Greyhound station move makes way for Commons

Plans to move Medford's Greyhound bus station to a parking lot on Grape Street between Fifth and Sixth streets have drawn mixed reviews from the neighbors.

Steve Boyarsky, superintendent at Southern Oregon Education Service District, does not support the move, which would put the bus station directly across the street from the ESD's offices on space owned by the Medford Urban Renewal Agency. He said people who come to town for ESD workshops already have difficulty finding enough parking spaces, and they fill the area's on-street parking. Additionally, the ESD leases about 10 spaces from the lot, which could be lost.

"Traffic would be a problem, too," he said.

Greyhound's presence wouldn't bother April Hicks, president of Ballet Rogue, a dance group that leases MURA-owned space diagonally across the street from the site of the new bus station.

"I wouldn't have a problem with that," Hicks said.

The bus station is moving from its Bartlett Street home to make way for The Commons project. Demolition of the old station along with seven other buildings was approved by the Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission last week.

The buildings, located between Bartlett Street and Riverside Avenue and Fourth and Sixth streets, include the Greyhound bus station, the Superior Stamp and Sign building recently purchased by MURA and six buildings owned by Lithia.

Last September the city of Medford, the Medford Urban Renewal Agency and Lithia Motors signed a three-way agreement to rebuild roughly six downtown blocks, bordered by Central and Riverside avenues and Third and Sixth streets. Lithia will build its new 10-story headquarters in the development, formerly dubbed Middleford Commons, and is helping to coordinate the entire project.

Jackie Rodgers, MURA director, said the agency has a purchase agreement with Greyhound and is finalizing the details of the contract. Greyhound will be constructing a building, she said, and using some of the space in the parking lot. Details have not been finalized about what kind of a structure the bus company will build on Grape Street and how many parking spaces will be lost.

MURA has been trying to acquire grants to help relocate the Greyhound station to the Rogue Valley Transportation District transfer station on Front Street, but those efforts have yet to succeed, so Rodgers said she didn't know whether the move to Grape Street would be permanent or temporary.

"There's always the possibility of (Greyhound) relocating at the RVTD site," she said.

Mark Rivers, the Boise, Idaho, real estate developer managing the Commons project, said part of the demolition approval included retaining a portion of the Littrell building wall as part of the entryway from Sixth Street to the park blocks, as well as the Greyhound entry portal on Bartlett and Fifth streets.

Superior Stamp and Sign will be relocating to 1016 E. Jackson St., and opening Sept. 15. The building it is currently in on Bartlett will be demolished soon after it is vacated. Lithia is handling the demolition of the eight buildings.

Rivers said the Lithia Dodge dealership will relocate to Lithia's new car dealership complex on Highway 62, and is scheduled to open at its new location in September.

He said plans for Lithia's corporate headquarters building are weeks away from being submitted to the city, and construction could begin next spring.

Rivers said for a public/private project, things have been moving along smoothly.

"The red tape at City Hall hasn't been very red at all," he said. "We're all very excited to be able to start to show some visible progress."

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