Local News

GP Police and Firefighters Sharpened Community Protection Skills Last Week
Grants Pass police officers and firefighters sharpened their community protection skills throughout the city last week. According to the Weekly Report filed by Grants Pass City Manager Aaron Cubic, police officers responded to a total of 673 calls for service along with 242 officer-initiated calls that resulted in 51 arrests, 28 citations, 29 warnings and five highly-intoxicated people being lodged at the Sobering Center. Cubic also reported that officers conducted a total of 51 traffic stops in the city and made 27 referrals to the Oregon Department of Human Services. The GPPD Community Response Team (CRT) contacted a total of 209 potential troublemakers while arresting six people, citing 47 more and warning 59 others. The CRT unit also trespassed 29 individuals, posted 96 transient camps and removed trash from four campsites. Grants Pass Fire & Rescue responded to a total of 109 calls last week including 69 for emergency medical service, three reports of fire or smoke, 23 lift assists, seven rescue situations, nine assists to other agencies and three false alarms. The 9-1-1 Dispatch Center fielded a total of 1,232 emergency calls in addition to 736 calls for non-emergency service.
Posted on 5/21/24 6:01AM by Sam Marsh

Commissioner Race Narrowed to 4 and Voters Defeating Ballot Measures in Primary Election
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The race to replace two departing members of the Josephine County Board of Commissioners appears to have been narrowed down from eight to four total candidates after the first run of ballots in the May Primary Election. For Position #2 on the Board, Chris Barnett had a substantial lead with 44.91% of the ballots with Colene Martin in second place with 25%. Candidates Mark Jones and Dan Mancuso trailed the leaders with 17.18% and 12.03%, respectively. For Position #3 on the Board, Pat Fahey was the leader with 40.01% of the vote while Ron Smith was second with 25.61%. Candidates Nathan Gonzalez and Russell McAlmond trailed the leaders with 22.21% and 11.85%, respectively. It appears Josephine County voters sent all three ballot measures down to defeat. Measure 17-116 to replace the County Charter was losing 66.42% to 33.58%. Measure 17-117 to fund the Animal Shelter and Animal Control was losing 59.19% to 40.81%. Measure 17-118 to authorize a bond for Three Rivers School District building improvements was also losing by a 67.80% to 32.20% tally. For Senate District 2, it was Republican Noah Robinson leading Christine Goodwin by a count of 50.69% to 49.07%. Robinson easily defeated Goodwin in Josephine County, but the district includes portions of Douglas and Jackson counties. For State Representative District 3, Democrat Mark Seligman was defeating Dustin Watkins by a tally of 60.60% to 37.27%. Josephine County Clerk Rhiannon Henkels reported that more than 10,000 ballots were hand-delivered over the past two days and her staff is extremely busy. As of 8 o'clock tonight, the local turnout was 29.3%. Elections staff will continue counting ballots until late tonight and we'll have fresh numbers for you in the morning.
Posted on 5/21/24 5:58AM by Sam Marsh

Seasonal Alcohol Ban Renewed on Recreation Section of the Illinois River Corridor
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The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has renewed the ban on alcohol on the recreation section of the Illinois River Corridor from May 24th through September. As in previous years, the area included in the temporary alcohol ban extends from the Forest boundary on Illinois River Road west of Selma to an area near the McCaleb Ranch including the area surrounding Cedar Camp. The ban is effective approximately 1/4-mile on either side of Illinois River Road in those areas. The ban will not be in effect on privately-owned lands, nor will it apply to those who are driving on Illinois River Road to reach a destination outside the closure area. Violation of the alcohol ban is punishable by law, with the penalties of up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. Wild Rivers District Ranger Scott Blower said the decision to implement the alcohol ban arose from the concern for public safety and it has been met with overwhelming support from both the local communities and those who travel to the river from outside areas.
Posted on 5/21/24 5:55AM by Sam Marsh

US Coast Guard Encourages Preparedness during "National Safe Boating Week"
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In support of National Safe Boating Week -- held from May 18th-May 24th -- the US Coast Guard urges all recreational boaters and recreational paddlers throughout the Pacific Northwest to exercise caution and become knowledgeable on water safety in preparation for the 2024 boating season. As the weather improves and many members of the public return to the water, the Coast Guard reminds all residents that weather conditions remain variable. Many of the accidents and deaths on the water can be prevented with simple and effective measures including boater education, life jacket usage and trip preparation. The highest group at risk are boaters and water sports enthusiasts exposed to the elements on small crafts such as paddleboards and kayaks. The vulnerability to the elements and physical demands of their activity can cause even experienced sportsman and swimmers to become exhausted and unable to return to shore, with long exposure being a potentially fatal risk factor.
Posted on 5/21/24 5:38AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Arrested Woman for Vandalizing Parked Vehicles in Downtown Lot
Grants Pass Police arrested a woman for vandalizing multiple parked vehicles in the downtown area over the weekend. According to the Police Department, officers responded to reports of vandalism in the area of SE 6th and I streets on Saturday around 11 a.m.. Police said a 33-year-old female subject damaged at least three parked vehicles in that area by kicking them and causing estimated damages of over $1,000. Callers told officers that the woman was not harming anyone physically, but she was intentionally damaging vehicles while walking by on the sidewalk. Officers caught up to the suspect in the Salmon Parking Lot and she admitted to damaging a couple of vehicles in the lot, so she was placed into custody. She was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony 1st-Degree Criminal Mischief.
Posted on 5/20/24 10:54AM by Sam Marsh
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Two People Hurt in Motor Vehicle Crash on Illinois River Road West of Selma
Two people were injured in a weekend motor vehicle accident west of Selma. On Friday at 10:03 p.m., the Illinois Valley Fire District and American Medical Response were dispatched to the single-vehicle rollover crash near milepost 2 of Illinois River Road. IVFD officials said arriving units found a vehicle upside-down on its roof in a ditch off the roadway. They said two people were removed from the vehicle and transported by AMR to Three Rivers Medical Center for evaluation. Jerry's Towing was called into remove the vehicle from the waterway and haul it to Cave Junction.
Posted on 5/20/24 10:53AM by Sam Marsh
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Motorist Hurt and Cited after Careening into "It's a Burl" Business in Kerby
A motorist was both hurt and cited after he crashed into a well-known business off Redwood Highway in Kerby. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency crews responded to the single-vehicle wreck in the 24,000-block of US Highway 199 at 6:05 p.m. Friday. Troopers said the 29-year-old man stated that was driving a Subaru Forester south when he had a mechanical issue with the car's steering. He advised that he over-corrected, causing him to turn sharply to the right and crash into the side of the "It's a Burl" building. According to OSP, nobody inside the building was hurt. The driver of the Subaru sustained minor injuries and refused medical treatment. The car sustained moderate damage and was towed to Cave Junction. Following the investigation, the motorist was cited for Driving While Suspended and warned for Operation of an Unsafe Vehicle.
Posted on 5/20/24 10:50AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Nabbed 2 Motorists for Weekend Impaired Driving in Josephine County
The Oregon State Police arrested two motorists for impaired driving in Josephine County over the weekend. According to OSP, the first incident occurred on Friday at 11:29 p.m. when state troopers pulled over a Kia Frontier driven by a 53-year-old Selma man on US Highway 199 near Willow Lane just west of Grants Pass. Troopers said they stopped the motorist for a traffic violation and he displayed signs of impairment. They said he performed poorly in field sobriety tests and was taken to the Grants Pass Sobering Center where he provided a breath sample that was well over the legal driving limit. He was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Reckless Driving. His vehicle was impounded and his dog was taken to the Josephine County Animal Shelter. The second incident happened on Saturday at 11:51 p.m. when troopers pulled over an Acura sedan driven by a 35-year-old Rogue River man on Rogue River Highway near Avalon Place. Troopers said they stopped the motorist for a traffic violation and he showed signs of impairment. They said he performed poorly in sobriety tests and was transported to the Sobering Center where he provided a breath sample that was nearly twice the legal driving limit. He was lodged at the Sobering Center for DUII-Alcohol, Reckless Driving and Reckless Endangering. His 9-year-old son was in the vehicle at the time, so OSP notified the Oregon Department of Human Services. His wife took possession of the car.
Posted on 5/20/24 10:49AM by Sam Marsh
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Investigators Looking into Friday Night Fatal Motorcycle Crash in NE Medford
The Jackson County Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR) team was investigating a fatal motorcycle crash that occurred in northeast Medford. Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon received a call reporting a motorcycle crash in the 2700-block of Delta Waters Drive at 10:51 p.m. Friday. Medford police and medical personnel arrived on scene to find a bystander with medical training performing life-saving measures on an unconscious motorcyclist involved in the crash. The unconscious motorcyclist was unable to be revived and was pronounced deceased. He was identified as 39-year-old Benjamin McFarland. Members of the STAR team and a MPD detective responded and learned that two motorcycles were involved in the crash, with the other operator alert with minor injuries. That rider has not yet been identified. MPD Deputy Chief Trevor Arnold said the cause of the fatal crash was still under investigation, but speed was believed to be a factor. Arnold said MPD would like to thank the witnesses and bystanders who assisted at the scene of the fatal crash. He said they hope this tragic incident reminds everyone of the serious risks associated with speeding.
Posted on 5/20/24 6:16AM by Sam Marsh
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Multiple Fire & Rescue Units Responded to Fully-Involved Griffin Road Home
Multiple fire and rescue units from several agencies converged on a fully-involved two-story home in the Shan Creek area last night. On Sunday at 6:58 p.m., Rural Metro Fire Department, Grants Pass Fire & Rescue, American Medical Response and others were dispatched to the reported structure fire in the 400-block of Griffin Road. Initial reports received by the Grants Pass 9-1-1 Communications Center indicated an occupant was trapped on the second-floor and unable to escape. Arriving units found the nearly 4,000-square-foot house in flames, with spread to surrounding vegetation and several vehicles. Thankfully, the occupant made it outside the house -- but they required medical care at the scene by AMR before being airlifted by helicopter to a local hospital. The multiple fire apparatus operating at the scene created congestion along Griffin Road as water was pulled from the Rogue River at Griffin Park. The cause of the fire was under investigation. The three-alarm fire brought numerous agencies to the scene as well as for back-fill coverage for additional alarms. In addition to Grants Pass, Rural Metro and AMR, those agencies included the Illinois Valley Fire District, Applegate Valley Fire District, Jackson County Fire District #1, Williams Rural Fire Protection District, Evans Valley Fire District, ODF Southwest, Mercy Flights, Josephine County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Fire Marshal.
Posted on 5/20/24 6:14AM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County Sheriff Looking for Missing Person along Rogue River Trail
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office is seeking public assistance in a possible missing person investigation along the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. On Friday at about 4:45 p.m., the Sheriff's Office received a citizen report of a backpack and dog leash that were found on the Rogue River Trail and there appeared to be no sign of a person or dog in the area. The reporting party stated that they noticed the backpack on their way down the trail. Upon seeing the backpack and belongings still in place later that afternoon on their way out, the citizen made a report to the Sheriff's Office. A sheriff's deputy hiked the trail Saturday and located the backpack on the trail approximately one mile northwest of the Grave Creek Boat Ramp. A search with verbal callouts did not locate a person or dog. A drone was also utilized to try to locate anyone, but that effort was also unsuccessful. Further investigation revealed the backpack had possibly been in that location since last Wednesday. The contents of the backpack suggested the owner was preparing to start a multi-day camping trip and items in the backpack did not appear to have been used. There was also no identifying information located. The Sheriff's Office is concerned the owner of the backpack may have become injured or lost. So far, no missing person reports have been filed that match the situation nor is there any evidence of foul play. The Sheriff's Office is actively trying to locate the owner of the backpack. If you have any information regarding this investigation, please call (541)-474-5123.
Posted on 5/20/24 6:13AM by Sam Marsh
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Medford Police Department Apprehended Suspect in Friday Robbery of Bank
The Medford Police Department has arrested a suspect in the robbery of a bank that occurred late last week. On Friday at approximately 1:50 p.m., Medford police officers responded to a reported robbery at Key Bank on East Barnett Road. MPD Deputy Chief Trevor Arnold said the suspect entered the bank and demanded money from a teller. He said the male suspect stole an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the bank in a dark-colored Ford Escape. MPD detectives and local FBI agents responded to the scene to investigate. They worked diligently throughout the night and were able to identify the suspect as 52-year-old Timothy Michael Spencer of Medford. On Saturday, a vigilant MPD officer located Spencer and the suspect vehicle in Medford. He was placed into custody and was being held at the Jackson County Jail as the investigation continues. Arnold said Spencer is being investigated for the Medford bank robbery as well as a robbery that occurred at a Rogue River bank last week. He said charges against the suspect are pending at this time.
Posted on 5/20/24 6:11AM by Sam Marsh
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