Local News

Police Snared Man for Harassing Restaurant Workers & Struggling with Officers
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for coming up short in paying his dinner bill at a downtown restaurant, harassing restaurant employees and struggling with officers. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a theft complaint at Thai BBQ on SW 6th Street on Friday around 7:50 p.m.. Police said 63-year-old David Leo Alexander failed to pay a $4 balance on his dinner at the restaurant and when he was asked to leave, he tried to take a rice container. They said the restaurant owner contacted him and the suspect slapped the rice container to the ground while hitting the owner's arm. Upon arrival, police contacted Alexander, he became verbally aggressive with officers and tried to pull away while being placed in handcuffs. David Alexander was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 3rd-Degree Theft, Harassment and Resisting Arrest. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 9/4/23 6:30AM by Sam Marsh

City of GP Reports Artists & Vendors Signed Up for 2023 Art Along the Rogue
The Grants Pass Economic Development Department has announced that the 2023 Art Along the Rogue Festival now has 40 artists and 40 vendors signed up. Art Along the Rogue is set for Friday, October 6th, through Sunday, October 8th, in downtown Grants Pass. The City of Grants Pass is working with community partners like Evergreen Federal Bank, Dutch Bros, Hellgate Excursions and Project Youth+ to help make this year's 20th anniversary community event a success. In partnership with Visit Grants Pass, the City has produced a 60-second radio advertisement that will reach Douglas, Lane and Benton counties to expand the event to visitors from throughout Oregon. For more information on this upcoming community event, go to: "visitgrantspass.com/art-along-the-rogue."
Posted on 9/4/23 6:01AM by Sam Marsh

Residents of O'Brien Area Return Home after Wildfire Evacuation Lowered to Level 2
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Residents in the O'Brien area have been allowed to return home after the Josephine County Sheriff's Office reduced their evacuation status from Level 3 "Go Now" to Level 2 "Be Set" over the weekend. The Level 2 area related to the Smith River Complex now includes the O'Brien and Takilma areas and the US Highway 199 corridor into California. The Level 1 "Be Ready" notice remains in place for the Illinois Valley south of Cave Junction. Northwest Incident Management Team 13 reported this morning that the Smith River Complex had grown to 84,908 acres with 19% containment. Just over 10,000 acres of the complex that started in California on August 15th was in southwest Oregon. Total personnel assigned to the incident today is 2,642. Fire resources have been working steadily to construct, improve, tactically fire and then mop up several miles of containment lines to make the evacuation reduction possible. The edge of the fire from the Blue Creek drainage southwest of Gilligan Peak north to Forest Road 461 and then west along the 461 road has been declared "contained." This means managers are confident the lines are secure. Resources from the Oregon State Fire Marshal demobilized and have returned to their home agencies. Task forces from Benton, Klamath, Lane, Marion and Polk counties had responded to help protect structures in the southern Illinois Valley.
Posted on 9/4/23 5:59AM by Sam Marsh

CHP & Caltrans Reopen US Highway 199 to All Traffic after Smith River Complex Closure
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The California Highway Patrol has reopened US Highway 199 to all traffic between Southern Oregon and the coast, but there will be pilot vehicles escorting travelers in one section. On Saturday, CHP -- in collaboration with the California Department of Transportation, Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Transportation, Del Norte County Sheriff's Office and Josephine County Sheriff's Office -- fully reopened Highway 199 to all traffic. CHP and Caltrans will continue to pilot southbound traffic from Oregon Mountain Road South to Patrick's Creek and northbound traffic from Patrick's Creek to Oregon Mountain Road South. Drivers should be patient and expect delays. Motorists are urged to drive slowly and with caution as fire personnel, Caltrans and construction crews remain actively working on the fires and highway repairs. This work is expected to continue for at least the next several weeks if not months. CHP and Caltrans will continue to monitor the highway to ensure it remains safe for travel to the motoring public. Officials said the Smith River Complex is still active and very unpredictable, so please be prepared for the possibility of future closures.
Posted on 9/4/23 5:56AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police and Firefighters Ramped Up Service Levels as Local Schools Reopened
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Grants Pass police officers and firefighters ramped up service levels last week as local students returned to school. According to the Weekly Report filed by Grants Pass City Manager Aaron Cubic, police officers responded to a total of 670 calls for service along with 393 officer-initiated calls last week which resulted in 55 arrests, 46 citations, 85 warnings and seven highly-intoxicated people being lodged at the Sobering Center. Cubic also reported that officers conducted a total of 58 traffic stops in the city, many of them in school zones where patrols were increased for the start of classes. Grants Pass Fire & Rescue responded to a total of 106 calls last week including 31 for emergency medical service, five reports of fire or smoke, eight lift assists, 29 rescue situations, four assists to other agencies and six false alarms. Firefighters also performed 30 business inspections, led two education programs, assisted the public six times and properly installed four child car seats.
Posted on 9/4/23 5:54AM by Sam Marsh
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JMET Jailed 4 People in Raids on 6 Illegal Cannabis Grow Sites in GP and CJ
The Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) arrested four people while taking down six illegal cannabis growing operations in the Grants Pass and Cave Junction areas this week. Between Tuesday and Thursday, JMET served search warrants in the 3,000-block of Walnut Avenue, 600-block of Naue Way, 400- and 600-blocks of San Francisco Street, 300-block of Mary Harris Way and 100-block of Barron Circle. During execution of the warrants, more than 5,700 marijuana plants and over 1,000 pounds of processed marijuana were seized and destroyed. In addition, 14 firearms and over $50,000 in cash were seized collectively from all the properties. All the grow sites had multiple water and/or solid waste violations that could result in the criminal forfeiture of the properties. One of the marijuana grows was found to be using human feces from the property's septic tank to fertilize the plants. According to JMET, 55-year-old Sou Chio Saechao and 56-year-old Mey Chong Saephan were lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Manufacture and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana.
Posted on 9/2/23 5:43AM by Chuck Benson
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California Highway Patrol Reopens Highway 199 to Commercial Traffic Only
Following a lengthy closure due to the Smith River Complex, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has reopened US Highway 199 to commercial vehicles. CHP, California Department of Transportation, Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Transportation in collaboration with the Smith River Complex management teams agreed to a limited reopening of the highway to commercial vehicles only. The limited reopening started at 4 a.m. Friday. For now, US Highway 199 traffic is to include commercial vehicles transporting property for the exchange of goods and services between businesses. Southbound traffic is being screened by ODOT at the closure in O'Brien and it will be piloted from Oregon Mountain Road south to Patrick's Creek. Northbound traffic is being screened by CalTrans at the Pioneer Road closure near Gasquet and it will be piloted from Pioneer Road to Oregon Mountain Road. This will be a 24/7 service provided until the complete reopening of US Highway 199.

Commercial drivers are urged to be aware that fire personnel, transportation and construction crews remain actively working on the fires and highway repairs, so drive slowly and with caution.
Posted on 9/2/23 5:42AM by Chuck Benson
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Jackson County Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Possessing Gun & Meth
A Jackson County man was sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison this week after he violated terms of his supervised release by possessing a firearm and methamphetamine. According to the US Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon, 41-year-old James Charles Danis of Phoenix will spend the next 188 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. Court documents show that on March 20, 2020 -- while under an active arrest warrant for violating the terms of his post-prison supervision -- Danis was spotted by a deputy US Marshal leaving a motel in Medford. The US Marshal's Service contacted the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) team to assist with an arrest. When the deputy and the assisting officers confronted Danis, he fled in a vehicle and led officers from the Medford and Central Point police departments on a pursuit through both cities. Despite multiple attempts to stop the suspect, the chase ended when he crashed through a fence into the backyard of a local residence. He continued trying to drive his vehicle away from the scene until officers removed him from it and placed him under arrest.
Posted on 9/2/23 5:40AM by Chuck Benson
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Authorities Cited & Warned GP Woman after Her Dogs Mortally Wounded Deer
Authorities cited and warned a Grants Pass woman this week after her dogs got loose and mortally wounded a young deer. Game officers from the Oregon State Police were contacted by Josephine County Animal Control about dogs running at large and the taking of a deer in the 300-block of Ausland Drive on Thursday morning. According to OSP, Animal Control officers contacted 26-year-old Isabella Rose DeVincentis at the residence. She was cited for two counts of K9 as a Public Nuisance because her dogs trespassed on private property. She was also cited for three counts of No K9 Licensing. At the request of OSP, DeVincentis was also warned for K9 Harassing Wildlife.
Posted on 9/2/23 5:39AM by Chuck Benson
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Sheriff Announces Rogue River Closures for Labor Day Weekend Boat Races
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office has announced that a section of the Rogue River will be closed this weekend during the Labor Day hydroplane races. The Rogue River will be closed in designated areas and during designated times. Today, the Rogue will be closed between Finley Bend and Ferry Hole from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.. On Sunday, the river will be closed between Baker Park and Griffin Park from noon to 3 p.m.. All spectators must remain 50 feet from the waterway until the races end. Movement on the water during the closures is restricted to law enforcement, rescue personnel and authorized race officials. For safety purposes, private boats are not allowed to assist with crashes or rescue operations.Boats can be anchored on the shoreline if it is deemed safe by race officials and law enforcement. All users should be off the water and in an approved area one hour prior to the start of the race.
Posted on 9/2/23 5:38AM by Chuck Benson
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Grants Pass Follows ODF Southwest in Reducing City Fire Danger Level to High
The City of Grants Pass has followed the Oregon Department of Forestry by reducing the fire danger level from "extreme" to "high." ODF Southwest dropped the fire danger level in Josephine and Jackson counties to "high" and lowered the Industrial Fire Precaution Level to "2" on Friday. Cooler weather and rainfall have improved conditions, allowing Grants Pass Fire Marshal Joe Hyatt to lower the city fire danger as well. While conditions have improved, Hyatt said it's important to remember summer is not over and we must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent fire. The primary change to fire prevention regulations is to move the shutdown time for power-driven machinery to 10 a.m.. This includes the use of chain saws, mowing and cutting of dry grass, and the cutting, grinding and welding of metal. Open wood-fueled fires are still prohibited including campfires, cooking fires and warming fires -- except at locations designated by the Grants Pass Fire Marshal. Wood smokers, charcoal barbecues as well as propane- and natural gas-fueled ornamental fires are allowed.
Posted on 9/2/23 5:36AM by Chuck Benson
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Portland Loo Public Restroom Installation in Beaver Parking Lot Starts Tuesday
The City of Grants Pass has announced that it will be installing a second public restroom in the downtown area next week. A Portland Loo restroom is now open in the Osprey Parking Lot at the intersection of 5th & H streets and a second restroom is coming to the Beaver Parking Lot on the southwest corner of 7th & G streets. The installation of the second Portland Loo will begin on Tuesday, September 5th. The Beaver Parking Lot will remain open, but parking spaces along the 7th Street side will be restricted. There will be a limited shutdown for a minimal time one morning when the lot will be closed for a couple of hours.
Posted on 9/2/23 5:35AM by Chuck Benson
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