Local News

State Troopers Nabbed 4 Motorists for Impaired Driving in Josephine County
The Oregon State Police arrested four motorists for impaired driving on Josephine County roadways at the start of the weekend. According to OSP, the first incident occurred on Friday at 10:04 p.m. when state troopers pulled over a Toyota driven by 38-year-old Heinz Leefhelm-Espildora near milepost 17 of Redwood Highway. Troopers said they stopped him for Failure to Driven Within Lane and he displayed signs of impairment. The second incident happened on Friday at 11:36 p.m. when troopers pulled over a Toyota Tacoma driven by 23-year-old Amy Lawrence near milepost 1 of Caves Highway. Troopers said they stopped Lawrence for multiple traffic violations and she showed strong signs of impairment. The third incident took place on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. when troopers pulled over a Jeep Cherokee driven by 32-year-old Miranda Holm near milepost 12 of Redwood Highway for a domestic violence situation. Troopers said both occupants of the vehicle were intoxicated, but there was no evidence of domestic violence. The fourth incident occurred on Saturday at 11:30 p.m. when troopers responded to a single-vehicle crash near milepost 61 of Interstate 5. Troopers said a Kia Soul driven by 29-year-old Shaylene Staten left the freeway and struck a guardrail. She exhibited signs of impairment, performed poorly in sobriety tests and was taken to the Sobering Center where she provided a breath sample that was more than twice the legal limit.
Posted on 7/3/23 10:26AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Investigating Fatal Crash of Motorcyclist Allegedly Trying to Elude
The Grants Pass Police Department was investigating the fatal crash last night of a motorcyclist who was allegedly trying to elude law enforcement. Details remain sketchy about the incident, but Grants Pass police officers and emergency first responders were dispatched to the wreck near the intersection of Redwood and Rogue River highways on Sunday around 7 p.m.. The Police Department posted a 7:54 p.m. bulletin asking citizens to avoid the area while an investigation was underway. The highway was closed to through-traffic. Trusted but unconfirmed sources said the wreck resulted from a motorcyclist trying to elude law enforcement following an attempted traffic stop. They said police had stopped pursuing the motorcyclist shortly before the crash occurred. No other information was available this morning. It was the second fatal crash in Grants Pass in the past week. A motorist died in a crash at the intersection of Redwood Avenue and Hubbard Lane on Thursday, but the Police Department has yet to provide more information on that incident.
Posted on 7/3/23 6:40AM by Sam Marsh

Wilderville Man Arrested for Abducting Teen Girl in North GP and Forcing Sex
A Wilderville man has been jailed for abducting a 15-year-old girl in north Grants Pass and forcing her to have sex in the Merlin area last month. The Grants Pass Police Department reports 42-year-old Mark Junior Dastrup was arrested at his residence in the 7,000-block of Old Highway 199 on Friday. On June 18th, the Police Department received a report that a teenage girl had been forced into a car the previous night by someone she did not know. The abduction occurred at the north end of 7th Street in Grants Pass. A full investigation was initiated with assistance from the Josephine County Sheriff's Office. Detectives determined the female juvenile victim had been driven out to the Merlin area by an unknown suspect. After locating and viewing video surveillance from businesses near where the abduction took place, detectives were able to determine the suspect to be Dastrup who was placed into custody without incident. Mark Dastrup was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on charges including 1st-Degree Kidnapping, 1st-Degree Rape and 1st-Degree Sex Abuse. He was being held without bail. Anyone with information relevant to this investigation is encouraged to contact the Grants Pass Police Department at (541)-450-6260. Please reference Case #23-25695.
Posted on 7/3/23 6:39AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Jailed Man for Roughing Up Girlfriend after Alert from TRMC Nurse
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for roughing up his girlfriend over the weekend. According to the Police Department, officers arrested 61-year-old Rick Miller Chamberlain at or near Denny's on NE Morgan Lane shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday. Police said a nurse from Three Rivers Medical Center alerted them to domestic violence after a woman came to the emergency room for treatment and told them her male partner -- Chamberlain -- struck her with a closed fist. Upon contact with the victim, officers said no physical injuries were observed. Upon contact with Chamberlain, he admitted to hitting his girlfriend during a verbal disagreement. He was placed into custody. Chamberlain was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Domestic Harassment.
Posted on 7/3/23 6:30AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Collared Man Wanted on Local Warrant and Added Familiar Charges
Grants Pass Police apprehended a local man wanted on a local warrant in the downtown area and added some new -- but familiar charges -- to his criminal bill. The Police Department reports officers arrested 40-year-old Jeromie Wharregard on SW 6th Street between J and K streets on Saturday shortly after 6 p.m.. Police said Wharregard had been called in as potential medical patient, but he fled the scene prior to receiving care. That's most likely because he was wanted on a Grants Pass warrant for failing to appear in court for Resisting Arrest and Escape. Wharregard was spotted a short time later in the 100-block of SW H Street and he fled on foot. When advised he was under arrest, he used physical force to avoid being placed into custody. He was eventually subdued. After being medically cleared at Three Rivers Medical Center, Wharregard was booked into the Josephine County Jail on the warrant along with new charges of Resisting Arrest and Escape.
Posted on 7/3/23 6:29AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Snared Woman for Raising Ruckus in Downtown Area Early Sunday
Grants Pass Police arrested a woman for raising a ruckus in the downtown area early yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers responded to reports of a female subject causing public alarm and acting destructively in the 300-block of NW 6th Street on Sunday at 4:10 a.m.. Police said 28-year-old Cierra Shay Powers broke glass behind the Dutch Bros on D Street, and threw multiple chairs and garbage cans in the area. A caller from the Redwood Towers building reported the suspect was going through garbage cans and looking for things to drink while wearing a red tutu. Responding officers spotted Powers who began to flee on foot, but stopped and complied with lawful orders. She was placed into custody without incident. Cierra Powers was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Disorderly Conduct and the resulting Probation Violation. She was being held on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 7/3/23 6:27AM by Sam Marsh
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GPCC Workshop Features Updates on Water Plant, Caveman Pool & New Stage
The Grants Pass City Council is scheduled to receive staff updates on the new Water Treatment Plant, Caveman Pool and a stage proposed for Riverside Park during its weekly workshop session today. The City Council will begin the workshop with a staff update on value engineering for the new Water Treatment Plant being constructed at SE J and Mill streets. The total cost of the new plant is expected to be well over $100 million, making it by far the most expensive municipal project in Grants Pass history. Also on the agenda are a Caveman Pool design site plan review and an update on the Riverside Park Stage Development Project. A new stage would provide a venue for events such as Concerts in the Park in the future. The session will conclude with a review of the agenda for Wednesday night's regular meeting. Today's workshop begins at 11:45 a.m. in the City Council Chambers at Grants Pass City Hall, 101 NW A Street.
Posted on 7/3/23 6:26AM by Sam Marsh
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Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Raised Local Fire Danger Level to "High" Today
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The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has joined the Oregon Department of Forestry and Bureau of Land Management today by increasing the fire danger level to "high." Officials with the US Forest Service, ODF and BLM have increased campfire restrictions on lands located within the boundaries of the Wild Section of the Rogue River from Grave Creek to the mouth of Watson Creek. As of 12:01 this morning, the building, maintaining, attending or use of a fire is permitted only within a raised fire pan or similar device that will contain the fire and its residue in an area that is free of natural vegetation and below the high-water mark of the river. All ashes must be carried out by campers. As a preventive measure, groups traveling on the Rogue River must have a shovel and bucket with them. Smoking is only permitted while on watercraft on local waterways, or on vegetation-free sand and gravel bars located between the river and high-water mark. These restrictions apply both to those traveling down the river and those hiking the Rogue River National Trail. Restrictions are designed to limit fire danger to the greatest extent possible. Stage 1 restrictions will be in place until November 30th, unless rescinded sooner. The BLM administers the stretch of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial, which is protected from fire by ODF Southwest. The US Forest Service manages from Marial downriver to the mouth of Watson Creek.
Posted on 7/3/23 6:17AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Fire Marshal Reminds Citizens of Additional Public Use Restrictions in City
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The fire danger level in the City of Grants Pass was increased to "high" on Saturday, which means additional public use fire restrictions are now in place. The Grants Pass Fire Marshal raised the city danger level to "high" because higher temperatures have and will dry vegetation to the point where fires will start easily and be more difficult to control. The primary change to Grants Pass fire prevention regulations was to move the shut-down time for power-driven machinery to between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. This includes the use of chainsaws, mowing and weed-eating of dry grass, and the cutting, grinding and welding of metal. All open wood-fueled fires are prohibited except at locations designated by the City Fire Marshal. Wood smokers and charcoal barbecues along with propane- and natural gas-fueled ornamental fires are allowed. Smoking in areas of flammable vegetation remains prohibited. All motor vehicles are only allowed on improved roads free of flammable vegetation except for the culture and harvest of agricultural crops. Mowing and weed-eating green grass is still permitted. For more information about seasonal regulations, contact the Grants Pass Fire Prevention Bureau at (541)-450-6200.
Posted on 7/3/23 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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SOREDI Announces Addition of New Business Development Manager to Local Team
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Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI), has announced the addition of a new business development manager to the team. Jaymes Tadlock began working with SOREDI at its office in Medford on June 20th. Jaymes Tadlock began his career helping build the Oregon economy by developing market research projects for businesses to help them understand their target market and the services their clients seek. He has numerous years of service at various levels within the banking industry. Tadlock recently completed his MBA at Southern Oregon University and he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Oregon State University. In addition, he recently received a project management certificate from the Oregon Project Management Program. Jaymes is passionate about helping others and has been actively involved in the Ashland Food Project as a board member since 2014. He said he feels his best work is assisting others in looking at things differently and problem-solving with them when they are stuck.
Posted on 7/3/23 6:13AM by Sam Marsh
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Riverside Park Explosion & Fire was Arson, No Injuries, One Arrest
An explosion and fire in Riverside Park just before 11 a.m. Friday prompted at least eight calls to 911 in four minutes. The fire was determined to be arson that resulted in an arrest. No injuries were reported. According to the City Police log, calls began at 10:55 a.m. with the report of a tent on fire with a propane tank exploding in the camping area of the park. The city’s Fire/Rescue Division was on scene quickly, extending water lines to the incident and extinguishing the flames. No one was in the tent that was completely destroyed. Witnesses reported seeing a white, female adult, with brown shoulder length hair wearing a white tank top and black pants in the area of the tent shortly before the fire. City Cameras confirmed the suspect’s descriptors. The woman, identified as 28-year-old Kaitlyn Marie Pigg, was located in Baker Park and interviewed. Ms. Pigg admitted to starting the fire intentionally.
Posted on 7/1/23 7:58AM by Chuck Benson
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Weather Service Extends Heat Advisory through Wednesday Night
The National Weather Service has extended the current heat advisory through Wednesday night. Temperatures up to 110 are expected in western Siskiyou County, and near 100 in the Rogue, Illinois, and Applegate Valleys until 11 p.m. Wednesday. Expect mid 80s to mid 90s in southern Curry County inland a few miles from the coast, and east of the Cascades. Portions of northern California and south central and southwest Oregon, including areas below 5000 feet elevation in all counties except Coos, Douglas and Northern Curry County. Additionally, in southern Curry County from Pistol River southward and a few miles inland from the coast. Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.
Posted on 7/1/23 5:24AM by Chuck Benson
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