Local News

Commission Approved Ordinance Amending Land Development Code in Split Decision
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In a split decision on Wednesday, the Josephine County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance that amends the Rural Land Development Code concerning farm and forest zoning. Following a public hearing on the second reading of the ordinance, the Board voted 2-1 to make the necessary changes to exclusive farm use, farm resource, forest commercial and woodlot resource zones. Commission Vice Chair John West cast the dissenting vote. James Black of the Planning Department testified that the ordinance is in response to statutory changes required by the Oregon Legislature and that local development codes concerning farm and forest zones had not been updated since 2005. He said changes to farm zones include agri-tourism while changes to forest zones include new rules on the building and replacement of residential structures. Commission Chair Herman Baertschiger said he voted against the changes when he was a member of the Oregon Senate, but he was voting to approve them at the county level due to the state mandate. He said Oregon is one of a few states that has statewide planning, which he argued is the root of many housing problems.
Posted on 10/12/23 6:08AM by Sam Marsh
 

US Forest Service Lifts All Emergency Closures Related to Smith River Complex North
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The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has terminated all emergency area and road closures associated with northern end of the Smith River Complex. Effective Wednesday, Acting Forest Supervisor Jake Winn lifted the closures that had been put in place when the wildfire complex was still active and threatening the southern Illinois Valley. The closure included a portion of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest on the Wild Rivers Ranger District that lies north of the Oregon/California State boundary and is bounded by the Illinois River on the east, the California border on the south, the North Fork of the Smith River on the west and Buckskin Peak on the North. The area closure also included a portion of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest that lies south of the Oregon/California state boundary. Forest officials said the wildfire threat is now over and there are no more evacuation orders or notices in effect for the communities of O'Brien and Takilma. At one time, both were under Level 3 "Go Now" and Level 2 "Be Ready" notices. The latest report showed the Smith River Complex was holding at 94,620 acres with 95% containment.
Posted on 10/12/23 6:01AM by Sam Marsh
 

Heart of the Rogue Festival Named One of 6 Best in the Western US by Sunset Magazine
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If you're looking for adventure and exploration, perhaps Medford should be your next travel destination. Medford's annual Heart of the Rogue festival was given a top honor in the 2023 Sunset Magazine travel awards. It was singled out as one of six best "Adventures and Explorations" in the western United States. The festival "showcases local artists, musicians, businesses, wineries, breweries, and even features a Bikes N Brews ride as well as a Boston Qualifying marathon," according to a Travel Medford news release. This year's festival falls on this Friday and Saturday, the same weekend that an annular solar eclipse will be visible in southern Oregon. Nearby Klamath Falls will also host a festival this weekend, Eclipse Fest 2023. Oregon dominated the Sunset Magazine Travel Awards' "Adventures and Explorations" category this year. Three of the six honorees in the category were Oregon experiences.
Posted on 10/12/23 5:56AM by Sam Marsh
 

Board Approves Ordinance Amending Land Development Code in Split Decision
In a split decision this morning, the Josephine County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance that amends the Rural Land Development Code concerning farm and forest zoning. Following a public hearing on the second reading of the ordinance, the Board voted 2-1 to make the necessary changes to exclusive farm use, farm resource, forest commercial and woodlot resource zones. Commission Vice Chair John West cast the dissenting vote. Commission Vice Chair John West cast the dissenting vote. James Black of the Planning Department testified that the ordinance is in response to statutory changes required by the Oregon Legislature and that local development codes concerning farm and forest zones had not been updated since 2005. He said changes to farm zones include agri-tourism while changes to forest zones include new rules on the building and replacement of residential structures. Commission Chair Herman Baertschiger said he voted against the changes when he was a member of the Oregon Senate, but he was voting to approve them at the county level due to the state mandate. He said Oregon is one of a few states that has statewide planning, which he argued is the root of many housing problems. In other business, the Board unanimously approved two requests for annexation into the Josephine Community Library District. The addition of 1.8 acres on Lone Mountain Road in O'Brien and 5.01 acres on Turner Road in Cave Junction to the local library district came by petition of the landowners.
Posted on 10/11/23 11:47AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Collared Douglas County Woman on Warrant after Interstate 5 Crash in GP
The Oregon State Police arrested a Douglas County woman on an outstanding warrant after she crashed her vehicle on Interstate 5 in Grants Pass this week. According to OSP, troopers and emergency crews responded to the single-vehicle rollover wreck in the northbound lanes of I-5 near milepost 55 Monday afternoon. Troopers said evidence at the scene and witness statements indicated 35-year-old Sarah Dawn Rutan of Myrtle Creek was driving a Chevrolet Blazer and lost control while attempting to enter the freeway due to wet and rainy conditions. They said she left the roadway and rolled into the grassy shoulder. She was not injured, but her damaged vehicle was towed into town. During a routine records check, troopers discovered that Rutan had an active warrant for her arrest out of Douglas County. Sarah Rutan was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant and cited to appear in court for Driving While Suspended.
Posted on 10/11/23 11:46AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Snared Motorist for DUII after Freeway & Parkway Traffic Complaints
Grants Pass Police arrested a motorist for impaired driving this week after officers received multiple citizen complaints on Interstate 5 and the Parkway. The Police Department reports officers eventually pulled over a Toyota Tundra driven by 40-year-old Jesse Maddox Taylor in the Dairy Queen parking lot off Redwood Highway near Ringuette Street on Monday around 4 p.m.. Police said Taylor was called in by several motorists for failing to maintain his travel lane on I-5 before he entered Grants Pass. Upon contact with him, they said he displayed signs of impairment and his driving privileges had been suspended. After performing poorly in field sobriety tests, Taylor provided a negative breath sample and refused to provide a urine sample used to detect narcotics. No drug recognition specialist was available and he was placed into custody. Jesse Taylor was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Driving While Suspended. His vehicle was towed to the impound yard.
Posted on 10/11/23 11:45AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Nabbed Motorists for Impaired Driving in Tuesday Incidents
Grants Pass Police arrested two motorists for impaired driving during separate incidents yesterday. According to the Police Department, the first incident occurred on Tuesday just after midnight when officers pulled over a Nissan Altima driven by 41-year-old Dustin Mark Kanott on SE 7th Street near Voorhies Way. Police said they stopped Kanott for observed traffic violations and he exhibited signs of impairment. They said he refused to participate in field sobriety tests, so a search warrant was obtained and he was transported to Three Rivers Medical Center for a legal blood draw that documented his impairment. The second incident happened on Tuesday around 8:15 p.m. when officers were alerted to a crash at the intersection of NW A and 5th streets near Grants Pass City Hall. Police said 33-year-old David Max Lamberg lost control of the car he was driving, refused to answer questions on what happened and showed numerous signs of impairment. He was not hurt, but a male passenger was injured from the impact. Lamberg refused to participate in sobriety tests and requested an attorney. After a search warrant was obtained and Lamberg was taken to the hospital for a legal blood draw, he was lodged in jail for DUII, Reckless Driving and Reckless Endangering.
Posted on 10/11/23 11:43AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Arrested Nude Woman for Causing Downtown Disturbance
Grants Pass Police arrested a woman for violating terms of her probation after she caused a disturbance in the downtown area yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers responded to reports of a naked female subject who was screaming and yelling while walking through the alley next to Gates Home Furnishings on Tuesday at 1:08 p.m.. Police said they contacted 41-year-old Gayle Lee Hooper who was naked and carrying her clothing in her arms. They said she had been warned for littering earlier in the day after she had removed items from a trash can and scattered them in the alley. It was unknown why she had removed her clothing. Hooper was lodged at the Josephine County for Disorderly Conduct, Offensive Littering and the resulting Probation Violation related to previous arrests for Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Menacing and Criminal Trespass. She was being held on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 10/11/23 11:41AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Arrested Man for Disturbing Peace & Disrupting Traffic
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for causing a disturbance and disrupting traffic in the north part of the city early yesterday. The Police Department reports officers were alerted to the antics of 38-year-old Matthew Richard Williams by an employee of Mini Pet Mart at the corner of NW 6th Street and Evelyn Avenue on Tuesday at about 8:30 a.m.. Police said they located Williams on the sidewalk on Evelyn Avenue near NE 7th Street a short time later. They said he was acting in a violent and tumultuous way, which was causing motorists to stop their vehicles due to his unruly behavior. Williams reportedly told officers he was irate over someone stealing his property. He was given ample time to be quiet, get out of the road and off the sidewalk, but he refused to do so. He was placed into custody without further incident. Williams was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Disorderly Conduct. His belongings -- including a tent -- were logged into safekeeping and his dog was given to an employee at Mini Pet Mart, from which he was trespassed.
Posted on 10/11/23 11:40AM by Sam Marsh
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District Attorney Deciding Whether to File Charges against Driver Who Fled OSP
The Josephine County District Attorney was deciding whether to file charges against a Grants Pass man who fled the scene of a motor vehicle accident on Redwood Highway near Selma this week. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency crews responded to the single-vehicle crash near milepost 23 of US Highway 199 on Monday at around 2:30 p.m.. Troopers said they attempted to stop a Ford Sport pickup for traffic violations when the truck crashed and the male driver fled the scene on foot. The driver was not apprehended, but information was gathered and the suspect was identified as 49-year-old Jayson Lou Sauer of Grants Pass. Charges of Felony and Misdemeanor Attempt to Elude Police as well as Reckless Driving against Sauer were referred to the DA's Office for consideration. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Sauer is encouraged to dial *OSP. According to OSP, the pickup was deemed a hazard and towed to Cave Junction.
Posted on 10/11/23 6:58AM by Sam Marsh
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Authorities Investigating Early Morning RV Fire on Holland Loop Road near CJ
Authorities were investigating the cause of an early morning fire that destroyed a recreational vehicle in the Illinois Valley. At 1:01 a.m. today, the Illinois Valley Fire District, Rural Metro Fire Department and the Oregon Department of Forestry were dispatched to a reported structure fire in the 5200-block of Holland Loop Road. Arriving units found a 24-foot travel trailer fully-involved in flames. Crews were able to confine the blaze to the RV, which was completely destroyed. A home on the property was saved and there were no injuries reported. After the fire was fully extinguished, the scene was mopped up. IVFD Chief John Holmes said an investigation was underway.
Posted on 10/11/23 6:52AM by Sam Marsh
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Multiple Agencies Responded to 2 Escaped Open Debris Burns Last Weekend
Firefighters from multiple agencies responded to two calls of open burns that could have turned disastrous last weekend. Rural Metro Fire Department reports the first incident occurred on Sunday in the 10,000-block of Monument Drive. Rural Metro and Oregon Department of Forestry crews were originally dispatched to a grass fire that turned out to be a large burn pile that was threatening to catch the residence on fire. The end result was melting of the exterior siding of the home. No spread to the wildland occurred. The second incident also happened Sunday in the 600-block of North Frontage Road in Wolf Creek. Rural Metro, ODF and the Wolf Creek Rural Fire Protection District responded to an open burn that escaped. Crews were able to hold the blaze to one-quarter acre of grass. Fire officials remind residents that fire season remains in effect and all outdoor debris burning remains prohibited until further notice. It was unclear in the report if any citations were issued for Sunday's incidents.
Posted on 10/11/23 6:51AM by Sam Marsh
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