dyal. He replaced Andy
Anderson in June 1998 by vote of the city council. Dyal, a U.S.
veteran, previously served as city manager for Orem, Utah, and North Las Vegas, Nevada.
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
city has a total area of 21.7 square miles (56.2 km²),
all of it land. 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
13 km), and the nearest lake is Agate Lake (13 mi,
cities include Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, Ashland, Roseburg, Redding (California), and Crescent City (California). Medford is 229 miles
(369 km) from Salem, the capital
The nearest interstate highway is I-5
which runs northwest-southeast through the center of the city.
nearest junctions with other interstate highways are with I-84 in Portland (273 mi, 439 km) and I-80 in Sacramento (309 mi, 497 km).
serves as a junction for Oregon Routes 99
, and nearby 140
(6 mi/10 km).
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.
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
, an indicator of the beginning of
sits in a weather shadow between the Cascade Range and Siskiyou
Mountains called the Rogue
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
. Medford's climate is considerably warmer, both in
summer and winter, than its latitude would suggest. Summers are
reminiscent of Eastern Oregon, and winters resemble the coast. In
Medford, summer often includes as many as ninety days over 90°F
(32°C), with temperatures over 100°F (38°C) common in July and
August. In August 1980, the temperature stayed over 110°F (43°C)
for over a week, with two days reaching 115°F (46°C). Medford also
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 could last four to six weeks; some
suggest this is because the metropolitan area has one of the lowest
average wind speeds of all American metropolitan areas.
Medford residents experience snowfall (not necessarily
accumulation) during winter months, though it usually only amounts
to a few inches (5-7 centimeters). In the past, Medford has seen
snowfall measurements reach 31 inches/78 centimeters
(1955-1956), and in 2007, 9 inches/23 centimeters of snowfall
Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Medford's economy is driven primarily by the health care
Medford is the economic and shopping center for over 460,000 people
located in Southern Oregon and Northern California. The Projected
2008 retail sales in the Greater Medford Area are $7.5 billion
dollars. The average is more than the expanded Portland and Eugene
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
, 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. Harry and David was founded
in 1910 to market the harvest from the orchards of the Rogue Valley
largest direct response retailer of musical instruments and related
gear, is headquartered in Medford. Tom's Bronco Parts, the
nationwide leader of replacement parts for the early Ford Bronco
(model years 1966-1977) is located in Medford as well. Benchmark Maps
, founded in Medford in 1995,
produces detailed atlases and maps in 10 western states. Falcon Northwest
, a personal computer
has been operating in Medford since 2002. There is even a film production
, called Pacific International
, which has been distributing films from Medford
since at least the 1970s.
, the Nation's 8th
largest auto retailer, has called Medford home for nearly 40 years.
Publicly trade on the NYSE as LAD, Lithia operates nearly 100
dealerships west of the Mississippi River.
As there are no towns of equal or larger size within several hours'
drive, Medford is a regional hub for medical services. The two major medical
centers in the city, Rogue Valley Medical Center 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.
Medford and the surrounding area is home to the expanding Oregon wine
industry that includes a large
variety of Bordelaise
, and Burgundian
varietals including merlot
, cabernet sauvignon
, pinot noir
, pinot gris
, early muscat
. Unlike the rest of Oregon, the
region has also enjoyed success with two lesser-known varietals:
, the red grape known best as
the foundation of Spanish Rioja
, and Viognier
, a white grape previously found only in
isolated parts of the Rhone
As of the census
of 2000, there were 63,154
people, 25,093 households, and 16,511 families residing in the
city. In 2005 the population was estimated at 71,000 people. The
people per square mile (1,123.7/km²). There were 26,297 housing
units at an average density of 1,211.9/sq mi (467.9/km²). The
racial makeup of the city was 89.99% White
, 0.50% African American
, 0.26% Pacific Islander
, 3.87% from
, and 3.17%
from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 9.25% of the
There were 25,093 households out of which 31.7% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples
living together, 11.7% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families.
27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age
of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to
64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
37 years. For every 100 females there were 92.0 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,481, and the
median income for a family was $43,972. Males had a median income
of $34,533 versus $23,714 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$20,170. About 10.3% of families and 13.9% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 19.8%
of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.
Points of interest
Statue in Alba Park
The oldest park in Medford, Alba Park is located at the
intersection of Holly and Main in downtown Medford. Originally called
Library Park due to its proximity to the Medford
Carnegie Library, it was later renamed for Medford's sister city, Alba, Italy.
The park contains a gazebo
, a statue of a boy with two dogs surrounded by
a fountain pool, and a Japanese cannon
World War II
The annual Pear Blossom Run
starts across the street from
Alba Park at the Medford city hall
an all-day fair conducted in the park itself.
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. Tours of the plant are open to the
Bear Creek Park
, this south Medford park is the second largest in the city
Park is the largest at 1,740 acres).
Bear Creek Park
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
, a large playground
, a BMX
track, and a community garden.
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
day camp before seeing private ownership again for a few
years. Concerns about pollution
Bear Creek received media attention in 1963 and the city purchased
more property. In 1988, a playground designed by Bob
Leathers of New
York was built.
Claire Hanley Arboretum
The Claire Hanley Arboretum was first planted in 1962 by Claire and
Mary Hanley, two sisters raised on the historic Michael
along present day Oregon Route 238
. It is part of a
larger agriculture research center
belonging to the Oregon State University.
Located on the grounds are species of the
, the dove tree
, and the
Medford Carnegie Library
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. Currently, there are
plans to use the building for class reunions, public meetings, and
for annexing some city offices from the neighboring City Hall
Roxy Ann Peak and Prescott Park
One of Medford's most prominent landmarks, Roxy Ann Peak is a 30
million year old dormant volcano
located on the east side of the city. At 1,089 meters
(3,573 ft), the mountain rises almost 610 meters
(2000 ft) above the valley floor. It was named for Roxy Ann
Bowen, an early settler who lived in its foothills.
A significant area of Roxy Ann Peak (including the summit) is
enclosed in Medford's largest park, a 7.04 square kilometer
(2.72 mi², 1,740 acres
) 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.
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. 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.
is served by Medford School District 549c and has two main high
schools: South Medford High School and North Medford High School.
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
and McLoughlin). Medford 549C
has over 12,500 students enrolled.
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.
Community College (RCC) completed construction on a
seven-building campus spanning five blocks in downtown
Medford. 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.
Crime and law enforcement
Bureau of Investigation publication "Crime in the United States" provides
unranked statistical data from law enforcement agencies across the
The table to the right are statistics
reported for the city of Medford for the years 2004 through
As with any city that experiences rapid growth, Medford has seen a
recent surge in gang activity and organized crime in the past
decade.Methamphetamine use is a problem in Medford and southern
Oregon and is believed to play a role in numerous property crimes,
including identity theft.
The Medford Police Department has 103 sworn police officers
supported by a staff of 77 civilian employees.
- William Abercrombie, U.S.
- Brad Arnsberg, baseball player and
- Justin Baldoni, actor
- Jeff Barry,
- Steve Bechler, baseball
- Bill Bowerman,
legendary track coach and Nike
- Edwin Russell Durno, Oregon
state senator and representative
- Roxanne Ellis and
Michelle Abdill, murdered lesbian couple
- Dick Fosbury, high jumper and
inventor of the Fosbury Flop
- Les Gutches, Greco-Roman wrestler
- Page Hamilton, musician and record
- Marshall Holman, professional
bowler and PBA Hall of Famer
- Jon Lindstrom, actor
- Dave Luetkenhoelter, rock
- Allison Machado, Miss Oregon
- Jennifer Murphy, Actress, former
Miss Oregon and Apprentice 4 contestant.
- Bob Newland, NFL wide receiver for
the New Orleans Saints
- Teo Olivares, actor
- Patricia Pine, former Miss Oregon
and television reporter
- Jason James Richter,
- Lisa Rinna, soap opera star
- Ginger Rogers, actress and screen
- Kyle Singler, player for the Duke
Blue Devils college basketball team.
- Dick Skeen, former professional
tennis player and teacher
- Vic Snyder, United States
Representative from Arkansas
- Jonathan Stark, former
professional tennis player
- Kenny Taylor, film
- Kevin Towers, General Manager San
- KAKT-FM 105.1 New Country
- KBOY-FM 95.7 Classic Rock
- KCNA 102.7 Classic Hits
- KRVC 98.9 Hot
98.9 Top 40 & Urban
- KCMX 880 Talk
- KCMX-FM 101.9 Soft Adult
- KDOV-FM 91.7 Christian Top 40
- KEZX-AM 730 Talk Radio
- KHRI-FM 91.1 Christian Rock
- KIFS-FM 107.5 Kiss Top 40
- KLDZ-FM 103.5
- KLDR-FM 98.7 Top 40
- KMED-AM 1440 Talk
- KROG-FM 96.9 New Rock
- KRRM-FM 94.7 Classic Country
- KRTA-AM 610 Hispanic
- KRWQ-FM 100.3 New & Classic
- KSJK-AM 1230 JPR/SOU Public Radio
- KSMF FM 89.1 JPR/SOU Classical /
- KGAY 580 Latin
- KTMT-FM 93.7 Plays Anything
- KZZE-FM 106.3 New Hard Rock
The official newspaper
of Medford and
Jackson County is the Mail Tribune, which is owned by Ottaway Community Newspapers
circulation in 1909 after a
merger between the Medford-based Mail and the Ashland-based Tribune.
As of 2004, an
average of 37,000 copies of the Mail Tribune are in circulation
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
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
There is currently talk about bringing an
expansion franchise from the Golden Baseball League
but there is no suitable stadium to host such a team at the
Medford also hosted a professional indoor football team from the
National Indoor Football
known as the Southern
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
The city of Medford is responsible for over 322 kilometers (200
miles) of roads within its boundaries.
- Interstate 5 runs directly through the
center of the city. The section of freeway includes a 3,229 foot
(984 m) viaduct that elevates traffic above
Bear Creek and the city's
downtown. There are two freeway exits in Medford, one at each side
of the city.
99 runs through the city's center.
62 runs through the northern portion of the town.
- Highway 238 runs through the
northwestern portion of Medford.
Medford is home to Oregon's 3rd
, the Rogue Valley International-Medford
MFR). 647,471 people used this regional airport in 2007,
which has served over 11 million passengers between 1978 and 2008.
Medford airport has two asphalt
which handle about sixty daily flights
With expansion of the airport terminal underway, the facilities are
quickly being upgraded.
The greater Medford metro area has been served by Rogue Valley
Transportation District (RVTD) since 1975. The bus system operates 6 routes, 4 of which travel to
nearby cities Central Point, Jacksonville, Phoenix, Talent, Ashland, and White City.
All routes connect at the Front Street
, which since October
2008 has contained Medford's Greyhound
There are no passenger trains
route through Medford. Amtrak trains serve
People in Medford can board a chartered bus
at the RVTD
Front Street Transfer Station that will deliver them to the
in less than two hours.
Amtrak California also offers service to Medford via Amtrak coach.
The Medford/Ashland stops are Amtrak California's only Oregon
nearest maritime port is the Port of Coos
Bay, which is 167 miles (269 km)
nearby Rogue River is monitored
for flooding at the Gold Ray Dam, a
decommissioned hydroelectric dam
built in 1906 near Gold Hill.
The National Weather Service
3.6 meters (12 ft) as the flood level. At this depth, navigability
between the Pacific Ocean and the
Rogue Valley is limited. Even a small "handysize
unable to make the trip, and any ship hauling cargo
to Medford would have to have a much smaller
draw. Therefore, Medford does not have a nearby maritime port
Medford in popular culture
Medford is the hometown of the fictional character Mr. Jackson,
played by Porter Hall
, in the classic
noir film Double Indemnity
When pressed to recall the events that led to the supposed death of
Dietrichson, Mr. Jackson proclaims, "Mr. Keyes, I'm a Medford man -
Medford, Oregon. Up in Medford, we take our time making up our
Shortly after the sister city program was established in 1960, Medford was paired up with Alba, Italy. The cities are 9,175 kilometers (5,700 miles) apart and were paired based on 1960 similarities in population, geography, and climate.
Each 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. 67 Medford students applied for the 2007
trip to Italy, but only 24 were selected.
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
- MailTribune.com: Making ends meet
- Sales & Marketing Magazine 2003
- MailTribune.com: Roxy Ann shows her true colors in
- City of Medford Oregon - Bear Creek Amphitheater,
Dog Park, Skate Park
- The summer
draft of typical handysize cargo ships can easily reach 10 meters (33