Local News

Grants Pass Fire Officials Increase Public Use Restrictions with Elevated Danger Level
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Grants Pass fire officials will follow state and federal agencies with public use restrictions after the increase of the local fire danger level to "moderate." Warm weather across the region has dried out vegetation to the degree that the Grants Pass Fire Marshal increased the fire danger level on Friday, which also increased fire prevention regulations in the city. Effective immediately, smoking in areas of flammable vegetation is prohibited. Open wood-fueled fires -- including campfires, cooking fires and warming fires -- are prohibited, except at locations designated by the Fire Marshal. Wood smokers, charcoal barbecues, propane- and natural gas-fueled ornamental fires are allowed. Power saws must be shut down between the hours of 1 and 8 p.m. daily. Each power saw is required to have a shovel and a fire extinguisher, and a firewatch of at least one hour must follow the use of the saw. The mowing of dried grass and the cutting, welding and grinding of metal are also banned between 1 and 8 p.m.. All motor vehicles are allowed only on improved roads free of flammable vegetation, except for the cultivation and harvest of agricultural crops. The City Fire Marshal or an authorized representative may -- in writing -- approve a modification or waiver of these requirements. For more information about Grants Pass fire season regulations, please call the Fire Prevention Bureau at (541)-450-6200.
Posted on 6/24/23 5:43AM by Sam Marsh
 

Grants Pass City Council Approves Historic District Banners and Spring Tourism Grants
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The Grants Pass City Council approved Historic District Banners and the Sustainable Tourism Grant Program during its regular meeting this week. The City Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase and installation of banners in the Downtown Historic District that will be paid for by the Transient Lodging Tax (TLT). Out of three options, the panel chose larger banners that will be hung from the historic light poles in the downtown area. Right now, the light poles feature American flags and hanging flower baskets. The Historic Buildings and Sites Commission approved the banners, which will be hung on the sidewalk side of the poles. The plan right now is to alternate poles with the flower baskets, thereby requiring fewer banners and fewer baskets, which would reduce the annual cost of the baskets by $25,000-$30,000. The Council also approved four Spring 2023 grants for the Sustainable Tourism Program, which is also funded by the TLT. The Chamber of Commerce will get $5,000 for Concerts in the Park while the Southern Oregon Horse Racing Association will receive $3,500, the Spirit of the Fair will receive $3,000 and Cynthia's Home Sweet Home will get $2,500.
Posted on 6/24/23 5:40AM by Sam Marsh
 

GP Boat Building Company Participating in Historic Event at Crater Lake National Park
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A Grants Pass boat-building company is participating in a rare historical event that happens only once every 40 years at Crater Lake National Park. On Monday, Katanacraft will fly in three new 41-foot boats to Wizard Island by helicopter to provide visitor tours on Crater Lake. In 2022, Katanacraft was selected by Crater Lake Hospitality to design and build the new boats for Oregon's only national park. The company began construction in February 2023. Each boat was built with a strong focus on Crater Lake and the National Park's foundational beliefs to protect wildlife and park lands, to preserve history and culture, and to connect people through an educational, up-close and personal experience. Each Katanacraft boat reflects the company's commitment to craft a boat that is not only safe for passengers, but also eco-friendly. Katanacraft CEO Travis Hamlyn said they are honored that their passion for building cutting-edge boats has allowed them to be part of Crater Lake history.
Posted on 6/24/23 5:39AM by Sam Marsh
 

Medford BLM District Joins USFS and ODF in Raising Fire Danger to Moderate
The Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management has joined the US Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry in raising fire danger to "moderate." As of 12:01 a.m. today, the BLM has implemented public use restrictions on the lands it manages in Josephine and Jackson counties. Certain activities on BLM lands in Southern Oregon are now restricted to prevent human-caused fire and to reduce the overall wildfire potential. BLM officials said the heightened fire danger level is due to an increase in natural and human-caused fires as well as the approaching 4th of July holiday weekend. Starting today, campfires are only allowed at the Hyatt Lake Campground and the lower section of the Rogue River below the high-water mark. In all other areas, visitors can use portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels. Otherwise, campfires or any other type of open fire -- including the use of charcoal briquettes -- is prohibited. Operating a motor vehicle and off-road parking is only allowed on roadways clear of flammable vegetation. Smoking is only allowed while inside a vehicle or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is clear of vegetation. The use of fireworks, exploding targets or tracer ammunition is prohibited. Using a chainsaw or other equipment with internal combustion engines for felling, bucking, skidding, wood cutting or any other operation is prohibited between the hours of 1 and 8 p.m. as are welding or operating a torch with an open flame. A firewatch of at least one hour is required following the use of a saw. Visitors to BLM-managed public lands are also required to carry tools with them to ensure small fires can be put out quickly including a shovel, axe and at least one gallon of water or a 2.5-pound fire extinguisher. Violation of these restrictions can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.
Posted on 6/23/23 11:12AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Captured Felon on CA and OR Fugitive Warrants after Bicycle Chase
Grants Pass Police captured a man wanted on out-of-state and statewide fugitive warrants following the pursuit of a bicyclist at the shopping center late last night. The Police Department reports officers eventually arrested 43-year-old Eric Wayne Beck at an apartment complex off NE D Street on Thursday at 11:45 p.m.. Police said they spotted Beck riding a bicycle on NE F Street and he performed what they called "a very odd evasive maneuver." When officers tried to stop him at the Grants Pass Shopping Center, he eluded them by cutting through breezeways, doubling back and hiding in D Street apartment complexes. Beck reportedly ditched his bike and tried to flee on foot, but he tripped and was placed into custody at Taser point. A records check revealed that he was wanted on a California Department of Corrections warrant for Parole Violation stemming from a drug possession conviction as well as an Oregon State warrant for Felony Parole Violation. He was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Eric Beck was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the no-bail warrants along with new charges of Attempt to Elude Police and the narcotics violations. The meth was seized for destruction. The bicycle and his personal belongings were entered into safekeeping.
Posted on 6/23/23 11:09AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Cited and Trespassed Woman after Her Dog Attacked Officer at Park
Grants Pass Police cited a woman and kicked her out of a city park late yesterday after her dog attacked an officer. According to the Police Department, the incident at Fruitdale Park on Hamilton Lane occurred on Thursday at about 4:45 p.m.. Police said they responded to a report of several tents that were set up too close to pickleball courts with trash scattered around them. An officer contacted some of the campers to advise them of the new ordinance when a pitbull dog attacked the officer, latched onto his thigh, damaged his uniform pants and drew blood. The officer was not seriously injured and provided first aid to himself after the incident. An investigation determined the dog belonged to Alicia Coltrane. She was cited for Nuisance Animal, excluded from the park for 30 days and the dog was impounded by Josephine County Animal Control. Earlier in the day at Fruitdale Park, police educated several people regarding the new park rules. Amber Rockwell was cited for Scattering Rubbish and her camp was posted.
Posted on 6/23/23 11:08AM by Sam Marsh
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Woman Wanted on Jackson County Felony Warrants Surrendered to GP Police
A woman wanted on two local felony warrants turned herself in at the Grants Pass Police Department yesterday. Grants Pass Police arrested 43-year-old Kelly Melissa Flick at their headquarters on NE 7th Street around 3:25 p.m. Thursday. Police said Flick was wanted on two Jackson County warrants for failing to appear in court for alleged crimes including Felony Attempt to Elude Police, Possession of Methamphetamine, Disorderly Conduct, Offensive Littering and Criminal Trespass. They said she surrendered without incident. Kelly Flick was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrants. She told the arresting officer that she did not want to go to the Jackson County Jail because they "hurt" her. She did not provide the officer with any specifics.
Posted on 6/23/23 11:07AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Snared Shoplifters at Downtown Safeway & Grange Stores
Grants Pass Police arrested at least two shoplifters on Thursday -- one at the downtown Safeway and the other at Grange Co-op. The Police Department reports the first incident occurred at 6:20 a.m. yesterday when officers responded to a theft complaint at the supermarket on SE 7th Street. Police said 34-year-old Jesse Shawn Johnson concealed two cans of alcoholic beverages in his hoodie and went past all points of sale without paying. They contacted him nearby a short time later and lodged him at the Josephine County Jail for 3rd-Degree Theft. The second incident happened at 4:15 p.m. yesterday when officers responded to a theft complaint at the store on West Schutzwohl Lane. Police said 36-year-old Tiffany Ann Shaw selected $85 worth of merchandise at the co-op, removed barcode tags and bypassed all points of sale while leaving. They contacted her in the parking lot, placed her into custody and lodged her in jail for 3rd-Degree Theft. Johnson was trespassed from Safeway and Shaw was trespassed from the Grange.
Posted on 6/23/23 11:05AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Man Arrested for Impaired Driving after OSP Stop on Redwood Highway
A Grants Pass man was arrested for impaired driving last night following a traffic stop on Redwood Highway near Rogue Community College. The Oregon State Police reports troopers pulled over a Chevrolet Malibu driven by 26-year-old Raul Sanchez-Lopez on US Highway 199 near Midway Avenue on Thursday at 8:32 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped Sanchez-Lopez for failing to maintain a travel lane and they observed obvious signs of impairment. The suspect refused to participate in field sobriety tests, so he was transported to Three Rivers Medical Center for a legal blood draw that documented a high level of impairment by alcohol. Sanchez-Lopez was subsequently lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Reckless Driving. His car was impounded.
Posted on 6/23/23 11:04AM by Sam Marsh
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MPD Detectives Still Investigating Weekend Shooting near Cedar Links Park
The Medford Police Department is investigating a shooting that injured at least one person near an eastside park last weekend. Last Saturday morning at 1:20 a.m., MPD officers responded to reports of shots fired in the area of Cedar Links Park in east Medford. Multiple neighbors called in the incident. Upon arrival, officers located multiple involved subjects and learned that one victim had been transported by a private party to a local hospital with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. MPD detectives responded to the scene and have been working the case since that time. At this point, detectives are working to identify suspects and track down witnesses. Detectives have shared a photo of a vehicle to engage the public in identifying or locating possible suspects. It is described as a light-colored 2013 to 2018 Ford Fusion with dark-colored rims and a sunroof. A photo of the vehicle is available on the MPD Facebook page. If you believe you know whose vehicle this is or the location of the vehicle, MPD is encouraging citizens to contact Detective Patrick Dennis at (541)-774-2242.
Posted on 6/23/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh
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JMET Arrested Suspect in Raid on Illegal Marijuana Grow in the Illinois Valley
The Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) arrested one suspect while dismantling an illegal cannabis growing operation in the Illinois Valley this week. On Wednesday, JMET -- assisted by Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) and Josephine County Public Health & Building Safety -- served a search warrant in the 3,000-block of Waldo Road near Cave Junction. During execution of the warrant, more than 5,900 marijuana plants and 15 pounds of processed marijuana were seized and destroyed. Several firearms were seized as well. The property had multiple water and solid waste code violations that could result in the criminal forfeiture of the property. According to JMET, 38-year-old Andres Guizar Contreras was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Manufacture of Marijuana, Unlawful Possession of Marijuana and Unlawful Appropriation of Water. Detectives said no further details are being released at this time as the investigation is ongoing.
Posted on 6/23/23 6:16AM by Sam Marsh
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Sheriff's Office Seeks Public Assistance in Locating Missing Grants Pass Man
UPDATE: Shannon Beckett has been located.

The Josephine County Sheriff's Office was seeking public assistance in locating a missing Grants Pass area man. According to a press release, 53-year-old Shannon Dixon Beckett was reported missing on June 22nd after he was last seen by his family on June 19th. Deputies said Beckett walked to the store from his residence on Barbara Drive in the Fort Vannoy area, but he did not return. They said he was spotted in downtown Grants Pass on June 20th. Shannon Beckett is described as a white male adult, 6-feet-1-inches tall and 190 pounds with black hair, a graying beard and brown eyes. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is encouraged to call the Sheriff's Office at (541)-474-5123.
Posted on 6/23/23 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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