Local News

OSP Looking for Two Motorists Who Fled from Traffic Stops in Josephine County
The Oregon State Police was looking for two motorists who fled from separate weekend traffic stops in Josephine County. OSP reports the first incident occurred on Friday at 8:38 p.m. when troopers pulled over a Toyota Corolla driven by 44-year-old Nick Jay Trautman near the corner of Merlin Avenue and Pleasant Valley Road. Troopers said they stopped Trautman for expired registration tags on his car and he showed signs of impairment. They said he fled the scene in his car, they pursued him and found the vehicle had crashed on a side street where he fled on foot. He was positively identified and OSP referred charges of Felony Attempt to Elude Police and Felon in Possession of a Weapon to the District Attorney's Office. The second incident happened on Saturday at 1:32 a.m. when troopers pulled over a Toyota Sequoia driven by 58-year-old Patrick John Keever near the corner of Hidden Valley Road and Triller Lane. Troopers said Keever pulled into a driveway and fled on foot. They said he was positively identified, but they were unable to find him. He was wanted on multiple arrest warrants and discovered to be out of compliance with his sex offender registration. Charges are pending the ongoing investigation. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Nick Trautman or Patrick Keever is encouraged to dial *OSP.
Posted on 12/19/23 6:17AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Jailed Felon for Parole Violation by Causing Downtown Disturbance
Grants Pass Police jailed a local felon for violating his post-prison supervision by causing a weekend disturbance in the downtown area. The Police Department reports officers arrested 29-year-old Dustin Michael Fontana for the incident at SW 6th and J streets on Sunday at 12:17 p.m.. Police said Fontana was called in as a disorderly subject who was walking in the roadway and in front of vehicles. When officers arrived on scene, they observed him walking in the middle of the road, flailing his arms and talking to himself. He was also seen yelling at pedestrians, causing public alarm. Dustin Fontana was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Disorderly Conduct plus the resulting Parole Violation stemming from past convictions for Harassment, Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle, Disorderly Conduct and Furnishing False Information to Police. He was held without bail.
Posted on 12/19/23 6:16AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Arrested Man for Consuming Food Inside Supermarket & Shoplifting
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for opening and consuming food inside a local supermarket and then trying to steal other merchandise. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a theft complaint at WinCo Foods on NE Terry Lane on Sunday shortly after 9 p.m.. Police said 49-year-old Daniel Reese Wise, Jr., walked into WinCo, selected food items and ate them inside the store. They said he also gathered more than $122 in merchandise and passed all points of sale without paying. Wise was detained by loss prevention and then placed into custody by responding officers. He was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 2nd-Degree Theft and he was being held without bail. He was also trespassed from WinCo.
Posted on 12/19/23 6:15AM by Sam Marsh

Secure Fence Helps GP Police Snare Felon Who Tried to Break into BLM Yard
Grants Pass Police arrested a man who tried to break into the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property on the east side of the city and became stuck on a fence. The Police Department reports officers responded to a trespassing complaint at the BLM offices on NE Spalding Avenue on Sunday around 12:30 p.m.. Police said a citizen called 9-1-1 to report that a man later identified as 42-year-old Brandon David Chipps was trying to climb the back fence and became stuck. They said responding officers contacted the suspect on top of the secure fence at the back entrance to the property. Underneath Chipps was a posted sign that read "No Trespassing." Brandon Chipps was booked into the Josephine County Jail for Criminal Trespass. His corrections officer in Jackson County was notified about his latest offense.
Posted on 12/19/23 6:13AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Nabbed Motorist for DUII in Weekend Stop on Redwood Highway in GP
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office arrested a motorist for impaired driving during a weekend traffic stop in south Grants Pass. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies pulled over a 1996 Mazda sedan driven by 23-year-old Daniel Luis Gomez in the 600-block of Redwood Highway on Sunday at about 12:20 a.m.. Deputies said they stopped Gomez for a traffic violation and he displayed signs of impairment. They obtained a search warrant and transported him to Three Rivers Medical Center for a legal blood draw that documented his impairment by alcohol. Daniel Gomez was subsequently lodged in jail for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. His vehicle was impounded.
Posted on 12/19/23 6:10AM by Sam Marsh
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Authorities Believe Squatters May Have Started Weekend Fire in Hog Creek Area
Authorities believe squatters may have started a weekend fire at a vacant house in the Hog Creek area west of Merlin. Early Saturday morning, Rural Metro Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a structure fire in the 4400-block of Galice Road. Rural Metro officials said arriving units were able to contain the fire before it was able to advance very far and destroy the house. They said there was evidence of squatter activity in the dwelling and attempts to locate the property owner were underway. With the cold weather and a growing unhoused population in Josephine County, fire officials encourage property owners of vacant buildings to secure and monitor the structures to guard against unexpected damage or loss.
Posted on 12/19/23 6:02AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass City Council Approves 5-Year Plan to Increase Police and Firefighter Staffing
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The Grants Pass City Council has decided on the level of public safety services it wishes to provide, but it remains undecided on how to provide additional funding. During its bi-weekly workshop session on Monday, the City Council was in favor of a phased-in level of service increase that will add 29 more full-time positions to the Grants Pass police and fire departments as well as parks and facilities maintenance over the next five years. The Council voted 5-3 to approve the five-year plan in which an additional $1.5 to $1.8 million will be needed next year to fund three more police officers and a crime analyst. City Manager Aaron Cubic said staff recommended the stair-step option to keep employee health and morale high and to aid in employee recruiting and retention. Cubic unveiled the results of a public safety funding survey in which citizens voted for their preferences from among six potential options. According to the survey results, the highest number of respondents chose the food & beverage tax, followed in order by reduced staffing, a public safety utility fee, a general sales tax, a utility fee plus food & beverage tax, and a utility fee plus sales tax. The Council immediately eliminated the reduced staffing option, vowing to do something to bolster public safety funding instead of nothing. Nothing was decided by the City Council, but a majority of the panel favored a combination of the public safety utility fee and food & beverage tax. Four members favored a 2% general sales tax because it spreads the funding burden to more businesses and it includes non-residents helping to pay for public safety.
Posted on 12/19/23 5:59AM by Sam Marsh
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City of GP Seeks Request for Interest (RFI) in Allenwood Drive Housing Development Project
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The City of Grants Pass is soliciting written expressions of interest for the purpose of identifying qualified housing developers for a new development on Williams Highway near Allenwood Drive. The city is seeking a qualified housing developer and/or coalition of residential development partners to construct 65 to 75 housing units on approximately eight acres of land. Respondents to this Request for Interest (RFI) will collaborate with the City of Grants Pass to determine an innovative design, a mix of housing types and household income levels for the property, recognizing the objective to maximize the use of the site to help address the city's affordable housing needs. The deadline for responses to this RFI is March 12, 2024, at 3 p.m. local time. For details regarding this RFI, contact the Grants Pass Community Development Department located at 101 NW A Street by calling Housing & Neighborhood Specialist Amber Neeck at (541)-450-6068, e-mailing "aneeck@grantspassoregon.gov" or visiting the city's website at "grantspassoregon.gov" under the heading "Bids" on the homepage.
Posted on 12/19/23 5:57AM by Sam Marsh
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Marketplace: 2024 Health Insurance Coverage is More Affordable Than You Might Think
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Open enrollment for 2024 health insurance is underway. Open enrollment is the primary time of year when people who do not have coverage through a job, the Oregon Health Plan or Medicare can enroll through the Marketplace. Around 96% of Oregonians have health insurance and 80% of people who applied for financial help qualified this year. These numbers show how accessible health coverage can be. Health plans sold through the Marketplace include a robust set of health benefits, even before deductibles are met. Services like preventive and wellness care including visits to naturopaths, chiropractic and acupuncture specialists are little-known services included in all Marketplace health plans. "OregonHealthCare.gov" offers a quick and easy-to-use window-shopping tool where users can preview what plans and savings are available to them. "OregonHealthCare.gov" also has a tool to help you figure out if coverage offered from an employers is considered unaffordable, which may open the gate for financial help through the Marketplace.
Posted on 12/19/23 5:55AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man for Trying to Steal Items and Fighting with Store Worker
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for trying to steal items from a local store and then fighting with an employee in an attempt to retain the stolen merchandise. According to the Police Department, officers responded to the shoplifting call at The Magic Man in the 1600-block of Williams Highway on Friday at 2 p.m.. Police said 43-year-old Elijah Samuel Greene entered the store and selected two disc golf discs valued at $21.90. They said he concealed the discs in his jacket and left the store without paying. The suspect physically fought with a worker to retain the stolen property, but the discs were recovered by the employee. Officers located Greene in a nearby parking lot and placed him into custody. Elijah Greene was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 3rd-Degree Robbery, 3rd-Degree Theft and the resulting Probation Violation related to previous arrests for Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Felon in Possession of a Weapon, 3rd-Degree Robbery, 2nd-Degree Theft, Menacing and Criminal Mischief. He was being held on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 12/18/23 10:32AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man for Parole Violation after Dine & Dash Call at Restaurant
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for violating his post-prison supervision after a "dine-and-dash" incident at a south-city restaurant. The Police Department reports officers arrested 32-year-old Brian Fletcher Ellington, Jr., for the incident at Herb's La Casita on Rogue River Highway on Saturday at 5:04 p.m.. Police said Ellington entered Herb's, ordered a meal valued at $15.25, consumed the meal and left without paying. They said a restaurant worker chased the suspect and reported that he was last seen heading west on Fruitdale Drive. Officers found him and placed him into custody near Safeway in the Williams Highway Plaza. Brian Ellington was charged with Parole Violation stemming from convictions for Felony 1st-Degree Criminal Mischief and Disorderly Conduct. The restaurant did not want to press theft charges, but they did press charges for Criminal Trespass. He was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 12/18/23 10:31AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Snared Well-Known Felon for Dining & Dashing at Black Bear Diner
Grants Pass Police arrested a well-known felon for dining and dashing at a north-city restaurant over the weekend. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a theft complaint at the Black Bear Diner on NW 6th Street on Saturday around 2 p.m.. Police said 31-year-old Whitney Ann Word went to the Black Bear, ordered $46 worth of food and drink, consumed the meal and then left after flipping off the manager. Officers contacted her a short distance away where she told them she was going to meet someone to pay for the meal, but she changed her mind when they offered to drive her back to the restaurant. Whitney Word was placed into custody and booked into the Josephine County Jail for Theft of Services. Due to her lengthy local criminal history, she was being held without bail.
Posted on 12/18/23 10:30AM by Sam Marsh
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