Local News

BCC Approves Adoption of Ordinance for New Home Wildfire Safety Standards
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners has unanimously approved the adoption of an amendment to the Rural Land Development Code pertaining to wildfire and emergency safety standards for new homes on forested properties. Following a public hearing this morning, the Board voted 3-0 to approve the second reading and adopt the ordinance that amends the development code criteria for the permitting of new dwellings in forest commercial and woodlot zones. Assistant Legal Counsel Stephanie Nuttall testified that the first reading of the ordinance was held February 14th after being continued from the January 31st meeting. She said the amendment changes language in the existing ordinance, dropping the requirement for developers of forested properties to obtain additional fire protection before a permit can be issued. Redundant language was eliminated. Board Vice-Chair Herman Baertschiger said the only state requirement for new homes on forested land is that there is fire protection. He added that the Oregon Department of Forestry charges an annual fee for fire protection on those lands and that satisfies the requirement. The changes do not prevent a rural property owner from acquiring fire protection from an existing district or private provider.
Posted on 2/28/24 11:38AM by Sam Marsh

OSP Captured California Fugitive after Interstate 5 Traffic Stop in Grants Pass
The Oregon State Police apprehended a fugitive wanted by authorities in California after a traffic stop on Interstate 5 in Grants Pass early yesterday. OSP reports troopers pulled over a Dodge Durango driven by 21-year-old Emilio Salvador Macias in the southbound lanes of I-5 near milepost 55 on Tuesday at 9:24 a.m.. Troopers said they stopped Macias for traffic violations and they quickly learned that he had a felony warrant for his arrest out of California. The charges in the warrant were not disclosed by OSP. Emilio Macias was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail where he awaits extradition proceedings that will send him back to California. He was also cited for the traffic violations and his vehicle was impounded.
Posted on 2/28/24 11:36AM by Sam Marsh

GP Office of OSP Jailed Salem Sex Offender Who Reported Seven Years Tardy
The Oregon State Police jailed a Salem man who came to the Grants Pass Office to register as a convicted sex offender -- around seven years too late. OSP reports 66-year-old Larry Dennis Staton reported to their local office in the 1400-block of NE 7th Street on Tuesday at 2:45 p.m.. State troopers said Staton told them he wanted to register as a sex offender and they discovered that he had not registered as such since 2017. He was immediately placed into custody. Larry Staton was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 2/28/24 11:35AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Nabbed Woman on Outstanding Warrant after US Highway 199 Stop
Grants Pass Police arrested a woman on an outstanding felony warrant last night after a traffic stop on Redwood Highway. The Police Department reports officers pulled over a vehicle driven by 28-year-old Brittanie Marie Fazzone on US Highway 199 near Allen Creek Road on Tuesday around 8:40 p.m.. Police said they stopped Fazzone after spotting her making an illegal U-turn on the highway. That's when they discovered that she was wanted on a Jackson County felony warrant for failing to appear in court for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. She also had no driver's license or automobile insurance. Brittanie Fazzone was cited to appear in court on the warrant and then released. She was also cited for the traffic violations. Her vehicle was parked and secured.
Posted on 2/28/24 11:33AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Arrested Man for Stealing Items from Walmart and Fleeing on Bike
Grants Pass Police snared a man for stealing merchandise from Walmart yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a shoplifting complaint at the big box retailer on NE Terry Lane on Tuesday at about 10:40 a.m.. Police said 43-year-old Nathan K. Mitson stole less than $100 worth of items from Walmart and fled from loss prevention on a bicycle. They said he was eventually located and detained on NE Spalding Avenue by the old lumber mill. Mitson reportedly admitted to the heist and was charged with 3rd-Degree Theft. He was cited to appear in court and then released after being trespassed from Walmart.
Posted on 2/28/24 11:32AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Arrested Motorist for Impaired Driving after Traffic Stop in Downtown GP
The Oregon State Police arrested a motorist for impaired driving last night during a traffic stop in the downtown area. According to OSP, troopers pulled over a Chevrolet Silverado driven by 63-year-old George Alan Marconi near the corner of SE 7th Street and Voorhies Way on Tuesday at 10:42 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped Marconi for a traffic violation and he appeared to be impaired. They said he refused to participate in field sobriety tests, so he was taken to the Grants Pass Sobering Center where he provided a breath sample that was more than twice the legal driving limit. George Marconi was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. He was cited to appear in court and released, but his pickup was impounded.
Posted on 2/28/24 11:31AM by Sam Marsh
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Motorist Cited for Causing Tuesday Wreck on Williams Highway near Provolt
No one was injured, but a motorist was cited for causing a wreck on Williams Highway in the Provolt area yesterday. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency crews responded to a two-vehicle collision near milepost 12 of Highway 238 on Tuesday at 12:04 p.m.. Troopers did not provide any details about the incident, but they identified the involved parties as 24-year-old Suellyn Louise Nelson who was driving a Kia Rio and 71-year-old William Dar Benton who was driving a Dodge Wayfarer. According to OSP, no one was hurt and only the Kia was towed. Benton was able to drive his vehicle away. Nelson was identified as the at-fault driver and she was given a traffic citation for causing the crash.
Posted on 2/28/24 11:30AM by Sam Marsh
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Victim from White City Shooting Died Last Week, Suspect Charged with Murder
The victim from the January 28th shooting in White City died last week and the suspect has been charged with murder. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday identified the victim as 36-year-old Casey Ryan Helmka of Medford. His next of kin has been notified and their condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. On January 28th at 6:51 p.m., sheriff's deputies responded to a call for gunshots and someone calling for help in the area of 29th and Falcon streets. The suspect -- 27-year-old Hector Cruz Orozco of White City -- was no longer on scene. An initial investigation showed Orozco and the victim were at a mobile home in the 3700-block of Falcon Street, the two exited the residence and Orozco shot the victim at close range before fleeing on a bicycle. The next day, investigations led detectives to a house in the 7800-block of Laura Lane in White City where they served a search warrant with assistance from SWAT, K-9 and Crisis Negotiation teams. The suspect was placed into custody on Monday, January 29th, at 5:54 p.m.. Hector Orozco was originally charged with 2nd-Degree Attempted Murder, 1st-Degree Assault and two counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. A Jackson County grand jury upgraded the Attempted Murder and Assault charges to 2nd-Degree Murder during a February 22nd hearing. The Jackson County District Attorney's Office will prosecute the case, which remains under investigation.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:30AM by Sam Marsh
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Portland Area Teen Jailed for Causing Crash that Injured Woman in North GP
A Portland area teenager is in custody for causing a motor vehicle accident that injured another person in north Grants Pass this week. The Grants Pass Police Department reports officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to the two-vehicle head-on collision between a Jeep and small sedan in the 2100-block of NW Vine Street near Club Northwest late Monday night. Police identified the driver of the Jeep as 18-year-old Timothy Torrance Billings, but did not identify the other motorist. They said a 20-year-old female in the sedan was trapped underneath the dash board of the heavily damaged car. After she was extricated, she was transported by ambulance to Three Rivers Medical Center with hip pain and other unspecified injuries. According to the report, there was a noticeable odor of marijuana coming from Billings' vehicle and he showed noticeable indicators of impairment. He told officers he believed he was in Beaverton and was supposed to be picking up a friend from Tigard. He also stated that he was traveling at 75 miles per hour. Both vehicles sustained heavy front-end damage from the crash and were towed. Timothy Billings was cleared by medical staff at the hospital and then lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony 3rd-Degree Assault, Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substances, Reckless Driving and Reckless Endangering.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:28AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Jailed Selma Felon for Weapons after He Returned to Foreclosure
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a Selma man for a weapons crime after he trespassed on a foreclosed property near Lake Selmac this week. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies arrested 47-year-old Bohdan Hayes Robertson in the 500-block of Lakeshore Drive around midday Monday. Deputies said a real estate agent called 9-1-1 to report that Robertson had returned to the property after it was foreclosed upon and he had been legally evicted. They said the man broke back into the residence and was living there with his dogs. Upon arrival, deputies were able to get Robertson to exit the home through the window he broke to get inside. The rest of the windows and doors had been boarded up. He is a convicted felon who was found to be in possession of a gun. Bohdan Robertson was placed into custody and transported to the Josephine County Jail where he was lodged for Felon in Possession of a Firearm and 1st-Degree Criminal Trespass. The gun was seized as evidence while the dogs were picked up by Animal Control and taken to the Animal Shelter.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:19AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Jailed CJ Man for Weapons Violations & Warrant after Selma Traffic Stop
The Oregon State Police jailed a Cave Junction man for weapons violations and an outstanding warrant following a traffic stop on Redwood Highway in Selma. OSP reports troopers pulled over a Toyota Avalon driven by 37-year-old Edward Thomas Burke, III, near milepost 20 of US Highway 199 on Monday afternoon. Troopers said they stopped Burke for traffic violations and discovered that he was wanted on a local bench warrant for failing to appear in court. During contact with the man, officers developed probable cause that there was a firearm in the vehicle and that he was a convicted felon. According to OSP, a loaded firearm and ammunition were located in the vehicle. They were seized as evidence and Burke was placed into custody. Edward Burke was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant along with charges of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Felon in Possession of a Weapon. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:17AM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County Jail Inmate Served with Eagle Point Police Felony Warrant
A Josephine County Jail inmate already being held for serious criminal allegations is facing even more after he was served with a warrant early yesterday. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies served 31-year-old Chance Vaughn-Edward Kersten with a warrant issued by the Eagle Point Police Department on Tuesday at 12:35 a.m.. Deputies said the Eagle Point warrant charged Kersten with failing to appear in court for Felony Identity Theft. The latest charge seems quite familiar. Chance Kersten was already in custody for local crimes of Felony Aggravated Identity Theft, Felony Identity Theft, Felony 1st-Degree Theft and Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle. He remains in custody without any scheduled bail.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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