Local News

Medford Fire Department Launches Emergency Medical Services Squad
The Medford Fire Department recently launched the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Squad Program. This innovative program -- which includes a two-person crew -- addresses the growing demand for medical and good-intent calls through a cost-effective solution that increases engine availability for critical needs while improving overall EMS system reliability. Medford Fire Chief Eric Thompson said with over 83% of calls for service being good-intent calls, it has become essential to enhance their response capabilities and reduce wait times for residents. Medford Fire-Rescue is dedicated to improving its emergency medical services and ensuring the community receives the care they need in a timely and efficient manner. The need for this program was identified in the Medford City Council-approved Fire Strategic Plan, a comprehensive road map designed to enhance fire services and community safety.
Posted on 11/6/23 6:16AM by Sam Marsh
 

Authorities Captured 3 Suspects in Nationwide Retail Crime Ring at GP Shopping Center
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Grants Pass Police jailed three suspects in a nationwide organized retail crime ring after a shoplifting incident at Ross Dress 4 Less late last week. The Police Department reports 47-year-old Jose Vargas-Reyes, 45-year-old Juan Vargas-Reyes and 47-year-old Monica Valencia-Torres were arrested at the store in the Grants Pass Shopping Center on Friday at about 10:40 a.m.. Police said corporate investigators with Ross were surveilling the Grants Pass store for thieves involved in organized retail crime. They said the suspects began their crime spree in California and it was known they were traveling north on I-5. After spotting the suspects, store detectives contacted GPPD and officers swooped in, searched the store and placed the suspects into custody. According to the report, the three suspects are Mexican nationals operating out of California. The trio used Spandex undergarments to conceal numerous amounts of clothing, fragrances and other items from the store. Their Ford Explorer was found parked near Harbor Freight and it contained more stolen merchandise from their theft operation. The retail amount of the items was estimated to be over $10,000.
Posted on 11/6/23 6:14AM by Sam Marsh
 

GP and Josephine County Voters Deciding Two Law Enforcement Funding Measures
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Voters in Grants Pass and Josephine County are deciding whether to support two measures that would fund local law enforcement in Tuesday's election. Grants Pass residents are voting on Measure 17-114, which is a five-year renewal of a $1.79 local option tax that has funded city police and fire services for over 10 years. Josephine County residents are voting on Measure 17-115, which is a permanent taxing district to fund the Sheriff's Office at 99 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value. The City of Cave Junction is included. Grants Pass is not. So far, voter turnout has been low for these important law enforcement issues. The Josephine County Clerk's Office reported late Friday that the turnout was around 22.5%, with just over 22% of the ballots accepted. Voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to drop off completed ballots at designated drop-boxes or to place them in the mail before midnight in order to receive a November 7th postmark.
Posted on 11/6/23 6:12AM by Sam Marsh
 

New Art Installation in Downtown GP Honors 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion
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To kick off First Friday in downtown Grants Pass last week, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Chamber of Commerce at a new historic art piece at the corner of 5th and H streets. The new installation sits at the northeast sidewalk corner and it commemorates one of Oregon's most significant World War II stories. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion was a segregated unit of African American soldiers who were given the opportunity to work as airborne soldiers. They were dispatched to Oregon to work as smokejumpers, fighting fires started by balloon bombs that were sent over the state by Japan. Because of the role this battalion played in World War II, the 555th was one of the first military units to be integrated. Members of the Smokejumper Museum were at the dedication ceremony to share stories and artifacts about this important part of our community's history.
Posted on 11/6/23 6:10AM by Sam Marsh
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Medford Detectives Arrest White City Man after Investigation into 2017 Murder
The Medford Police Department has arrested a White City man for a homicide that occurred nearly six years ago. MPD detectives arrested 27-year-old Raul Meza-Solorio for the 2017 murder of Christian Barajas, who was 23 years old at the time. On the day before Thanksgiving 2017, MPD officers were dispatched to a drive-by shooting in the 300-block of Chestnut Street. Officers arrived at the scene less than two minutes after the call and found Barajas deceased on the side of the road. The results of an autopsy indicated Barajas had been shot four times, resulting in his death. Over the next several days, investigators interviewed numerous people and obtained video surveillance of the events leading up to the deadly encounter. Detectives said Meza-Solorio was identified early in the investigation as a person of interest. Search warrants were executed at his home and the vehicle believed to be involved in the shooting, but there was insufficient evidence to make an arrest. Uncooperative witnesses would not divulge key information, so the investigation went cold. The case has remained a top priority for MPD for the past six years. Over the last several months, new information was discovered that implicated Meza-Solorio as the sole suspect in the homicide. This information led detectives to the 3,000-block of Avenue C in White City where the suspect was arrested. Raul Meza-Solorio was interviewed and then lodged at the Jackson County Jail on a single charge of 2nd-Degree Murder. The family of Christian Barajas has been notified of the arrest. The Jackson County District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case for prosecution.
Posted on 11/4/23 5:41AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Man Jailed for Multiple Crimes after He Assaulted Officer Investigating ROV
A Grants Pass man was jailed for multiple crimes this week after he assaulted a police officer who was investigating an alleged restraining order violation. The Grants Pass Police Department reports 51-year-old William Henrey Beshears, II, was arrested outside a Redwood Avenue bar on Thursday night. Police said a woman called 9-1-1 to report that she was the protected party in an active restraining order with Beshears as the respondent. Beshears was prohibited from having any contact with the woman, but he reportedly sent her a letter. He was known to frequent the bar, so he was contacted there and denied ever sending the letter. With evidence that Beshears did send the letter, officers told Beshears he was under arrest before he was placed in handcuffs and escorted to a patrol vehicle. That's when he put his foot on the side step and head-butted an officer before the officer took him to the ground by using a hip toss maneuver. Additional officers arrived on scene to help secure the suspect. William Beshears was subsequently lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony Assault on a Public Safety Officer, Resisting Arrest and Contempt of Court-Restraining Order Violation. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 11/4/23 5:40AM by Sam Marsh
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Police Recovered Stolen Vehicle and Arrested Driver in Patrol Check near GPHS
Grants Pass Police recovered a stolen vehicle out of Coos Bay and arrested the driver during a patrol check at an apartment complex near the high school early yesterday. The Police Department reports officers located the stolen vehicle and placed 35-year-old Rodney Paul Yeiter, II, into custody in the 800-block of NE A Street early Friday morning. Police said Yeiter initially refused to speak with officers and he walked away, but he returned with a vehicle title that appeared to be fake because the identification numbers did not match. The registered owner of the vehicle was contacted and reported that her house was recently burglarized with her three cars and more than $200,000 in valuables taken. The original plates on the stolen vehicle were missing. Rodney Yeiter was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. He was being held without bail pending further investigation. The vehicle was hauled away by Oregon Towing and the owner was provided with a case number and tow information over the phone.
Posted on 11/4/23 5:39AM by Sam Marsh
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Friday Morning Commercial Vehicle Crash Shut Down Southbound Lanes of I-5
Multiple local emergency agencies responded to a commercial vehicle crash that blocked the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Gold Hill early yesterday. On Friday at 5:50 a.m., Jackson County Fire District #1, the Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Transportation were dispatched to the single-vehicle rollover crash on I-5 near milepost 42. Arriving units found an overturned tanker blocking both southbound travel lanes. Crews were able to determine that the tanker was carrying liquidized hydrogen in the trailer. Fortunately, there were no leaks coming from the tanks. With the assistance of OSP and ODOT, crews were able to shut down the south lanes of the freeway and redirect traffic to ensure a safe working zone and to reduce the risk of harm to bystanders. District #1 firefighters remained on scene until the semi could be safely removed by a heavy wrecker from Goodfellas Towing. Crews had hose lines in place in case of a fire. The crash scene was turned over to OSP and ODOT at 9:05 a.m.. The truck was removed and I-5 was reopened.
Posted on 11/4/23 5:29AM by Sam Marsh
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Drive Carefully on State Highways - It's Peak Migration Time for Wild Animals
Vehicle collisions with deer and elk tend to peak in the fall months of October and November. This is when migration and breeding puts them on the move, making them more likely to cross roads. Fewer daylight hours and rainy weather also reduce drivers' visibility. Each year, Oregon Department of Transportation crews remove about 6,000 carcasses of deer struck and killed by vehicles near Oregon's public roadways. Many more die away from highways or on county, city and private roads. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife research with GPS collars shows mule deer faithfully follow their migratory route, no matter how many roads or other obstacles get put in the way. They often have no choice but to cross roads to get to food and shelter. This is also the time of year when the most road-killed deer and elk are salvaged for meat. If you hit a deer or elk or see one that is struck, don't forget that you must fill out a free permit and turn the head in within five days so ODFW can test for Chronic Wasting Disease.
Posted on 11/4/23 5:27AM by Sam Marsh
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State Geologists Urge Local Residents to Be Alert for Landslides Across SW Oregon
The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for portions of Josephine, eastern Curry and Del Norte counties for today. The watch is in effect through this afternoon. Heavy rain may result in landslides in areas of steep terrain as well as debris flows in and near burned areas from recent wildfires including the Smith River Complex. Debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides. They can contain boulders and logs transported in a fast-moving soil and water slurry down steep hillsides and through narrow canyons. They can easily travel a mile or more. A debris flow moves faster than a person can run. People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk. This includes the area from the southern Illinois Valley south to Gasquet, California, including US Highway 199. If your home, work or route is in a Fast Flood Watch area, stay alert, track the watch through media or online and if told to evacuate, do so immediately.
Posted on 11/4/23 5:13AM by Sam Marsh
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GP and Josephine County Voters Deciding 2 Law Enforcement Funding Measures
Voters in Grants Pass and Josephine County are deciding whether to support two measures that would fund local law enforcement in next Tuesday's election. Grants Pass residents are voting on Measure 17-114, which is a five-year renewal of a $1.79 local option tax that has funded city police and fire services for over 10 years. Josephine County residents are voting on Measure 17-115, which is a permanent taxing district to fund the Sheriff's Office at 99 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value. The City of Cave Junction is included. Grants Pass is not. So far, voter turnout has been low for these important law enforcement issues. The Josephine County Clerk's Office reported late Thursday that the turnout was about 22.5%, with just over 22% of the ballots accepted. Voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to place their postage-free ballots in the mail or to drop them off at designated drop-boxes throughout Josephine County.
Posted on 11/4/23 5:11AM by Sam Marsh
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New Art Installation in Downtown GP Honors 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion
To kick off First Friday in downtown Grants Pass, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Chamber of Commerce at a new historic art piece at the corner of 5th and H streets late yesterday. The new installation sits at the northeast sidewalk corner and it commemorates one of Oregon's most significant World War II stories. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion was a segregated unit of African American recruits who were given the opportunity to work as airborne soldiers. They were dispatched to Oregon to work as smokejumpers, fighting fires started by balloon bombs that were sent over the state by Japan. Because of the role this battalion played in World War II, the 555th was one of the first military units to be integrated. Members of the Smokejumper Museum were at the dedication ceremony to share stories and artifacts about this important part of our community's history.
Posted on 11/4/23 5:10AM by Sam Marsh
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