Local News

Authorities Seek Owners of Fall Harnesses Found at Bear Creek Transient Camp
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office was looking for the owners of rock-climbing equipment that was found at a transient camp along Bear Creek near Medford. According to a Sheriff's Office post on Facebook, three fall harnesses were recovered from an unoccupied transient camp during a patrol on the freeway side of the Bear Creek Greenway near US Cellular Fields on June 29th. You will need to provide the names written on the harnesses to claim them.
Posted on 7/15/23 5:16AM by Chuck Benson

California Woman Incarcerated by GPPD after Demanding Return of Suitcase
A California woman was arrested at the Grants Pass Police Department early yesterday when she demanded the return of a suitcase that was placed in safe-keeping following her arrest at a downtown restaurant earlier this week. The Police Department reports 34-year-old Brittney Mickel of Sunnyvale, California, came to the headquarters on NE 7th Street around 3:51 a.m. on Friday, entered the vestibule and pressed the intercom button to request officer contact. Police said Mickel wanted her suitcase back after she was arrested for an incident at the Powderhorn Café on Wednesday. The suitcase was found to contain a large amount of prescription medications and it was placed into evidence. Mickel was advised to return at 8 a.m. to retrieve her property, told not to return to the police department until then and to stop ringing the bell as it was bothering the overnight dispatchers. She returned a short time later, rang the bell and was placed into custody before being lodged in jail for 2nd-Degree Criminal Trespass.
Posted on 7/15/23 5:14AM by Chuck Benson

GP Police Snared Man for Previous Crime while Investigating Trespassing Call
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for a previous crime while investigating a trespassing complaint early yesterday. The Police Department reports officers responded to a trespassing call at the Dutch Bros stand on NE Agness Avenue on Friday around 1:30 a.m.. Police said they contacted 34-year-old Caleb Stephen Carney about the complaint at a nearby restaurant and discovered that he was the primary suspect in a recent theft case. He was placed into custody at the scene.
Posted on 7/15/23 5:13AM by Chuck Benson

Medford Area Transient Arrested for Allegedly Setting Fires on Ashland Property
A Medford area transient was arrested for allegedly starting fires on a vacant lot in Ashland this week. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office reports deputies and Ashland police officers responded to a report of a man starting fire in the 2300-block of Ashland Street on Thursday morning. Deputies said the suspect -- 43-year-old Joshua Roy Worden -- was observed setting fires by witnesses who confronted him before he fled the scene. While law enforcement was investigating the incident, Worden returned to the scene of the crime and was placed into custody. He was lodged at the Jackson County Jail for Reckless Burning. The case remains under investigation.Jackson County Public Information Officer Aaron Lewis said this arrest was a great example of community members staying alert and helping law enforcement. During fire season, he said it is especially important for citizens to have an increased sense of awareness in order to keep the community safe. Lewis said Worden was booked and then quickly released due to Senate Bill 48, which was implemented by Oregon in July 2022. It eliminates bail upon arrest and requires certain criminal charges be immediately released from custody
Posted on 7/15/23 5:12AM by Chuck Benson
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Former Director of Bands Returning to Grants Pass High School as Assistant Principal
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A familiar face will be returning to the staff at Grants Pass High School. Grants Pass School District 7 has announced that Jason Garcia will serve as assistant principal at GPHS as part of new school leadership in 2023-24. Garcia is a familiar face to D7. He most recently served as assistant principal at South Middle School, but he has also served as Director of GPHS Bands, Dean of Students at GPHS and as an elementary school music teacher. This year will be Garcia's 22nd working in education. He said he believes the connections educators make with students inspire them to come to school and reach their potential no matter their backgrounds or where they come from. Garcia and his wife love the outdoors including hiking, backpacking and mountain biking. They also love music and have collected nearly 900 vinyl records that they listen to daily. Congratulations to Jason Garcia and welcome back to Grants Pass High School!
Posted on 7/14/23 9:00AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man for Stealing Pruning Shears and Scaring Victim with Knife
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for multiple crimes after he stole a set of pruning shears from a man at a local market and then threatened the victim with a knife. The Police Department reports officers arrested 37-year-old Jason Tyler Lewis for the incident at A-1 Market & Deli on SW G Street late Saturday afternoon. Police said Lewis stole a set of pruning shears off a man's bicycle at the store and when the man confronted Lewis, Lewis pulled out a large fixed-blade knife and pointed the blade at the victim. This action placed the victim in fear of serious injury and caused alarm to several people at the scene including employees. According to the report, a witness captured video of the incident on his cell phone that clearly showed Lewis's criminal actions. Lewis reportedly threw down the shears and fled on foot, but he was located in the parking lot of the Grants Pass Sobering Center where he was placed into custody. The large knife was seized as evidence. Lewis was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Use of a Weapon, 2nd-Degree Robbery, Menacing, Disorderly Conduct and Petty Theft. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 7/11/23 6:52AM by Sam Marsh
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Weekend Fight between 2 Women at Riverside Park Landed One in County Jail
A weekend fight between two women at Riverside Park resulted in injuries to one and jail time for the other. The Grants Pass Police Department reports officers responded to a disturbance near the maintenance area of the city park on Sunday at about 3:40 p.m.. Police said 38-year-old Leladawn Smith kicked a woman identified as "Humphrey" in the stomach and knocked her to the ground. Once the victim was on the ground, the suspect pulled her hair and kicked her once more in the stomach. Smith reportedly fled the scene toward the park playground, but witnesses pointed her out to police who placed her into custody. The victim was injured, but refused medical treatment. She told officers she wanted to press charges. Leladawn Smith was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Physical Harassment. She was also trespassed from Riverside Park for 30 days.
Posted on 7/11/23 6:51AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man for Multiple Crimes after Disturbance at Dutch Bros Office
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for multiple crimes after he caused a protracted disturbance in the Dutch Bros headquarters parking lot last weekend. The Police Department reports officers arrested 32-year-old Christian Ryan Mitchell for the incident at the business on NW 4th Street at 9:13 a.m. Sunday. Police said Mitchell was yelling while throwing rocks and cans against the door and windows of the Dutch Bros' offices. They said there was no damage to the glass, but several vehicles stopped in the area to observe the chaotic scene. When contacted by police and advised that he was not free to leave, Mitchell refused to comply with lawful orders, picked up a bag of his belongings and backed away until officers took physical control of him. Christian Mitchell was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 2nd-Degree Criminal Mischief, Escape and Disorderly Conduct.
Posted on 7/11/23 6:49AM by Sam Marsh
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Local Firefighters Knocked Down Structure Fire on Tina Way in North Valley Area
In a series of events very similar to a fire in the North Valley area on Saturday, Rural Metro Fire Department was alerted yesterday to a column of smoke seen near the top of Merlin Hill. On Monday at 11:09 a.m., crews from Rural Metro and the Oregon Department of Forestry searched for and then responded to a structure fire in the 600-block of Tina Way off Portland Avenue. Similar to Saturday, there were no 9-1-1 reports. Arriving units found a well-involved manufactured home with approximately 1/10th of an acre spread into surrounding grass and brush. Additional units from Grants Pass Fire & Rescue were called in. Move-up assistance was provided by the Applegate Valley Fire District and Jackson County Fire District #1. Rural Metro officials said firefighters vanquished the blaze and kept flames from spreading to nearby homes. There was no one home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. The Oregon State Fire Marshal is handling the investigation.
Posted on 7/11/23 6:48AM by Sam Marsh
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IVFD Crews Responded to Two Motor Vehicle Accidents near Selma and in CJ
The Illinois Valley Fire District responded to two motor vehicle accidents over the last day. On Monday at 5:49 p.m., IVFD, American Medical Response and the US Forest Service were dispatched to a single-vehicle crash near milepost 24 of Redwood Highway at Eight Dollar Mountain Road. Arriving units found a vehicle off the highway around 20 feet down a cliff. Units checked the area, but there was no one found at the scene. The Oregon State Police was investigating. At 1:37 this morning, IVFD and AMR responded to a single-vehicle accident at the intersection of South Kerby Avenue and West Watkins Street in Cave Junction. Arriving units found a vehicle on its side, blocking the roadway. Two occupants were removed from the wreckage and both declined medical transport. Josephine County sheriff's deputies arranged for a tow and were investigating the cause.
Posted on 7/11/23 6:46AM by Sam Marsh
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Applications Now Open for 4 Positions on Grants Pass Parks Advisory Board
Applications are now being accepted for four positions on the Grants Pass Parks Advisory Committee. These are four-year appointments. The purpose of the Parks Advisory Board is to review and make recommendations related to the needs and locations for new parkland and trail locations, park planning, allocation of recreation resources between users, preservation of park resources, and funding. The Grants Pass City Council desires to have a balance of viewpoints and demographic representation on the board including individuals with interest or experience representing athletic leagues, individuals knowledgeable in natural resource preservation, people involved with recurring park events, frequent park users and individuals who use family-friendly park play facilities. Applications are available at the City Administration Office at 101 NW A Street or online at "grantspassoregon.gov/committee-application." Completed applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, August 4th.
Posted on 7/11/23 6:45AM by Sam Marsh
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Forest Patrol Assessments Going to Counties without State Landowner Offset Extension
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Forest Patrol Assessments are charged to public and private landowners to help fund wildfire suppression efforts by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The associated costs due to required increases in staffing and resources were deferred in the 2021-23 biennium by a one-time offset of $15 million. However, ODF's 2023-25 budget -- as approved by the state legislature -- does not include the offset. The Labor Day wildfires of 2020 demonstrated the state's vulnerability to catastrophic wildfires. In response, the 2021 Legislature passed Senate Bill 762 to add wildfire response capacity and preparedness programs to benefit Oregonians. Senate Bill 762 directed the Oregon Department of Forestry to create new programs and increase capacity for adequate protection of public and private forestland and rangeland. The cost for increased capacity is shared between landowners through Forest Patrol Assessments. Private landowner rates are provided to county tax assessors July 1st for inclusion in property tax rolls. An extension of the landowner offset was considered during the 2023 legislative session, but the extension ultimately did not make it into ODF's budget. If offsets are again funded by the 2024 Legislature, they will be applied to Fiscal Year 2025 Forest Patrol Assessments, reducing the per-acre charge in the second year of the biennium.
Posted on 7/11/23 6:44AM by Sam Marsh
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