Local News

ODF Firefighters Extinguished Small Blaze Off Highway 140 near Eagle Point
The Oregon Department of Forestry knocked down a small fire just off Highway 140 in the Eagle Point area yesterday. On Thursday morning, ODF crews were dispatched to the fire near milepost 13 of Highway 140 northwest of the unincorporated community of Lake Creek. ODF officials said the fire was burning slowly next to the highway and firefighters had it extinguished in short order. Additional engines were called in to assist with mop-up. By 1:15 p.m., crews had completed 95% of the fire line on the perimeter and the blaze was 80% mopped up. ODF said the fire was stopped at 2.5 acres and its cause was under investigation. ODF was assisted by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, which provided traffic control while the scene was active.
Posted on 6/2/23 6:28AM by Sam Marsh

"Gold Dust Days" Annual Heritage Celebration in City of Gold Hill is Saturday
Saturday will be a big day in Gold Hill -- it's the Gold Dust Days Annual Heritage Celebration. The Gold Hill Community Development Organization -- in partnership with the City of Gold Hill -- has planned a full day of activities and events that will be fun for the whole family. The Gold Dust Days Parade starts at 10 a.m. from Patrick Elementary School to downtown Gold Hill in front of the library. The parade features a combined marching band from Hanby and Scenic Middle Schools. The street fair at the end of the parade will include food booths, a car and motorcycle show-off event and "live" music from Calamity Jane along with Arabella Belle's Victorian Circus, Miss Annie's puppet show and face-painting. The International Order of Oddfellows has breakfast at 7 a.m. that is open to the public and the Gold Hill Historical Society will be open all day.
Posted on 6/2/23 6:26AM by Sam Marsh

Forum Highlights Problems Along with Search for Solutions to Homeless in GP City Parks
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The City of Grants Pass hosted a community forum last night to share information and answer questions about the unhoused population in municipal parks and other public spaces. Grants Pass City Manager Aaron Cubic served as facilitator, directing questions to City Attorney Augustus Ogu, Police Chief Warren Hensman and Police Captain Todd Moran. The City is currently under an injunction from the 9th Circuit Court -- Blake vs. Grants Pass -- plus the state has passed House Bills 3115 and 3124 that have instituted a 72-hour notice of required movement and which reinforce the 8th Amendment that asserts the right to be warm and dry with rudimentary protection from the elements. Prior to the reopening of Riverside Park on June 22nd, the City is contemplating code changes that comply with the injunction. Some enforceable codes include the illegal consumption of alcohol, harassment, smoking, fighting, leash laws and failure to clean up after a pet. Additional changes likely to be implemented are disorderly conduct, possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, defecation and urination, plus restrictions on the possession of propane tanks in the park. The City may be able prohibit any tents east of Caveman Bridge. The City may also be able to restrict the number of tents in a certain area.
Posted on 6/2/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh

Grants Pass School Board Approves Plan to Restructure Debt and Free Up $ for Projects
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The Grants Pass School Board has approved a plan to restructure some of District 7's debt, which will free up about $12 million to make necessary safety and facility upgrades over the next couple of years. Grants Pass Schools Superintendent Tim Sweeney said approximately $40 million worth of upgrades need to be completed to maintain District 7 schools and this $12 million will go a long way in addressing some of those needs. The district will begin taking care of some of those needs this summer including fencing upgrades at Redwood, Highland, Allen Dale and North, but the majority of the work will need to be completed during the summer of 2024. The superintendent said the money is earmarked for repairing and replacing roofs, addressing water damage and other safety upgrades. According to Sweeney, there is still about $28 million more in projects that need to be addressed. However, he said the majority of State School Fund dollars cover staffing costs and day-to-day operations, not major facility maintenance projects. To that end, District 7 is looking to create a bond committee in the near future with a goal of going out for a bond in 2025. If successful, the school district hopes to secure an $8 million matching grant through the state School Capital Improvement Match program.
Posted on 6/2/23 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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Free Camping, Day Use and Fishing This Weekend to Celebrate Oregon State Parks Day
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Celebrate State Parks Day with free parking and free RV and tent site camping at all Oregon State Parks on Saturday as well as special events at selected parks. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will waive day-use parking fees at the 25 locations that charge them both Saturday and Sunday. OPRD will also waive camping fees for all tent, RV and horse campsites on Saturday only. State Parks Day has been a tradition since 1998 as a way to thank Oregonians for their support of the state park system over many decades. Valley of the Rogue State Park along Interstate 5 near the City of Rogue River is hosting a Veterans' Powwow on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The event includes a powwow ceremony with guard dancing and vendor booths. It's open to all military veterans, tribal members or not. Everyone can also fish, clam and crab for free in Oregon on Saturday and Sunday as part of the most popular free fishing weekend on the calendar. Both Oregon residents and nonresidents can fish for free.
Posted on 6/2/23 6:13AM by Sam Marsh
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Two Jailed for Warrants and More after Driver Rammed Sheriff's Patrol Vehicle
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed two people for outstanding warrants and more yesterday after the driver rammed a patrol vehicle while trying to elude deputies near the Grants Pass Airport. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies eventually arrested 43-year-old Christopher Michael Owens and 29-year-old Halle Ariel Anderson at gunpoint in the 200-block of Brookside Boulevard on Wednesday around 4 p.m.. Deputies said they stopped a vehicle driven by Owens and occupied by Anderson for a traffic violation. A patrol vehicle was positioned behind the suspect vehicle near some concrete poles. The driver responded by ramming the patrol vehicle and causing extensive damage. He was placed into custody after trying to flee on foot. Owens was wanted on an Oregon State Parole Board warrant for Parole Violation stemming from convictions for attempting to elude police and narcotics activity. He was additionally charged with Felony Attempt to Elude Police and Felony 1st-Degree Criminal Mischief before being lodged at the Josephine County Jail. Anderson was wanted on a Josephine County felony warrant for Parole Violation stemming from a conviction for Hindering Prosecution as well as a Douglas County felony warrant for failing to appear in court for Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. She was also lodged at the adult jail facility.
Posted on 6/1/23 11:01AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Felon for Warrants, Other Crimes after Wednesday Night Chase
Grants Pass Police jailed a man on outstanding warrants and for additional crimes last night after he tried to run away from officers at a local apartment complex. The Police Department reports officers arrested 33-year-old Anthony Wayne Teal at the Jade East Apartments on NE D Street on Wednesday at 8:51 p.m.. A Taser was deployed to place the suspect into custody. Police said Teal was involved in a disturbance at the apartments and he was known to be wanted on statewide and local felony warrants. When a marked patrol unit arrived, Teal decided to run and a pursuit was initiated. As Teal attempted to flee, a concerned citizen intervened and caused the suspect to fall to the ground. He stood up and tried to flee again, but he was Tased and subdued. Teal was wanted on an Oregon State Parole Board warrant for Parole Violation stemming from a burglary conviction along with a Grants Pass felony warrant that listed crimes of 3rd-Degree Robbery, Identity Theft, 1st-Degree Forgery, Criminal Possession of a Forgery Device and Petty Theft. He was additionally charged with probable cause of Felon in Possession of a Weapon, Carrying a Concealed Weapon and Escape from a unrelated case. Anthony Teal was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 6/1/23 10:59AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Man Arrested for Trespassing at Coin Dealership and Threatening Workers
A Grants Pass man was arrested for trespassing at a downtown coin dealership on Wednesday. Grants Pass Police responded to a trespassing complaint involving 29-year-old Kraig Dean Toothman at Burton's Rare Coins on SE I Street shortly after 11 a.m. yesterday. Police said Toothman had previously been trespassed from the coin store and he threatened the store owner with violence during a drug-fueled argument. No one was injured, but the owner advised the suspect had been aggressive toward his co-workers in the past and he wanted him banned from the premises. Kraig Toothman was placed into custody and lodged in jail for Criminal Trespass.
Posted on 6/1/23 10:58AM by Sam Marsh
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Troopers Snared 2 Motorists for Impaired Driving in GP Area Wednesday Night
The Oregon State Police arrested two motorists for impaired driving in the Grants Pass area last night. According to OSP, the first incident occurred on Wednesday at 9:02 p.m. when state troopers pulled over a Toyota Tacoma driven by 32-year-old Jorge Leonardo Ruelas on the Grants Pass Parkway near SE M Street. Troopers said the off-duty Talent Police Chief alerted OSP that she was driving on Interstate 5 behind a possibly impaired driver. They located the suspect, stopped him, conducted an investigation and placed him into custody. Jorge Ruelas was transported to the Grants Pass Sobering Center where he provided a breath sample that was exactly twice the legal driving limit. He was lodged for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and his vehicle was impounded. The second incident last night happened at 10:44 p.m. when troopers responded to a single-vehicle crash in the 2200-block of Rogue River Highway. A Dodge Ram pickup driven by 26-year-old Kayci Rose Ross went out of control and collided with a driveway ditch and fence. Troopers said Ross was not hurt, but she showed obvious signs of impairment at the scene. They said she performed poorly in field sobriety tests and was taken to the Sobering Center where she provided a breath sample that was more than twice the legal driving limit. Ross was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for DUII-Alcohol and Reckless Driving. Her heavily-damaged vehicle was impounded.
Posted on 6/1/23 10:56AM by Sam Marsh
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Motorcyclist Hurt in Rogue River Highway Crash While Trying to Pass Pickup
A motorcyclist was injured yesterday when he crashed into another vehicle on Rogue River Highway in south Grants Pass. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency crews responded to the two-vehicle collision near milepost 1 of Highway 99 on Wednesday at 3 p.m.. State troopers said 29-year-old Ryan Michael Thomas Colpitts was riding a Kawasaki motorcycle when he tried to pass a Ford F-150 driven by 31-year-old Charles Tyler Tappan on a double yellow line. They said Colpitts crashed into the side of the pickup. According to OSP, Colpitts was transported by ambulance to Three Rivers Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries. Tappan was not hurt. Both the motorcycle and the pickup sustained damage and were towed away. It was unclear in the OSP report whether Colpitts was cited for passing in a no-passing zone.
Posted on 6/1/23 10:54AM by Sam Marsh
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ODF & Jackson County Firefighters Halted Blaze on Highway 227 near Trail
The Oregon Department of Forestry and Jackson County Fire District #4 halted a grass fire in the Trail area late yesterday. On Wednesday afternoon, ODF and Jackson County crews responded to the grass fire in the 3800-block of Highway 227 north of Trail and Shady Cove. Arriving units found the blaze to be around two acres in size and they ordered more resources including ODF engines and a bulldozer. By 5:15 p.m., crews had stopped the forward progression of the fire at 3.25 acres while knocking down all active flames and lining the perimeter. An additional engine and water tender were brought in to assist in mop-up operations that lasted into the evening hours. ODF officials said the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Posted on 6/1/23 10:53AM by Sam Marsh
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Sheriff's Investigators Incarcerated Man for Online Sex Crimes with Teenage Girl
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office has jailed a man for sex crimes involving a teenage girl. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies arrested 25-year-old Layzon V. Tello on May 30th at Riverside Park in Grants Pass. On May 25th, the Sheriff's Office received information regarding an adult male attempting to communicate with a minor female via an online source. Based on the content of the messages that included explicit images and video of the male subject, deputies began investigating the male who was identified as Tello. After Tello described what his intentions were, he told the teenage girl that he wanted to meet her at Riverside Park on Tuesday. When Tello arrived at the park and exited his vehicle, deputies were in place to make contact with him. Layzon Tello was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail on charges of Luring a Minor, 1st-Degree Online Corruption and 2nd-Degree Online Corruption.
Posted on 6/1/23 6:48AM by Sam Marsh
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