Council sides with senior-living project

Developers of an assisted-living center received an assist from the Medford City Council last week when it agreed that a time-consuming planning review wasn't necessary.

The council voted, 5-3, to reject an appeal from nearby residents opposed to the three-story, assisted-living complex at 825 East Main Street.

"It is my understanding that the project will proceed to building permit once the city's decision is final," Portland attorney Greg Hathaway, who represents developer Alex Jauregui, stated in an email response.

The council sided with the Medford planning director's determination that Jauregui's proposal to build a 57,000-square-foot center on East Main Street doesn't require approval from the Site Plan and Architectural Commission. Since the council's decision wasn't unanimous, it will come back for a second reading this month. The council's decision could be appealed to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.

Shelley Spliethof, one of the residents of the Minnesota Avenue and Geneva Street neighborhood, said the neighbors felt the project should go through review by the Site Plan and Architectural Commission to make sure it fits in with the neighborhood.

"We are not opposed to the assisted-living facility," she said. "It's the size."

The neighbors said the three-story building would loom over the backyards of the surrounding neighborhood.

Medford code exempts a new building on a property from review by the Site Plan and Architectural Commission if it does not generate more than 10 additional vehicle trips and the project is not in a historic district.

The existing buildings, one of which houses a methadone clinic that is in the process of moving, sit just outside the historic district and generate 350 vehicle trips a day on average. The assisted-living facility would generate 227 daily trips — 123 fewer — according to calculations made by Southern Oregon Transportation Engineering LLC of Medford.

Drawings of the building show an enlarged third-story walkway that would connect the two proposed buildings. Because the enclosed bridge would contain not only a walkway, but also a dining area and a veranda, the two buildings would be considered a single building by the city.

The elevated walkway connecting the two buildings allows for vehicle passage beneath it to reach a parking area in the back.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or

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