Interagency office opens doors to public

An open house will be held Thursday afternoon at the Medford interagency office that the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management now call home.

The event will be held from 3-6 p.m. at 3040 Biddle Road, Medford.

The headquarters staff of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest moved into the building in June. The 51,000-square-foot structure, which was expanded by more than 7,000 square feet to accommodate the forest staff, previously was used only by the BLM's Medford District personnel.

The move was an effort to save money while providing one-stop-shopping for the public to contact either agency. Although the agencies are now housed together locally, they remain separate entities.

During Thursday's event, an award plaque will be presented to former U.S. Congressman Bob Smith for his work in developing and sponsoring legislation that allowed for the two agencies to be housed in one facility.

The legislation allowed the Secretary of Agriculture to sell its McAndrews Service Center and use the proceeds to expand the Biddle Road building to accommodate the forest staff.

"We have planned this event to celebrate the two agencies working together," explained Tim Reuwsaat, the BLM's district manager. "We also want to continue to build on our relationship with the community. During the open house, the people will have a chance to talk with employees."

"What we are finding is that being located together as two federal agencies under the same roof, there is a spirit of cooperation to improve public service with a combined visitor front office, which provides one-stop shopping for the public to answer questions, purchase maps or obtain permits," added Scott Conroy, forest supervisor.

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