Medford, Oregon

With 75,000 people in the city proper and well over 200,000 in its metro area, Medford and its surrounding communities make up the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Oregon. Located in the south of Oregon, close to the state’s border with California, Medford is also the seat of Jackson County. Founded in the 1880s by railroad engineers, the city’s name is said to be both a homage to Medford, Massachusetts (hometown of one the city’s founders) and a play on the words “middle ford” – referring to a crossing point along Bear Creek.

Traditionally an agricultural area, modern Medford is the economic center for much of Oregon’s south as well as for adjacent parts of northern California. The city’s agricultural heritage is highlighted by its largest present-day employer: Harry and David’s, an online retailer specializing in fruit and other food gift packages. The company was founded in the Medford area over a century ago. Medford also plays a major role in Oregon’s growing wine industry, serving as the base for many companies raising grapes and making wine in the surrounding rural areas.

As the seat of Jackson County, Medford is also the headquarters of Oregon’s 1st Judicial District. All types of legal matters effecting the county and its residents are handled through the Jackson County Circuit Court at 100 South Oakdale in Medford. A diverse economy such as Medford’s presents residents with an equally diverse group of legal challenges.

When we examine recent data concerning workplace accidents in Oregon we see the following in terms of Medford’s major industries:

Nonfatal occupational illness and injury rates for 2010 (source: Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Affairs):

  • Crop Production (20,900 employees statewide) 6.5 incidents per 1000 workers
  • Fruit and tree nut farming (6,600 employees) 4.1 incidents per 1000 workers
  • Specialty food manufacturing (9,600 employees) 6.4 incidents per 1000 workers

As these figures illustrate, Oregon’s agricultural workers live with a significant risk of a workplace accident. While many people think of on-the-job accidents in terms of workman’s comp, it is actually more useful to take the broader view offered by Oregon’s employment liability laws. Oregon industrial accidents occur when responsibility for a workplace accident can be traced to improperly built or maintained equipment, or equipment for which the operators were not given proper training and supervision. Clearly, the scope for such accidents in the agricultural and specialty foods sectors is significant.

Portland-based attorney Matthew Kaplan addresses these and many other legal necessities for residents of Medford and its surrounding communities. His office at 50 SW Pine St #302, in downtown Portland is the place to turn if you are unsure of what help the law can offer in the aftermath of an agricultural, industrial or Oregon trucking accident. Call (503) 226-3844 for an appointment.

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