PHOTO: Medford’s Parks and Recreation Department soon will begin construction on Oregon Hills Park, a new 15-acre park at East McAndrews Road and Chablis Terrace. The park will include climbing walls, a water feature and a wheelchair-accessible tree house. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Bob Pennell

Hills will be alive

A15-acre park with climbing walls and a wheelchair-accessible tree house will sprout in east Medford this summer at the corner of McAndrews Road and Chablis Terrace.

Bisected by Lazy Creek, the rolling hillside at 6001 McAndrews is covered in wildflowers and has sweeping views of the valley. Called Oregon Hills Park, it will be developed with almost $1 million in grants and local dollars.

The city is poised to select the low bidder for the project in the next two weeks, and construction could start in the next month.

Surrounded by houses, the park will be a plus for residents and a boost for developers who want to build on adjacent lots.

"It's going to be a big advantage for all the people above the park," said Joe Suste, a local broker who was sizing up some nearby lots this week. "It's going to be a nice feature for all the residents of Vista Pointe."

Young children will have a "climbing bear" feature, while older children and adults can climb over a massive 10-foot-tall-by-8-foot-wide boulder that will be hoisted into place. It also will include a water feature that will make it easier for children to build sand castles in a play area.

Pete Young, a planner with Medford Parks and Recreation, said the park will use native plants to minimize water usage.

"It's a very sustainable park design," he said.

Most of the trees and vegetation along Lazy Creek already are native plants, he said. Other trees will be planted in the meadow areas.

Solar panels will be used to help provide electricity for the restrooms," he said.

Recycled materials will be a notable feature in the design.

The wheelchair-accessible tree house will use lumber milled from a Port Orford cedar that died in Hawthorne Park. A redwood log has been salvaged to provide the base for the tree house, he said.

Most of the work will take place during the summer. By fall, when the weather turns cooler, trees and other native species will be planted.

The first phase of work will be concentrated primarily in the northern portion of the park. Over the next three years, other phases will incorporate bridges and a basketball court into the design.

The project is funded by $376,500 in grants through the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and $600,000 from Medford Parks and Recreation.

The city maintains 2,552 acres of parks, natural areas and greenways.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email

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