Local News

GP City Council will Consider Housing Committee Motion before Exec Session
The Grants Pass City Council has only two agenda items for its weekly workshop session today before it breaks for what appears to be a lengthy executive session. The City Council will hear and consider a motion from the Grants Pass Housing Advisory Committee before reviewing the agenda for Wednesday night's regular meeting. Mayor Sara Bristol will then convene a Special Meeting in Executive Session. The closed-door meeting contains two items: current or likely litigation and real property transactions or negotiations. Presumably, the first executive session item is related to the recent US Supreme Court ruling that affirms the city's right to restrict overnight camping in parks and other public spaces. Today's workshop begins at 11:45 a.m. in the City Council Chambers at Grants Pass City Hall, 101 NW A Street.
Posted on 7/15/24 7:29AM by Sam Marsh

Eagle Point Police Department Deploying New Vehicles with Improved Design
The Eagle Point Police Department has a new design for its patrol vehicles. Over the last 10 months, EPD has purchased and equipped three new Chevrolet Silverado Police Package vehicles in addition to updating the vehicle graphics design on the current fleet. Within the next few weeks, two Chevrolet Tahoe Police Package vehicles will also be placed in service for patrol use. EPD Chief Jim Hamilton said the change comes after assessing the status of the current patrol fleet and determining several vehicles were well past their safe service life. Thanks to the Eagle Point City Council's approval, the department ordered four vehicles last year with the use of American Rescue Plan Act funds to prevent an impact on the operating budget. Due to shortages in available police package SUVs, Chief Hamilton said EPD ordered the new Silverado vehicles to ensure replacements were available in their time of need. Once the new vehicles were ordered, EPD reached out to a local vehicle designer for assistance with a new look. Jason Hulst and the team of ERA3 agreed to provide a few ideas on how to upgrade the vehicles and create a more professional image. There was a desire to look at a more traditional "black and white" patrol vehicle. The concept was to create a design with a modern twist on the patrol vehicles of old. In addition to the new graphic design, reflective identification was also incorporated into the overall look. "POLICE" is clearly identifiable as is "Call 9-1-1." Hamilton said to look for these new vehicles to be patrolling the streets of Eagle Point and surrounding areas in the near future.
Posted on 7/15/24 7:03AM by Sam Marsh

Jackson County & Medford Continuing Work on North Section of Foothill Road
Jackson County is continuing work on the northern section of Foothill Road, not to be confused with Foothill Boulevard between Grants Pass and Rogue River. The closure of Coker Butte Road at Foothill Road will be lifted Saturday and Coker Butte is now open for traffic. The next scheduled closure starts today on Foothill Road between Coker Butte Road and Dry Creek Road. Only local traffic will have access throughout the closure which is anticipated to be completed by early September. Drivers will be detoured to East Vilas Road to Crater Lake Avenue and then Coker Butte Road. The City of Medford's portion of the project is continuing construction of the Foothill Road Improvement Project between Hillcrest and Delta Waters roads. Foothill Road will continue to be closed to through traffic at McAndrews Road and Cedar Links Drive while contractors perform work north of Normil Terrace to Cedar Links Drive.
Posted on 7/15/24 7:02AM by Sam Marsh

ODF Incident Management Team Reports Salt Creek Fire Containment is Now 58%
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The Oregon Department of Forestry is reporting containment has reached 58% on the Salt Creek Fire burning between Eagle Point and Butte Falls. According to ODF, the wildfire that was first reported on July 7th was 4,102 acres this morning and the estimated cost to battle the blaze had risen to $10.1 million. ODF Incident Management Team #1 said the northern portion of the fire has 300 feet of cold black adjacent to the fire-line in most areas, and crews are beginning to remove hose and other equipment while patrolling and monitoring the fire. Crews in other areas of the fire continue to locate hot spots and mop up burning fuels. Crews are also conducting repair activities such as minimizing soil erosion and protecting water quality across the wildfire area. On steep slopes, water bars will be placed on control lines and roads to divert water to minimize soil disturbance. Soil berms made during fire-line construction are now being dispersed. More than 1,000 personnel are still assigned to the fire today including 41 20-person hand crews backed by 30 engines, 19 water tenders, seven bulldozers and seven tree-fallers. Released resources may return to their home units or be reassigned to other wildfire incidents across the state. ODF officials said the cause of the Salt Creek Fire remains under investigation.
Posted on 7/15/24 7:00AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police and Firefighters Protected Community during Record-Breaking Heat
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Grants Pass police officers and firefighters endured record-breaking heat while protecting the community last week. According to Grants Pass City Manager Aaron Cubic, police officers responded to a total of 658 calls for service and 237 officer-initiated calls last week that resulted in 46 arrests, 27 citations, 40 warnings and 10 highly intoxicated people being lodged at the Sobering Center. Cubic also reported that officers conducted a total of 61 traffic stops in the city and made 15 referrals to the Oregon Department of Human Services. The GPPD Community Response Team (CRT) contacted a total of 173 potential troublemakers while arresting three people, citing 30 more and warning 27 others. The CRT unit also trespassed 19 individuals and posted 72 transient camps while removing trash from 15 campsites. Grants Pass Fire & Rescue responded to a total of 128 calls last week including 32 for emergency medical service, 19 reports of fire or smoke, nine lift assists, five rescue situations, 16 assists to other agencies and 13 false alarms. Firefighters also performed 47 business inspections, led one education/prevention program, assisted the public 19 times and properly installed one child car seat.
Posted on 7/15/24 6:58AM by Sam Marsh
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City of Grants Pass Now Accepting Apps for Sustainable Tourism Grant Program
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Applications are now being accepted for the City of Grants Pass Sustainable Tourism Grant program. This program supports promotional activities that will lead to sustainable tourism by attracting tourists and increasing overnight stays in Grants Pass. Grants range from a minimum of $2,500 to $5,000. Applications must be received by August 12th. One project area that will receive priority ranking includes sustainable events attracting people from outside the area and leading to economic growth and potential to occur on a regular cycle. These may include events in the areas of sports and athletics, arts and culture, food, industry, conference/convention, and community-focus celebrations. Other project areas that will receive priority ranking include outdoor recreation, historic significance, community-focused and touring events. To learn more about this program and how to apply, please visit: "grantspassoregon.gov/FormCenter/Community-Development-3/Sustainable-Tourism-Grant-Application-113."
Posted on 7/15/24 6:56AM by Sam Marsh
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Salt Creek Fire in Jackson County Turns the Corner to Full Mop-Up Operations
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With the entire perimeter lined, work on the Salt Creek Fire is now focused on mop-up for the remainder of the incident. The Oregon Department of Forestry reports updates to mapping put the wildfire burning between Eagle Point and Butte Falls at 4,081 acres, with an infrared flight across the area scheduled for this evening to determine a final acreage. ODF said containment of the fire remains at 32%. Last night, firefighters used multiple types of infrared devices to search for hot spots or smoldering patches of vegetation, roots and coals that could later reignite in hot, windy conditions. With these specific locations identified and marked on maps, today's resources will be better able to find and extinguish these areas. Resources will pick up today where the night shift left off and build on the progress that has been made around the perimeter. Mop-up totals range from 50 to 200 feet deep into the interior of the blaze. The line is wide and secure. More than 750 personnel are assigned to the fire today including 27 20-person hand crews backed by 22 engines, 13 tree-fallers, 12 water tenders, seven bulldozers and various types of logging equipment. Aircraft including helicopters and air tankers are available upon request. Level 1 "Be Ready" evacuation notices issued by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and Emergency Management remain in effect, but no homes or structures are threatened at this time. The Medford District BLM has temporarily closed its lands in the area for the safety of firefighters and the public. The Salt Creek Fire was first reported last Sunday just after 4 p.m.. The estimated cost to fight the fire so far is $6.5 million. The cause remains under investigation.
Posted on 7/13/24 6:34AM by Sam Marsh
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Firefighters Extinguish Small Wildfire in Limpy Creek & Shan Creek Drainages
Smoke from a fire that was highly visible most of Friday in the Riverbanks Road area has dissipated as numerous firefighters gained the upper hand on containment and full extinguishment. On Friday at 7:58 a.m., Rural Metro Fire Department and the Oregon Department of Forestry responded to reports of smoke in the Marcy Loop, Limpy Creek and Shan Creek areas. Firefighters searched the area and found access to the fire, which was perched near the top of the ridge between the Limpy Creek and Shan Creek drainages. Scouting a ridgetop skid road and cutting out a number of blown-down trees blocking their path, Rural Metro and ODF crews reached the closest landing where trucks could stage and begin constructing a trail for laying in hose several hundred feet down to the fire. An aggressive initial attack from both ground and air units limited the fire's size to approximately 1.5 acres. The fire was not a threat to any homes. Firefighters from the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest along with several contract crews took over incident management on what is being called the Slate Fire. Rural Metro personnel were released from the scene. Officials said the fire was the second one in the Shan Creek area within 12 hours. They said there was no indication the fires are related, but Forest Service and ODF were investigating. An abandoned vehicle was found by firefighters near the scene, resulting in the location of a person requiring medical attention.
Posted on 7/13/24 6:32AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Jailed Man for Beating Up Wife at Residence between GP & Murphy
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a man this week for beating up his wife at a home between Grants Pass and Murphy. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies arrested the 48-year-old male subject at a residence in the 4500-block of Williams Highway late Thursday night. Deputies said a man called 9-1-1 to report that he was calling for his sister who had been injured by her husband. The caller said the female victim was hit in the head with a bowl while they were arguing. When the woman went to call for help, the husband took away her phone and hit her with it. According to the report, the victim had a cut on the left side of her head and was bleeding badly when deputies arrived on scene. She and two juveniles who saw the incident were transported by ambulance to Three Rivers Medical Center. The kids were not injured, but accompanied their mother on the ride to the hospital. Upon arrival, deputies interviewed both parties and then placed the husband into custody. He was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony Domestic Assault in the 4th Degree. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 7/13/24 6:30AM by Sam Marsh
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GP 911 Communications Center Received More Than 1,400 Emergency Calls
The Grants Pass 9-1-1 Communications Center fielded well over 1,400 emergency calls this past week. According to the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center's weekly post on Facebook, a total of 1,437 emergency calls were received between July 4th and July 10th. The Grants Pass Police Department received the vast majority of the calls with 896. GPPD was followed by American Medical Response with 327 and Grants Pass Fire & Rescue with 128. Rural Metro Fire Department received 77 calls over the seven-day period while the Oregon Department of Forestry received 41, the Illinois Valley Fire District got 25 and the Williams Rural Fire Protection District got 8. There were no calls for the Wolf Creek Rural Fire Protection District. Dispatchers also reported receiving a total of 504 internal calls and making 610 outbound calls.
Posted on 7/13/24 6:28AM by Sam Marsh
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Senator Ron Wyden to Host Jackson County Town Hall Meeting Next Week
US Senator Ron Wyden will finish a swing through Oregon next week with a town hall meeting in Jackson County. The Jackson County Town Hall is scheduled for Wednesday, July 17th, at Rogue X on Rossanley Drive in Medford. Prior to that, he will be holding town halls in Linn, Yamhill and Columbia counties. Heading into these four town halls, Wyden will have held 1,089 town halls in Oregon -- including 24 this year -- in fulfillment of his pledge to hold at least one each year in each of the state's 36 counties. Wyden said he's very much looking forward to hearing directly from Oregonians during this upcoming round of town halls because their ideas, questions and concerns all help him represent the entire state. The Democratic lawmaker said Oregonians should always have these opportunities for conversations with elected officials about the challenges in their communities and the solutions that make all parts of the state even better places to live.
Posted on 7/13/24 6:26AM by Sam Marsh
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Federal Jury Finds City of GP Did Not Violate Rights of Street Preachers Protesting Abortion
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A federal jury this week sided with the city of Grants Pass in finding that police haven't used Oregon's disorderly conduct statute to quash the free speech rights of street preachers protesting abortion. The Oregonian reports Abolish Abortion Oregon in 2020 sued Grants Pass, alleging the city had harassed its members for years with threats of arrest to chill their freedom of speech and religion. The Christian evangelists and anti-abortion activists travel the state "to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and to call for the abolition and criminalization of abortion throughout the United States," according to the organization's lawyers. The group's open-air street preachers attend various events in Grants Pass, including the First Friday monthly celebration of the arts and the Saturday Growers Market, and they regularly preach outside the Planned Parenthood clinic on NW Franklin Boulevard, sometimes using bullhorns and electronic amplifiers. Three of its members filed complaints with the city for threatening to arrest them on second-degree disorderly conduct allegations. Other received citations alleging they were obstructing traffic. The attorney for the city testified that its police officers appropriately enforced the law against the preachers for creating "unreasonable noise," even if their speech was otherwise protected by the First Amendment. City Attorney Robert E. Franz testified the officers often were responding to complaints from businesses. The verdict came at the end of a four-day trial in US District Court in Medford before US District Judge Karin J. Immergut.
Posted on 7/13/24 6:24AM by Sam Marsh
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