Phoenix Road sections will soon be renamed

PHOENIX — Portions of South and North Phoenix Road that fall inside the city of Phoenix will be renamed Grove Road, city officials decided this week.

In preparation for a $73 million rebuild of the Fern Valley interchange, state Department of Transportation officials suggested — with additional roads being built and the layout of the intersection soon to change — that existing portions of South and North Phoenix Road be renamed to reflect realignment of the area near Home Depot.

A primary concern was ease of navigation for emergency personnel.

"ODOT was essentially neutral, but we wanted to support the emergency services personnel, so we're perfectly happy with the decision," said ODOT project leader Dick Leever.

"We don't care what it's called, but we want people to be able to find their way around."

Gordon Sletmoe, acting chief of Medford Fire-Rescue, said he supported the name change to ensure addresses could be located quickly during emergencies.

"For emergency responders, it's all about ease of use," he said.

"We are most concerned about getting to our emergencies in a timely fashion, and one of the things I've said is that if we cannot find you, we can't help you.

"We don't care what the road is named as long as it's something easy for emergency responders to figure out," Sletmoe added.

Reconstruction of the interchange, which has been planned for more than a decade, will begin this spring.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at

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