Some Hillcrest Road residents want to keep off

-road vehicles from driving on Prescott Park, private property
Bob Roe is afraid for his east Medford home and adjacent land.

One nasty fire and we lose Prescott Park and a lot of houses, said the president of the Eagle Trace Homeowners Association.

That's why Roe, and many residents near Hillcrest Road and Cherry Lane, are soliciting the city's help in keeping off-road vehicles from illegally driving on the area's grassy, oak savanna hillside.

The association and the city are considering jointly purchasing about &

36;10,000 worth of barricades for several locations near Hillcrest Road because people riding motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and four-wheel-drives have been bypassing existing barricades to access vacant private property and Prescott Park.

The barricades, either cement or cable, would be installed at the end of Cherry Lane, Highcrest Drive, Satellite Drive, Devonshire Place and along Stardust Way and would be more extensive than existing blocks at the dead-ends.

Roe said he's been battling this issue for a couple of years.

To assess the problem, police did an eight-night stakeout at the park in June 2000 and issued 275 citations, said Rob Havice of Medford police.

Most of those were for people driving off-road vehicles, he said, and there were about a dozen felony arrests for things like possession of amphetamines.

Erosion from tire ruts, habitat damage, vandalism to structures and grass fires started from catalytic converters are among the hazards officers are seeing, he said.

Havice said police have increased patrols at the 1,740-acre park. The patrols have helped, but officers want to do more.

We're working toward having a caretaker's cabin and having someone up there full time, he said.

Roe likes that idea.

This is a constant thing, said Roe, 67, who lives on Eagle Trace Drive. This is daily.

Prescott is a wildland park with a four-mile gravel loop road for bicyclists, hikers and horseback riders. The park encompasses 3,571-foot Roxy Ann Peak and land north and east of the butte. Access is via Roxy Ann Road, which is off Hillcrest Road just past Cherry Lane.

The lower gate closes at 8 p.m. and the upper gate remains closed to car traffic all the time, said Havice.

Glenda Owens, assistant to the city manager, said it appears that some of the violators live in the same neighborhood because no one has reported people pulling up trailers and unloading ATVs.

There's a lot of vandalism, she said, including large holes dug from people illegally mining for quartz.

And when a city employee returned after two hours to check the cement around a newly installed No Trespassing sign, he found it had been stolen, Owens said.

It's hard to regulate people, said Owens.

Havice said trespassers face a minimum &

36;75 fine, which quickly grows to thousands of dollars for any damage to the land and firefighter cost.

Councilman Bob Strosser said he does not want to go through another fire season without stepping in and doing something.

It's now time for us (the council) to discuss this in public, he said.

The council is scheduled to discuss the barricades on April — at its noon meeting, Council Chambers, City Hall, 411 W. Eighth St., Medford.

Those who witness unauthorized vehicles in the area can call the Medford Police Department, 770-4783.

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