UPDATED: Eminent domain sought for Medford bike trail

Updated 6:05 p.m. Medford officials may file eminent domain proceedings this week to create the first leg of a Larson Creek Trail in southeast Medford. But they say they don’t expect to condemn any property.

The City Council will consider an ordinance at noon Thursday at City Hall, 411 W. Eighth St., to begin the process to acquire portions of two Rogue Valley Manor properties and one owned by Pacific Retirement Hospitality LLC, a subsidiary of Pacific Retirement Services, which operates the manor.

The proposed Larson Creek Greenway would connect with the Bear Creek Greenway and run parallel with Barnett Road to the east, eventually extending for two miles to North Phoenix Road, then into other trails that would be part of the southeast plan.

The new path, which would traverse along the south bank of Larson Creek, would provide an alternative route for cyclists and pedestrians wanting to avoid busy Barnett Road by traveling through a mostly residential area.

The initial phase of the bike trail would run from the Bear Creek Greenway to Ellendale Drive.

The three parcels required for the bike path are located along Hospitality Way. The city needs rights-of-way through the properties, estimating the value of the easements at $70,000.
Cory Crebbin, director of Medford Public Works, said the city has qualified for a $500,000 federal grant for the first phase of the path.

As a result of the grant process, the city is required to start eminent domain proceedings, Crebbin said. That doesn’t mean they’ll have to take any drastic action.

On other projects, the city has been able to avoid actual condemnation actions and arrive at a fair market value for a property.

“We want to pay a fair price,” Crebbin said. “We almost always work it out.”

— Damian Mann

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