Local News

City Council Approves Rate Hikes for Southern Oregon Sanitation & Republic Services in GP
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The Grants Pass City Council's first agenda item on Wednesday night was a public hearing to obtain citizen views of the needs and priorities for the fourth year of the Annual Action Plan to utilize the Community Development Block Grant program. The results of a previous survey were submitted and the priorities were affordable housing, preventing homelessness and community development. The overriding comment of the 519 responses was the condition of the city parks. No action was required of the City Council other than to hold the public hearing, according to the rules of US Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Council approved rate increases for the two solid waste agencies serving Grants Pass. Republic Services requested a rate increase of 5.73% and -- per the agreement -- a cost-of living increase of 6.13% to be applied as of June 1st. The panel denied that request, but approved an increase that will bring Republic's profit margin down from 11% to 9%. Southern Oregon Sanitation requested an increase of 5.54% plus the same cost-of-living increase of 6.13% on June 1st. That would have taken their profitability to 12%, which the Council denied and then approved a profitability increase of 10%.
Posted on 4/20/23 6:17AM by Sam Marsh
 

BCC Approves Broadband Consulting Pact and First Bylaws for Rural Planning Commission
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The Josephine County Board of Commissioners started its weekly business session yesterday by unanimously approving two annexations to the local library district. The 3-0 vote came after a public hearing in which a representative of the Josephine Community Library District testified that two property owners on North Pinnon and Granite Hill roads petitioned for inclusion. The Board continued a decision on a lease agreement with Arts and Science Kids for the former Illinois Valley swimming pool site in Cave Junction. Board Chair Herman Baertschiger said the lease paperwork was not ready for consideration. The Commissioners approved an agreement with Sequoia Consulting to prepare for the expansion of broadband service in rural areas of Josephine County. They authorized the expenditure of more than $80,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act for the firm to ready the county for federal funding that is coming to expand local broadband. As part of the Consent Calendar, the Board approved the first-ever bylaws for the Rural Planning Commission and appointed Amanda Metzler to a four-year term on the commission.
Posted on 4/20/23 6:14AM by Sam Marsh
 

ODOT Announces Weekend Closure of Scenic Avenue West of Highway 99 in Central Point
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The Oregon Department of Transportation has announced that Scenic Avenue west of Oregon Highway 99 in Central Point will close to all traffic for construction this weekend. According to ODOT, the roadway will be closed at 5 p.m. Friday and reopen at 6 a.m. Monday. Motorists will need to use other routes during the weekend project. Contractor Knife River Materials will rebuild and raise the surface of Scenic Avenue on both sides of the railroad tracks to match the newly-paved elevation at North Pacific Highway. Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad has a separate contractor who will install a new rail crossing arm and do signal work. Night paving on Highway 99 will begin before the weekend intersection closure. Traffic will be narrowed to a single lane in each direction tonight at 7 p.m. until Friday at 7 a.m.. Drivers are urged to use caution during construction when the speed limit is reduced to 45 miles per hour. Highway paving will continue through the weekend, simultaneous with the construction on Scenic Avenue. Knife River plans to have the roadway work done by June.
Posted on 4/20/23 6:12AM by Sam Marsh
 

Rate Increases for SOS & Republic Services Approved by GP City Council
A public hearing was the first agenda item on the Grants Pass City Council’s Wednesday night business session. The hearing was to obtain citizen views of the needs and priorities for the 4th years of the Annual Action Plan to utilize the Community Development Block Grants. A survey taken earlier was submitted and the priorities were affordable housing, preventing homelessness and community development. The over riding comment of the 519 responses was the condition of the city parks. No action was required of the council other than to hold the public hearing according to the Housing and Urban Development rules. The Council then approved two changes to the Municipal Code. The first was to authorize the City Manager to have the authority to approve solicitation advertising or peddling for commercial purposes in city parks. The second was clarify the parking regulation for Baker Park. Primarily the boat parking spaces were for vehicles with attached boat trailers, or unattached boat trailers only.
Posted on 4/19/23 8:36PM by Chuck Benson
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BCC Approves Broadband Consulting Pact and Bylaws for Planning Panel
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners started its weekly business session today by unanimously approving two annexations to the local library district. The 3-0 vote came after a public hearing in which a representative of the Josephine Community Library District testified that two property owners on North Pinnon and Granite Hill roads petitioned for inclusion. The Board continued a decision on a lease agreement with Arts and Science Kids for the former Illinois Valley swimming pool site in Cave Junction. Board Chair Herman Baertschiger said the lease paperwork was not ready for consideration. The Commissioners approved an agreement with Sequoia Consulting to prepare for the expansion of broadband service in rural areas of Josephine County. They authorized the expenditure of more than $80,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act for the firm to ready the county for federal funding that is coming to expand local broadband. As part of the Consent Calendar, the Board approved the first-ever bylaws for the Rural Planning Commission and appointed Amanda Metzler to a four-year term on the commission. In other business, the Commissioners approved a renewal of participation in the County Assessment Function Funding Assessment (CAFFA) grant. Baertschiger explained the annual grant helps fund the Josephine County Assessor's Office, with the balance coming from the General Fund.
Posted on 4/19/23 11:21AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Man Collared for Statewide Felony Warrant and Drugs at Westholm Park
A Grants Pass man was incarcerated on a statewide felony warrant and for drug possession following his arrest at a city park early yesterday. The Grants Pass Police Department reports 27-year-old Vinnie Dale Shuler was arrested at Taser point at Westholm Park on Tuesday at 9:52 a.m.. Police said they spotted Shuler and knew that he was wanted on an Oregon State Parole Board warrant for Parole Violation stemming from a previous conviction for Heroin Possession and 3rd-Degree Escape. They said he was also found to be in possession of narcotic substances that later tested positive as methamphetamine and fentanyl. The drugs were seized for destruction. Vinnie Shuler was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the no-bail warrant as well as the two narcotics violations. An unidentified female subject with him was detained, but not arrested.
Posted on 4/19/23 11:18AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Snared Man for Setting Fire on Porch of Vacant SW Residence
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for setting a fire on the porch of a vacant house and damaging the structure early yesterday. The Police Department reports officers and firefighters responded to the reported fire in the 500-block of SW Foundry Street on Tuesday at about 8:30 a.m.. Police said 61-year-old Mark Allen Tucker lit a warming fire on the back porch of the home which got out of control and caused damage. At least 10 2x4s were scorched and the property owner estimated damage to be at least $500. Tucker was placed into custody while observing the blaze, which was extinguished by Grants Pass Fire & Rescue. He was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Reckless Burning and 2nd-Degree Criminal Mischief. According to the report, Tucker's belongings were in a Safeway shopping cart that was returned to the downtown store. Wet, burned and soiled items in the cart -- including trash -- were disposed of.
Posted on 4/19/23 11:17AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Arrested Lane County Man on Lane County Warrant at JCCC
Grants Pass Police apprehended a Lane County man on a Lane County warrant yesterday when he visited his local corrections officer. The Police Department reports officers arrested 38-year-old William Morley Hopper of Cottage Grove at the Josephine County Community Corrections office on SW 4th Street shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday. Police said they were alerted to Hopper's presence at the office and that he was wanted on a Florence Police Department warrant for Probation Violation related to arrests for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Driving Suspended. William Hopper was booked into the Josephine County Jail.
Posted on 4/19/23 11:15AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Nabbed Salem Woman on Linn County Warrant after North GP Stop
The Oregon State Police arrested a Salem woman on an out-of-county warrant late last night after a traffic stop in north Grants Pass. According to OSP, troopers pulled over a Honda Odyssey driven by 40-year-old Morgan Alexis Tennant on NE 6th Street near Evelyn Avenue on Tuesday around 11:40 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped Tennant for inoperative rear running lights on her vehicle and discovered that she was wanted on a Linn County bench warrant for failing to appear in court on a criminal citation. Tennant was cited to appear in court on the warrant and she was warned for her equipment violation.
Posted on 4/19/23 11:12AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Cited Motorist for Causing Highway 199 Crash near Fairgrounds
Grants Pass Police cited a motorist for causing an accident at a Redwood Highway intersection near the Josephine County Fairgrounds late yesterday. The Police Department reports officers and emergency personnel rushed to the scene of the three-vehicle crash in the 1400-block of Fairgrounds Road shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday. Police said an investigation revealed that a man identified as "Alok Shrestha" was driving a Chevrolet Silverado when he attempted to enter US Highway 199 from the stop sign on Fairgrounds and entered the fast lane where he struck a Toyota Highlander driven by a woman identified as "Jolene Nichols." The force of the collision caused the Highlander to flip three times and land in the highway median. The Silverado veered back into the slow lane where it struck a Tesla driven by an unidentified person. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. Following the investigation, Shrestha was cited for Failure to Yield While Entering Roadway and Improperly Executed Right-Hand Turn.
Posted on 4/19/23 11:09AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Teen Facing Felony Charges for Stabbing Male Juvenile at Gas Station
A Grants Pass teenager is facing three felony-level charges after he allegedly stabbed a male juvenile in a weekend skirmish at a local gas station. The Grants Pass Police Department reports 18-year-old Angel Rodriguez-Ortiz was arrested for the Saturday morning incident at the Chevron Station at the corner of Redwood Highway and Ringuette Street. Police said two groups of young people who had been engaged in a fight at a residential party on Friday night had begun to fight at the gas station. They said the investigation determined that during the confrontation, Rodriguez-Ortiz stabbed a male juvenile who was subsequently transported to an area hospital. The victim was reported to be in stable condition with non-life-threatening wounds. Rodriguez-Ortiz was later located and apprehended by police officers after a short vehicle chase. He was arrested and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony 2nd-Degree Assault, Felony Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Felony Attempt to Elude Police. He was still being held Tuesday on $250,000 bail. Anyone with information about this investigation is requested to call Grants Pass Police Detective Hoy at (541)-450-6260. Please refer to Case #23-15585.
Posted on 4/19/23 6:45AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Man with History of Domestic Violence Jailed for Violating His Probation
A Grants Pass man with a history of domestic violence was jailed this week for violating terms of his probation. The Grants Pass Police Department reports 40-year-old Guy Caley McFarland was arrested for the incident in the 1300-block of SE Vista Drive early Monday. Police said McFarland's wife called 9-1-1 to report he was at her home violating an active restraining order. There was no restraining order on file, but McFarland was on probation with conditions prohibiting him from visiting his estranged wife. His wife allowed officers in the house and McFarland was placed into custody. According to the report, the woman stated McFarland had hit her in the head and covered her mouth to keep her from yelling the night before. Officers observed a small superficial injury on the victim, but she did not want to pursue any charges. Guy McFarland was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Probation Violation related to the previous domestic assault. He was being held on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 4/19/23 6:43AM by Sam Marsh
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