Council may ax chicken law

Sick of the chicken puns, the Medford City Council appears poised to eat a little crow and overturn an ordinance they previously approved that would have limited poultry to six fowl per backyard.

“I think we knee-jerked this thing,” Councilor Tim D’Alessandro said. “I want to go back to the way it was.”

Under the ordinance that would take effect July 1, 2018, backyard chickens, ducks, geese and swans will be limited to six per yard within Medford city limits.

The new law would prohibit roosters, requires poultry be kept in fenced areas and that coops be maintained in a clean condition. Keeping ostriches, emus, peacocks and turkeys is prohibited under the law.

The council will make a formal decision in the near future on whether to reject the ordinance and go back to dealing with chickens on a complaint basis through code enforcement.

D’Alessandro said the council based its decision to approve the ordinance last year on a single complaint.

The single complaint involved a woman who had issues with a neighboring property owner on Cherry Lane in east Medford.

Regina Davis has previously told the council that most of her neighbors are just fine with her 15 chickens on her two-acre property, but one neighbor has complained often about her coops.

Other residents told the council that six chickens don’t provide enough eggs for their growing families. Many chicken owners said they supply eggs to their neighbors as well.

Councilor Kim Wallan said she’s tired of the chicken puns and tired of all the time the council has devoted to this issue.

“Let’s go back to the way it was, but with no roosters,” she said.

Councilor Tim Jackle signaled that he didn’t want to abandon the ordinance. Jackle and Councilor Kay Brooks previously provided the two votes against delaying enforcing the ordinance when the issue came up last December.

The council first adopted the ordinance Oct. 5, 2017, but about 50 poultry keepers and proponents of backyard chickens pleaded with the council to reconsider.

On Dec. 20, 2017, the council first moved to pass the ordinance extending enforcement to July 1.

Councilor Kevin Stine said he would support getting rid of the ordinance.

“I don’t care about chickens,” he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow him on

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