Local News

GP City Park Dwellers Excluded from Facilities for Violating Ordinances
At least five Grants Pass park dwellers were looking for other places to live after being cited for violating city ordinances yesterday. The Grants Pass Police Department reports the first incident occurred Wednesday at 9:26 a.m. at Fruitdale Park when officers contacted Andrew Urenda and Cassie Sinks at their tent. Police said they had received complaints that Urenda and Sinks had trash strewn around their campsite. Both were cited for Scattering Rubbish and Illegal Camping because their camp had been posted on April 29th. They were trespassed from Fruitdale Park for the next 30 days. The second incident happened during the noon hour Wednesday when officers contacted Heather Dixon, John Bowley and Jack Doak at Riverside Park. Dixon was cited for Scattering Rubbish, Bowley was cited for Methamphetamine Possession and Doak was cited for Unlicensed Dogs. All three were trespassed from the park for 30 days. A total of 24 campsites were posted at Riverside Park yesterday and an e-mail was sent to the United Community Action Network.
Posted on 5/4/23 11:00AM by Sam Marsh

California Man Died in Weekend Crash on Interstate 5 near Siskiyou Summit
A California man died in a motor vehicle accident on Interstate 5 near the Siskiyou Summit last weekend. The Oregon State Police reported Wednesday that troopers and emergency crews were dispatched to the two-vehicle crash near milepost 1 of I-5 in Jackson County on Sunday at approximately 3 a.m.. Troopers said a preliminary investigation indicates a Chevrolet Venture occupied by 55-year-old Javier Leon Guerrero of Sacramento was parked on the shoulder of I-5 with the occupant sleeping inside. A Volvo commercial vehicle and trailer driven by 31-year-old Rajabov Shokhrukh of La Mesa, California, was traveling on the north shoulder when it crashed into the back the parked Chevrolet. According to OSP, Guerrero was declared deceased at the scene while the operator of the semi-truck was uninjured. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. OSP was assisted by the Jackson County Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR) team, Ashland Police Department, Ashland Fire & Rescue, Cal Fire and Oregon Department of Transportation.
Posted on 5/4/23 6:44AM by Sam Marsh

Deputies Collared GP Man on Local Warrants after Riessen Road Disturbance
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office apprehended a Grants Pass man wanted on six local warrants in the Azalea Drive area early yesterday. According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies arrested 60-year-old Jerry Don Cooper, Jr., at a residence in the 300-block of Riessen Road on Wednesday at 12:55 a.m.. Deputies said they responded to a disturbance at the home and contacted Cooper who was found to be wanted on three felony warrants and three misdemeanor warrants issued by the Sheriff's Office. No other information on the disturbance was disclosed. Charges against Cooper include failing to appear in court for four counts of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender and two counts of Methamphetamine Possession, plus single counts of 4th-Degree Domestic Assault and Reckless Driving. Jerry Cooper was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail without bail.
Posted on 5/4/23 6:42AM by Sam Marsh

Firefighters Extinguished Roadside Blaze Off Williams Highway near Murphy
A roadside fire on Williams Highway near Murphy yesterday brought multiple calls from concerned citizens. On Wednesday at 1:44 p.m., Rural Metro Fire Department was dispatched to the reported blaze in the 5900-block of Highway 238. Arriving units found flames consuming about 1/10th of an acre of grass, brush and trees. The fire was quickly contained and traffic passed through the area with minimal delays. Rural Metro received assistance from the Applegate Valley Fire District and Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office, who happened to be in the area. Rural Metro officials said a vehicle with mechanical problems was pulled over near the fire, but it was undetermined if that was directly related to the incident. They said the exact cause of the fire remains unknown. Officials said the fire behavior observed revealed that grass and brush that is already dry and dead can easily spread flames -- despite the rain that fell early yesterday and the day before.
Posted on 5/4/23 6:31AM by Sam Marsh
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RR-Siskiyou National Forest Moving into Industrial Fire Precautions Monday
The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has announced it is moving into Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) 1 and a Low Fire Danger Rating early next week. Forest officials said fire precaution requirements will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday. A fire watch or security of one hour minimum will be required at this and all other IFPLs unless otherwise waived by the local forest. Rogue-Siskiyou Fire Officer Dan Quinones said although they still have snow at some of the higher elevations, the forest has plenty of areas that are starting to dry out. He said there has been a wide variety of local weather conditions to consider with this decision and they feel it's appropriate to move into a precautionary phase. There are no public use restrictions associated with the Low Fire Danger Rating. For more information on IFPL level definitions, go to "tinyurl.com/4rhctxee."
Posted on 5/4/23 6:30AM by Sam Marsh
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Permits for Spring Burn Window in GP Now Available Online or In-Person
Permits for the Spring Open Burn Window in Grants Pass are now available. The Spring Open Burn Window starts Saturday and runs through May 14th. Grants Pass residents can apply for their burn permits on line or in-person. Permits are offered through Grants Pass Fire Community Connect at "sizeup.firstduesizeup.com/cc/grants/auth/signin." Just sign up and receive your permit online. Permits are also available in-person at 800 East Park Street. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. Burning is only allowed if the DEQ Ventilation Index for the local airshed is 400 or greater. It is the responsibility of each person to check the index before burning. The most up-to-date information is available by calling the Burn Control Line at (541)-476-9663 and choosing Option 3 after 7 a.m.. The burn information is typically announced on KAJO Radio several times each day before that. For more information, call the Grants Pass Fire Prevention Bureau at (541)-450-6200.
Posted on 5/4/23 6:28AM by Sam Marsh
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GP City Council Holds Short Meeting Before Hearing Citizen Complaints about Local Parks
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The Grants Pass City Council held a public hearing before approving an ordinance, approving a resolution and making three appointments to the Historical Buildings & Sites Commission in just 32 minutes last night. Then the Council heard a parade of unhappy citizens asking for help to reclaim city parks from the homeless encampments that lasted an hour and ten minutes. During public comment, 30 citizens relayed to the City Council their feelings -- 25 of them concerned about lawlessness, drug use and sanitary conditions in city parks. Before that, the Council unanimously approved an ordinance amending the Grants Pass Development Code to eliminate the tree deposit for final plat applicants that could cost developers up to $500 per lot. The City Council had only one item on their action agenda -- it was a resolution consenting to the inclusion of city territory in the proposed formation of the Josephine County Road Service District. There would be no cost implication to the city, but it could potentially free approximately $600,000 for the County's general fund. The resolution passed unanimously. In other business, the panel reappointed Arden McConnell to the Historical Buildings & Sites Commission. Two citizen-at-large positions on the commission were filled by Cynthia Charat and Sam Marsh.
Posted on 5/4/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh
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Local Residents Invited to Participate in Wildfire Community Preparedness Day Event
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Southern Oregon residents are invited to prepare for the 2023 fire season on Saturday, which is Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. The first Saturday in May is designated as Wildfire Community Preparedness Day to encourage people, neighborhoods and organizations to come together on a single day to take action to raise awareness and reduce wildfire risks. Wildfire Community Preparedness Day also highlights the importance of the Firewise Communities program. Locally, the event is being sponsored by the Rogue Valley Fire Prevention Cooperative in partnership with Republic Services and Southern Oregon Sanitation (SOS). To help you get rid of the material you remove when creating defensible space around your home, several organizations in Josephine and Jackson counties are waiving fees for free green and woody debris drop-off. The Merlin Transfer Station at 1749 Merlin Road will accept green and woody debris from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The SOS Transfer Station at 1381 Redwood Avenue will be open Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Proof of Josephine County residency is required.
Posted on 5/4/23 6:13AM by Sam Marsh
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Three Grants Pass High School Students Heading Abroad This Summer in CIEE Program
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Three Grants Pass High School students are heading abroad this summer through the Council on International Education & Exchange (CIEE) program. GPHS students Addisyn Knight and Sydney Wright will be going to Morocco for a language and culture immersion program. Amina Bilal will be going to Ireland to learn about leadership, social justice and making a difference in her community. The Council on International Educational Exchange is a non-profit organization promoting international education and exchange. It was founded in 1947 and is based in the United States. The three- and four-week programs include 50 hours of community service and, for some, the opportunity to earn college credits. Only 10 students in the entire state of Oregon received full scholarships to attend the CIEE summer opportunity. Project Youth+ helped our local students navigate the application process and the necessary paperwork. Congratulations to Addisyn, Sydney and Amina!
Posted on 5/4/23 6:11AM by Sam Marsh
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Citizens Voice Displeasure on Homeless Campers in City Parks
The Grants Pass City Council finished their Wednesday night business session agenda, dealing with a public hearing to approve an ordinance, approving a resolution and making three appointments to the Historical Buildings and Sites Commission in 32 minutes. Then the council heard a parade of unhappy citizens asking for help to reclaim city parks from the homeless encampments for an hour and ten minutes. During public comment 30 citizens relayed to council their feelings, 25 of them concerned about lawlessness, drug use and sanitary conditions in city parks. Pertaining to City business the Council unanimously approved an ordinance amending the city’s development code that would eliminate the tree deposit for final plat applicants that could be up to $500 per lot. Other landscape improvements, including trees, are required prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for dwelling units within the final plat, making the tree deposit unnecessary. It also eliminates city staff time and resources needed to administer the deposit and refund the deposit when inspections are completed.
Posted on 5/3/23 8:06PM by Chuck Benson
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Searchers Looking for Missing Mushroom Hunter in Remote Area near Ashland
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office has been looking for a missing man outside Ashland since Sunday. Jackson County Public Information Officer Aaron Lewis said 65-year-old John Early was last seen late Sunday afternoon in the area of mile marker 26 of Highway 66. Early and a friend were on a camping trip when they separated while mushroom hunting. Early is described as 6-feet-2-inches tall and weighing 200 pounds, with fair skin, blue eyes and red hair. He was last seen wearing a long-john-style shirt with a hoodie, jeans and hiking boots. Lewis said search and rescue teams from Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Klamath and Siskiyou counties were all on scene utilizing ATVs, K-9 units and horses. Early does not have a vehicle and does not drive. If anyone has seen him or possibly given him a ride, please call Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon Dispatch at (541)-776-7206. Please reference Case #23-2406.
Posted on 5/3/23 2:02PM by Sam Marsh
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Board of Commissioners Approves Amendments to ODOT Grant Agreements
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved two amendments to Oregon Department of Transportation grant agreements during its weekly business session this morning. Commissioner Dan DeYoung serves as Board liaison to the Josephine County Transit District. He testified that one amendment delays the installation of electric bus charging stations at the new transit hub until June 2026 and the other amendment delays the delivery of an electric bus until December. DeYoung said the ODOT grants require little or no matching funds from the transit district, which has received three vans from the agency as part of the agreement. During the public comment period, several citizens talked about the poor condition of local parks due to homeless encampments and one citizen spoke about the lack of integrity in elections. Chair Herman Baertschiger said the problem with homelessness goes straight to the top with Governor Tina Kotek and other lawmakers throwing money at the problem without any real plan to help solve it. Vice Chair John West said the City of Grants Pass is not doing its job to properly enforce the rule of law in parks. On the election integrity issue, Baertschiger commented that the Democratic party will do anything to win an election, adding that vote-by-mail is full of "shenanigans." Both he and Commissioner DeYoung said they would like to see a return to in-person voting in Oregon with a strict 8 p.m. deadline on election days. The Board added another item to the meeting agenda and approved it unanimously. It's a lease agreement with Art and Science Kids of Cave Junction for $1 per year to use a Recreation Department managed property on East River Street.
Posted on 5/3/23 11:34AM by Sam Marsh
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