Wedge belongs to city

Who owns the wedge of property just north of the new South Medford High School? It lies between the school and what used to be Cunningham Street. Are there any plans to develop it?

— No name, by e-mail

First of all, No Name, we're pretty sure there are extra names available if you want one. But, as to your question, that property is still owned by the Medford School District, at least for a few more weeks.

According to Bill Hoke, deputy city manager, the pie-shaped piece of property will soon be city-owned, as part of a deal the school district struck when it decided to build the new South Medford High School. That piece of property is expected to be deeded over to the city of Medford sometime in January in exchange for wetland mitigation rights on city-owned property in the Whetstone Industrial Park, not far from the Amy's Kitchen plant in White City.

In order to build the school, the district had to cover over some existing wetlands. The law allows you to do that, if you take steps to create and preserve wetlands elsewhere. So the school swapped the property near Cunningham Street for the wetland mitigation rights to the city's property in Whetstone.

There's a benefit in this for the city, as well. The piece of property is being considered as a site for a south Medford fire station, when the day comes for a new station. The city's closest fire station to that area is an antiquated station at Eighth and Lincoln, which the city would like to close and replace with a downtown site and a south Medford location.

And, just to put a topping on the deal, the school district may be able to use the wetlands in its curriculum, to allow students to see how wetlands serve as a natural water filter and to observe the flora and fauna of the site.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to

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