Local News

Rural Metro Releases More Details about Monument Drive Fire and Robust Response
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Rural Metro Fire Department has released more details about the Monument Drive Fire that brought numerous local agencies to respond to protect lives and property. On Sunday at 3:35 p.m., Rural Metro and the Oregon Department of Forestry were alerted to two columns of smoke by an American Medical Response ambulance crew driving on Interstate 5 near the Manzanita Rest Area. The smoke columns were observed between the southbound rest area and North Valley High School. Rural Metro Engine 7502 rolled from the Monument Drive Station, immediately spotted the smoke and upgraded the call to a "working fire." Without an exact address, units from Rural Metro, ODF and Grants Pass Fire & Rescue scrambled up driveways in the 6300-block of Monument Drive attempting to find the best access to the blaze. Crews attempted stretch hose lines into the brush and timber to attack the flames, supported by an ODF helicopter. The fire was a half-acre in size, but it grew to between 15 and 20 acres. The Josephine County Sheriff's Office and Josephine County Emergency Management initiated door-to-door notifications for a Level 3 "Go Now" evacuation order that was issued for residents south of the fire up to the North Valley Industrial Park.
Posted on 8/22/23 6:00AM by Sam Marsh

Dangerous Wildfire Smoke in GP Prompts Early Closure of Caveman Pool for 2023 Season
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Wildfire smoke has claimed its first official summer recreation casualty: Caveman Pool in Grants Pass has closed for the 2023 season. The Grants Pass Family YMCA -- which manages the public swimming pool under contract with the City of Grants Pass -- made the difficult decision to close the pool early due to poor air quality. The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Grants Pass on Monday afternoon was 155, which is considered "Unhealthy." Last night, the AQI soared to 389, which is considered "Hazardous." The Air Quality Alert runs at least through today. For those wishing to stay cool in the late-summer heat, the splash pads at Riverside and Morrison Centennial parks will remain open until Labor Day -- and perhaps a bit longer if the weather remains hot. The splash pad at Riverside Park was closed Monday for maintenance, but it was scheduled to be reopened today.
Posted on 8/22/23 5:56AM by Sam Marsh

Firefighters Still Hold Upper Hand Against Southwest Oregon's Largest Wildfire
Firefighters continue to hold the upper hand against Oregon's largest wildfire, with slight growth over the weekend and strong containment. Southwest Incident Management Team 3 reported this morning that the Flat Fire grew slightly to 34,242 acres while containment was holding at 58%. The human-caused wildfire started July 15th at the Oak Flat Campground near Agness. There is a total of 512 personnel assigned to the Flat Fire today including 12 hand crews, 17 engines, 17 water tenders, four helicopters, four masticators and four bulldozers. Incident commanders said weekend fire behavior consisted of smoldering and creeping among interior fuels, with low rates of fire spread in the unburned islands within the perimeter. A small amount of single tree torching is occurring, but it is not expected to threaten containment lines. The team continues to focus on identifying fire behavior conditions that could result in rapid spread. Smoke from the Smith River Complex is impacting various air and ground fire operations as well as local communities. Resources continue to support fires in the surrounding areas. Firefighters are pressing forward to reach the full suppression objective for the Flat Fire. Fuels group crews constructing hand line in the Pistol River drainage are nearing completion of the southern tier contingency line project. Chipping, brushing and timber removal will continue as firefighters look to improve the new lines for contingency against wind-driven fire expansion.
Posted on 8/21/23 11:32AM by Sam Marsh

USFS Battling 41 Confirmed Fires Produced by More than 200 Lightning Strikes
Weekend thunderstorms produced more than 200 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in Jackson and Josephine counties, with rainfall of up to a half-inch depending on location. The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest reported Sunday night that there were 41 confirmed fires across the Wild Rivers, High Cascades and Siskiyou Mountain Ranger Districts that ranged in size from a single tree to the Kanaka Fire on the Siskiyou District at 40 acres. Air and ground resources have been brought in from all over Oregon to assist with these fires including four rappel crews, two Very Large Air Tankers (VLATs), four Large Air Tankers (LATs), two Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems, two Type 1 heavy-capacity helicopters, one air attack aircraft, one reconnaissance aircraft and one lead plane. Smokejumpers and other aerial firefighting resources have been brought in to support these initial attack efforts with more arriving in the coming days. Lightning is predicted through Tuesday for portions of southwest Oregon and the Forest has ordered more resources to support ongoing efforts and for additional starts. Deputy Fire Operations Chief Mike McCann said in cooperation and coordination with their partners -- Medford District BLM and ODF Southwest -- initial attack will remain aggressive to protect the communities they serve.
Posted on 8/21/23 11:31AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man on Felony Warrant after Incident Involving Stolen Feline
Grants Pass Police jailed a man wanted on a local felony warrant following a weekend incident involving a stolen cat. According to the Police Department, officers arrested 41-year-old Felix Melvin Stiglbauer at the Hawks Inn Motel at the corner of 6th Street and Midland Avenue on Saturday at 10:55 p.m.. Police said a woman called 9-1-1 to report that Stiglbauer and others were squatting at her mother's vacant residence on NW Washington Boulevard and were due to be evicted this week. She said the vacant house had become a "drug den," the squatters had taken her cat and refused to return it. Upon arrival at the Washington Boulevard home, police said Stiglbauer answered the front door and the stolen cat walked out of the house. They said they knew that the suspect was wanted on a Jackson County felony warrant for failing to appear in court for Unlawful Use of a Weapon, 4th-Degree Assault, Menacing and Resisting Arrest. He was told he was not free to leave, but he ran back into the house and then to the Hawks Inn where he was located and placed into custody at Taser point. Felix Siglbauer was lodged at the Josephine County jail on the warrant along with new charges of Resisting Arrest and 3rd-Degree Escape. He was being held without bail pending transfer to the Jackson County Jail in Medford.
Posted on 8/21/23 11:29AM by Sam Marsh
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Domestic Disturbance at South GP Residence Led to Arrest of Man for 3 Crimes
A weekend domestic disturbance at a south Grants Pass residence led to the arrest of a man on multiple charges. The Grants Pass Police Department reports officers responded to the disturbance involving 43-year-old George Ames Saintclair at a Williams Highway home on Saturday around 7 p.m.. Police said Saintclair had been trespassed from the incident location that morning at the request of a woman he shares two children with. They said the suspect called 9-1-1 that evening to report a mutual altercation between him and the woman. He also admitted to using methamphetamine and that he pulled the woman's hair. No one was injured, but it turns out Saintclair had never left after being trespassed. The female victim reported that Saintclair continued to hang around the residence, banging on doors and waking up the children. When she took the kids to the circus, she said the suspect called her to advise he was inside the residence. She returned, confronted the suspect and he responded by kicking her and pulling her hair. Upon arrival, officers placed George Saintclair into custody before lodging him at the Josephine County Jail on charges of 1st-Degree Burglary, 2nd-Degree Criminal Mischief and Harassment. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 8/21/23 11:28AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Snared Woman for Crimes after Weekend Contact at All Sports Park
Grants Pass Police arrested a woman for two crimes after a weekend incident at Reinhart Volunteer Park. The Police Department reports officers responded to a report of suspicious activity at the All Sports Park on Webster Road on Sunday at about 1:25 a.m.. Police said they received a report from a park neighbor that three subjects were stashing items near vehicles on the street. Responding officers contacted 21-year-old Madison Andrea Foster who immediately became hostile to law enforcement and started to walk away. When told she was not free to leave, Foster reportedly struck an officer in the face with her hand and physically resisted officers trying to place her in handcuffs. She had to be taken to the ground where she continued to fight with officers and slipped out of the handcuffs. She was eventually subdued and placed into custody, but continued to fight as she was being placed into a patrol vehicle. Madison Foster was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony Attempted Assault on a Police Officer and Resisting Arrest. She was held without bail.
Posted on 8/21/23 11:26AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Incarcerated Merlin Man for Violating Court Order Protecting Woman
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a Merlin man for violating a court order by going to a nearby home where a protected woman lives. According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies arrested 61-year-old Roger Eugene Lane for the incident that occurred in the 300-block of Acorn Street on Saturday around 12:40 a.m.. Deputies said a female caller reported Lane was outside a window of her home yelling and that she had obtained a stalking order against him. They responded and contacted the suspect a short time later at his home in the 200-block of Acorn Street. The suspect had been flagged for previous threats to kill law enforcement. Roger Lane was placed into custody without incident. He was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Contempt of Court-Stalking Order Violation. He was being held on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 8/21/23 11:24AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Nabbed GP Motorist for Impaired Driving after Foothill Boulevard Crash
The Oregon State Police arrested a Grants Pass motorist for impaired driving after she crashed her vehicle just east of the city limits at the beginning of the weekend. According to OSP, troopers, Josephine County sheriff's deputies and emergency crews responded to the single-vehicle wreck at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and West Jones Creek Road on Friday shortly after 9 p.m.. Troopers said 62-year-old Pamela Louise Mein lost control of the Jeep Cherokee she was driving and crashed. They said she was not injured, but she showed signs of impairment at the scene and refused to participate in field sobriety tests. A search warrant was obtained and Mein was transported to Three Rivers Medical Center for a legal blood draw that documented her impairment. She was lodged at the Grants Pass Sobering Center for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Reckless Driving. Her damaged Jeep was impounded.
Posted on 8/21/23 11:22AM by Sam Marsh
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Acting Forest Supervisor Signs Area Closure Due to Smith River Complex Spread
Due to the Smith River Complex moving north from California into Oregon, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Acting Supervisor Jake Winn signed a forest area and road closure effective from Saturday through October 31st. The area closure includes a portion of the Wild Rivers Ranger District that lies north of the state border and is bounded by the Illinois River on the east, the north fork of the Smith River on the west, Buckskin Peak on the north and California on the south. It includes a portion of the local forest that lies south of the state border. The road closure is for Forest Service Road 4803 (Sanger Peak Road) and associated road spurs from the state border to the forest boundary near Sanger Peak, a distance of 8.4 miles. The closure area is described in more detail within the "Emergency Area and Road Closure" order on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest webpage. In response to a Level 2 "Be Set" evacuation notice issued for the Illinois Valley south of Rough & Ready Creek to the California border, the Illinois Valley Fire District announced Southern Oregon Emergency Aid is active for livestock evacuations at the Josephine County Fairgrounds. If you are in need of livestock evacuations or can volunteer, please contact Amanda Barnes at (541)-659-5741. Horses are being routed to Aranaway Farms. Call Mary Anne Morrison at (541)-761-2628. The service is not being provided for small pets unless a Level 3 "Go" order happens.
Posted on 8/21/23 6:41AM by Sam Marsh
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Domestic Disturbance near Murphy Led to Apprehension of National Fugitive
A domestic disturbance near Murphy led to the eventual apprehension of a nationwide fugitive on outstanding warrants and local charges late last week. The Josephine County Sheriff's Office reports 31-year-old Larry Warren Lawton was arrested during a traffic stop on Williams Highway near Grays Creek Road on Friday at 9:50 p.m.. Deputies said they were first called out to a domestic disturbance at a home in the 1200-block of Grays Creek Road early Friday morning. A woman reported that she had been hit in the side of the head and punched in the same spot by Lawton, who fled the scene before the arrival of law enforcement. Lawton was located later in the day as a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by deputies. In addition to being a suspect in the assault case, he was found to be wanted on a Pasco County, Florida, Sheriff's Office warrant for failing to appear in court for Felony Attempt to Elude Police, Failure to Obey a Law Enforcement Order, Felony Possession of Marijuana and Possession of a Controlled Substance. Lawton was also wanted on a Josephine County warrant for failing to appear in court for 4th-Degree Assault, Criminal Mischief and Interfering with Making a Police Report. Lawton was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrants plus new charges of Felony 3rd-Degree Assault and Supplying Contraband to a Jail Facility. He was being held without bail pending extradition proceedings that will likely send him back to Florida.
Posted on 8/21/23 6:40AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Man Jailed for Violating Court Order by Visiting Workplace of Employee
A Grants Pass man was jailed for violating a court order when he visited the workplace of the protected woman late last week. The Grants Pass Police Department reports officers arrested 46-year-old David Israel McDonald for the incident that occurred at Taprock NW Grill on Friday morning. Police said McDonald violated a condition listed on the valid restraining order by being at Taprock. The suspect was required by law to remain 150 feet away from the woman, her residence and her place of employment. After being located near a local automobile dealership, he admitted to being there and was detained. McDonald was placed into custody and during a consent search, he was found to be in possession of psilocybin mushrooms which were seized for destruction. David McDonald was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Contempt of Court-Restraining Order Violation along with the narcotics violation, for which he was cited to appear in court.
Posted on 8/21/23 6:32AM by Sam Marsh
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