Methadone clinic critics file appeal with LUBA

A children's medical clinic and the owners of an apartment complex have joined forces to challenge the city of Medford's approval of a methadone clinic at 777 Murphy Road.

The Land Use Board of Appeals is considering an assertion by Southern Oregon Pediatrics and Mariposa Townhomes that the city should have conducted a public process before approving the methadone clinic.

The clinic, known as Allied Health Services, which serves 500 clients a day, was forced to move last summer from its previous location on East Main Street because it was located too close to a day care center.

CRC Health Oregon Inc., the clinic's owner, recently filed a rebuttal to the appeal that acknowledged there may have been some omissions in record-keeping but asserting the approval by the city followed the law.

Michael Gelardi, CRC's attorney with Davis, Wright Tremaine LLP of Portland, said the city approved the clinic based on the zoning of the property, which is C-S/P, or Commercial, Service and Professional Office.

"Given that Allied's clinic is a health services facility and is not a hospital, it was appropriate for the city to conclude that Allied's clinic is an outright permitted use in the zone," Gelardi stated.

Sydnee Dreyer, attorney for the pediatric clinic and townhouses, stated in a brief filed recently with LUBA that the city made no determination that a methadone clinic was suitable for the adjacent residential neighborhood.

She cited Medford code, which states, "Development in this zone is expected to be suitable for locations adjacent to residential neighborhoods."

The pediatric clinic and Mariposa Townhomes contend the city made no effort to determine whether the methadone clinic was compatible with surrounding land uses.

"Though not expressly prohibited, locating the clinic adjacent to businesses that house and serve children is not suitable," the pediatric clinic and owners of the townhouses contend.

They have asked LUBA to send the issue back to Medford and insist the city hold a hearing to take additional evidence on the impacts of the methadone clinic.

The methadone clinic has faced stiff opposition over the past couple of years.

The city demanded the clinic cease operations last year on East Main Street, but the clinic couldn't move fast enough for the city because of the difficulty in finding a new location.

Allied Health Services spent $270,000 on improvements at its new 8,832-square-foot building.

The new location is near other medical-related businesses, including Southern Oregon Pediatrics across the street and Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. The site is about one block south of Barnett Road, on the east side of Murphy Road.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow him on Twitter at @reporterdm.

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