Rogue Valley nonprofit plans to sue city of Medford and police for alleged misconduct, harassment

By Justin Higginbottom (Jefferson Public Radio)
Jan. 30, 2024 5:52 p.m.
The Stabbin' Wagon offers free harm reduction supplies at a meetup in Medford on Jan. 27, 2024.

The Stabbin' Wagon offers free harm reduction supplies at a meetup in Medford on Jan. 27, 2024.

Justin Higginbottom / JPR

On Saturday the organization Stabbin’ Wagon filed the first step in a potential lawsuit against the city of Medford. The group’s tort claim notice alleges harassment and constitutional rights violations among other charges.

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“Our mission at Stabbin’ Wagon is to serve the most vulnerable members of our community. The continuous and targeted harassment by Medford police not only undermines our work but also instills fear in those we aim to help,” said Melissa Jones, executive director of Stabbin’ Wagon.

Kristina Wilson, communications manager with the city of Medford, said their office disagrees with the characterization of events described by the group.

Stabbin’ Wagon operates a van that provides harm reduction supplies to drug users including the overdose medicine naloxone and clean syringes. They received funding from Measure 110 for their work.

According to the tort notice, the group claims the city hired an analyst to illegally monitor their activity and pushed their lobbyist to fight against the award of a $1.5 million grant by the Oregon Health Authority they received last summer.

Police arrested Stabbin’ Wagon employees in August for interfering with officers at a free HIV testing event and several years earlier for trespassing in a city park while providing assistance to the homeless.

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THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR:
THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR:

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