Local News

Deputies Arrested Motorist for DUII after Traffic Complaint at Indian Mary Park
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office arrested a motorist for impaired driving last night after he was spotted driving recklessly at Indian Mary Park. According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to a traffic complaint at the county-owned park in the 7100-block of Galice Road around 8:20 p.m. Thursday. Deputies said three witnesses observed 43-year-old Aaron Mark Peterson driving recklessly in the park while intoxicated. They contacted him and he refused to participate in field sobriety tests or to provide a breath sample, so they obtained a search warrant and took him to Three Rivers Medical Center for a blood draw. Based on the results of the blood draw, Aaron Peterson was lodged at the adult jail facility for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Reckless Driving. Based on Peterson's defiance and uncooperative behavior, he was trespassed for one year from all Josephine County parks and his vehicle was impounded.
Posted on 8/25/23 11:33AM by Sam Marsh
 

Authorities Seek Public Assistance Finding Runaway Teen from Cave Junction
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The Josephine County Sheriff's Office is asking for public assistance in locating a Cave Junction teenager who ran away from home more than two weeks ago. The Sheriff's Office reports 17-year-old Braiden Wayne Walker left his home on Millie Street in Cave Junction on August 9th and has not returned. The reporting party stated they had phone contact with the boy on August 16th. Walker is described as a white male juvenile, 5-feet-10-inches tall and 145 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He is believed to be somewhere between Cave Junction and Crescent City, California -- or possibly in the Coos Bay area. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Braiden Walker is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office at (541)-474-5123. Please refer to Case #23-21786.
Posted on 8/25/23 10:30AM by Sam Marsh
 

OSP Investigating Officer-Involved Shooting at M Street Market Early Thursday
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The Oregon State Police is investigating an officer-involved shooting involving the Grants Pass Police Department that occurred at a southeast city market yesterday. Grants Pass police officers responded to the scene of a shooting near the M Street Market on Thursday at 8:52 a.m.. Police said they located the victim who had sustained a gunshot wound. Officers quickly located the suspect who was armed with a gun. The incident escalated to the point where it culminated in an officer-involved shooting. Grants Pass Police Lieutenant Jeff Hattersley said both the victim and suspect were transported to a local hospital with gunshot wounds and both were last reported to be in serious but stable condition. He said none of the responding officers were injured and there is no further danger to the community from this incident. SE M Street from N Street to Green Briar Lane was closed during the investigation and citizens were asked to avoid the area. Because the shooting involved Grants Pass police officers, the investigation is being handled by OSP. So far, the identities of the victim and suspect have not been released.
Posted on 8/25/23 6:47AM by Sam Marsh
 

Deputies Snared Felon for Parole Violation after Getting Unruly Behavior Calls
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office arrested a felon for violating his post-prison supervision after responding to reports of unruly behavior at a local mobile home park. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies were alerted to a male subject jumping up and down and screaming at Country Estates Mobile Home Park on Beechwood Drive early Wednesday. Deputies said several residents of the park called 9-1-1 regarding the antics of 34-year-old William Allen Tweet. Callers reported the suspect was walking through their yards without permission and they believed he was connected to a suspected drug house in the area. Upon arrival, deputies contacted Tweet while he was walking in the 4,000-block of Lower River Road. They placed him into custody without incident. William Tweet was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Disorderly Conduct and the resulting Parole Violation stemming from convictions for Felony Attempt to Elude Police and Reckless Driving. He was being held on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 8/25/23 6:46AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man on Local Felony Warrants after Neighborhood Complaints
Grants Pass Police jailed a man on two local felony warrants this week after investigating reports of suspicious behavior in the northwest part of the city. The Police Department reports officers arrested 33-year-old Cody Wayne Nolen near the corner of NE Sun View Place and Crescent Drive Wednesday morning. Police said they contacted Nolen and an unidentified female subject after getting complaints from neighbors who observed the pair removing the license plates off a Chevrolet Suburban. They said the callers reported the pair had been taking items out of the vehicle and carrying them into the woods over the past few days. Upon arrival, officers contacted Nolen and confirmed that the vehicle had not been reported stolen. However, they did discover that he was wanted on two Grants Pass felony warrants for two counts of failing to appear in court for 1st-Degree Theft. Cody Nolen was lodged at the Josephine County Jail and his corrections officer was notified. His female companion was detained, but not arrested.
Posted on 8/25/23 6:45AM by Sam Marsh
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Incident Commanders Report Flat Fire Staying within Footprint in Curry County
While the Smith River Complex continues to grow, the Flat Fire is staying within its footprint in eastern Curry County. Southwest Incident Management Team 3 reported this morning that the Flat Fire was still 34,242 acres and containment was unchanged at 58%. The human-caused fire started July 15th at the Oak Flat Campground near Agness. Total personnel assigned to the wildfire today is 468 including 11 hand crews backed by 17 engines, 16 water tenders, four masticators, three bulldozers and three helicopters. Fire spread among unburned fuels in interior islands remained low, with some isolated tree torching occurring but not impacting containment lines. Crews are vigilantly assessing containment lines and keeping eyes on remaining heat sources in the interior and near the perimeter. Multiple firefighting resources are improving containment and contingency hand and dozer lines. Assorted heavy equipment resources are making improvements to the southern contingency lines. Incident commanders said the Flat Fire is a full suppression mission. The incident management team and assigned firefighters are exercising maximum effort to achieve this goal. A cooling trend and higher relative humidity are moving into the region today to assist firefighting efforts by slowing fire behavior. The cooling trend is expected to continue into next week.
Posted on 8/25/23 6:43AM by Sam Marsh
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BLM Closing Public Lands in Southern Illinois Valley Due to Smith River Fires
As a result of the Smith River Complex, the Bureau of Land Management is closing public lands south of O'Brien to the California border. The order is for the safety of the public and firefighting personnel. According to the Medford District BLM, members of the public may not enter closed areas and all uses -- including hiking, hunting and camping -- are prohibited until further notice. Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 13 is currently engaged on the north side of the complex of wildfires with nearly 1,500 personnel battling the blazes. Steve Lydick of the BLM said his agency continues to work closely with the fire team and Josephine County emergency management on public safety measures resulting from the Smith River Complex. The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in the 11 western states and Canada.
Posted on 8/25/23 6:42AM by Sam Marsh
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Supporters of GP Mayor Staging Community Rally at Courthouse on Saturday
Supporters of Grants Pass Mayor Sara Bristol are staging a community rally tomorrow at the Josephine County Courthouse -- it starts at noon. Mayor Bristol is facing potential recall from her position in a September 12th special election. Bristol has challenged the chief petitioner in the recall campaign to square off at two public forums prior to next month's recall election. The first forum is tonight at the Anne G. Basker Auditorium and the second is set for next Tuesday at the Fruitdale Grange. Both forums start at 6 p.m. and will be moderated by Pat Fahey. In a prepared statement last week, Mayor Bristol said she would like city voters to have an opportunity to learn more about the recall attempt so they can make an informed decision. The mayor said she's never met chief petitioner Suzanne Barber, so she's interested to hear more about why Barber decided to launch the recall effort against her. Earlier this month, Bristol said she believes signatures for the recall were gathered under false pretenses.
Posted on 8/25/23 6:40AM by Sam Marsh
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Smith River Complex Pushes North and Forces Mandatory Evacuations in SW Illinois Valley
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The Smith River Complex continues to push north into the Illinois Valley, which has prompted a mandatory evacuation and elevated evacuation levels in southwest Josephine County. Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 13 reported this morning that the Smith River Complex had grown to 57,225 acres and containment was still 0%. Total personnel assigned to the complex today is 1,655. The main fire camp is located at Lake Selmac. The Josephine County Sheriff's Office has ordered a Level 3 "Go Now" evacuation for the community of O'Brien south of milepost 38 on US Highway 199 to the California border. The Red Cross has set up an emergency evacuation shelter at Rogue Community College in Grants Pass. Livestock can be taken to the Josephine County Fairgrounds. The Sheriff's Office also issued a Level 2 "Be Set" evacuation notice for O'Brien and Takilma from Highway 199 south of Rough & Ready Creek to milepost 38 and Rockydale Road at Waldo Road to the California border. Residents in this area should be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. A Level 1 "Be Ready" evacuation notice was issued for the southern Illinois Valley south of Cave Junction including the Bridgeview and Holland areas. Preparedness resources can be found at "rvem.org." The two-week closure of Redwood Highway continues and it was moved north to Lone Mountain Road from the California border due to activity associated with the wildfire complex.
Posted on 8/25/23 6:30AM by Sam Marsh
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DEQ Issues Air Quality Advisory for SW Oregon Until Sunday Due to Persistent Wildfire Smoke
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The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued an Air Quality Advisory for Jackson and Josephine counties along with other parts of the state due to smoke from fires burning in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. The advisory is in effect until further notice. DEQ smoke experts will revisit forecasts later periodically and possibly update the advisories. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has extended the Air Quality Alert in southwest Oregon until 4 p.m. Sunday. Wildfires burning in the region combined with forecast conditions will cause air quality levels to fluctuate and likely reach unhealthy levels at times for Jackson, Josephine and eastern Douglas counties. Smoke levels can change rapidly depending on the weather. People at highest risk include infants and young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with heart or lung disease. DEQ and NWS officials urge residents to protect themselves and their family when smoke levels are high. Keep windows and doors closed. If it's too hot, run air conditioning on recirculate or consider moving to a cooler location. Try to avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
Posted on 8/25/23 6:27AM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County Payroll Employment Fell by 560 Jobs in July, But Increased Over Past Year
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Total payroll employment in Josephine County fell by an estimated 560 jobs in July, but it increased over the past year. According to the Oregon Employment Department, there were 34,151 people working in Josephine County last month for a seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 4.7%, which was down from 4.9% in June and down from 5.6% in July 2022. Leisure & hospitality had the largest monthly gain, increasing by 60 jobs. Private education & health services and professional & business services also added jobs over the month. A loss in local government education is seasonally typical for July. Over the past year, payroll employment in Josephine County rose by 160 jobs, a gain of 0.6%. Industries adding jobs since July 2022 included private education & health services (+460), other services (+90), transportation, warehousing & utilities (+40), professional & business services (+30) and construction (+20). Industries losing jobs over the year were leisure & hospitality (-230), retail trade (-140), manufacturing (-80), wholesale trade (-60) and financial activities (-50).
Posted on 8/25/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh
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Two People Hospitalized with Gunshot Wounds after Incident at M Street Market
The Grants Pass Police Department is reporting two people were hospitalized with gunshot wounds after a shooting incident that occurred near a southeast city market early today. At 8:52 this morning, police officers responded to a reported shooting near the M Street Market where they located a victim who had sustained a gunshot wound. Officers quickly located the suspect, who was armed with a gun. The incident escalated and culminated in an officer-involved shooting. Both the victim and the suspect were transported to a local hospital with gunshot wounds and they were last reported to be in serious but stable condition. Neither patient was identified. Grants Pass Police Lieutenant Jeff Hattersley said none of the responding officers were injured and there is no further danger to the community from this incident. Hattersley said SE M Street from N Street to Green Briar Lane will be closed until the conclusion of the investigation. Citizens are asked to avoid the area. Because the shooting involved Grants Pass police officers, the investigation is being handled by the Oregon State Police.
Posted on 8/24/23 12:59PM by Sam Marsh
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