Local News

Medford Police Investigating Weekend Homicide at Crater Lake Ave. Laundromat
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The Medford Police Department is seeking public assistance in locating a teenage suspect who is believed to be responsible for a weekend shooting death at an eastside laundromat. On Saturday at about 5:50 p.m., MPD officers responded to a report of shots fired at the laundromat in the 600-block of Crater Lake Avenue. Patrol officers were on scene within two minutes and discovered a male subject with multiple gunshot wounds inside the business. The victim -- identified by police as 51-year-old Justin William Keaton -- was pronounced deceased. MPD detectives were called in and they worked the case overnight. On Sunday, the investigation continued with three search warrants served at different locations as detectives attempted to locate the suspect who has been identified as 18-year-old Jesus Armando Pena, Jr.. Pena recently escaped from Oregon Youth Authority custody and has only been in the Medford area a short time. He has warrants for his arrest and his whereabouts is unknown. Jesus Pena is described as a Hispanic male, 5-feet-7-inches tall, with black hair, brown eyes and a light moustache/goatee. In attempts to locate the suspect in this case, MPD has released a photograph of the suspect in hopes that someone with information will call them at (541)-770-4783. Reference Case #24-1584.
Posted on 1/29/24 6:43AM by Sam Marsh

Jackson County SO Investigating White City Shooting that Left Victim "Critical"
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting in White City that occurred last night and left the victim critically injured. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies responded to the shooting in the area of 29th Street and Avenue G on Sunday at 6:51 p.m.. Deputies said someone called for help and indicated that shots had been fired. They responded and found the victim who was transported to a local hospital where they were listed in critical condition. No one was identified in the report. The suspect fled the scene and is currently on the run. Investigators believe the suspect and victim knew each other, and there is no known danger to the general public. The case remains under investigation with detectives following additional leads. If you have information about the shooting, please call (541)-776-7206.
Posted on 1/29/24 6:42AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Snared Man for Crimes after He Tried to Sell Stolen Metal to Recycler
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for multiple crimes after he attempted to sell multiple sheets of aluminum that he had stolen from another business to a local recycler. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a theft complaint at Cascade Metal Recyclers on NE Industry Drive on Friday afternoon. Police said an investigation determined that 38-year-old Kurt Kent Krause, II, brought sheets of aluminum with specific cut patterns to Cascade and workers recognized the sheets as belonging to Met One. They contacted Met One and confirmed the aluminum had been stolen recently from their recycling bin. Officers arrived on scene and placed Krause into custody. A subsequent search of his Toyota Sequoia located a 9-millimeter pistol with a loaded magazine and more than two grams of methamphetamine. The gun and drugs were seized as evidence. Kurt Krause was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felon in Possession of a Firearm, 1st-Degree Theft, Possession of Methamphetamine and Probation Violation related to some past arrests. He was being held on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 1/29/24 6:40AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Jailed Felon for Parole Violation after Drunken Altercation with Mother
Grants Pass Police jailed a felon for violating his post-prison supervision after he got into a weekend altercation with his mother. The Police Department reports officers arrested 44-year-old Christian Anthony Bartell for the incident at a home in the 1,000-block of SE Park Plaza Drive on Saturday at 2:11 a.m.. Police said the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center received a call from that address, dispatchers heard a woman yelling and the line disconnected. Officers rushed to the scene to find that Bartell had been engaged in a violent argument with his mother, but no one was hurt. Officers said Bartell displayed multiple indicators of impairment by alcohol, which is a direct violation of the terms of his parole stemming from previous convictions for Felony 4th-Degree Assault, Strangulation, Menacing and Felony Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. Christian Bartell was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Parole Violation. He was being held on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 1/29/24 6:39AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Arrested Woman for Intentionally Breaking Vehicle Windows at Park
Grants Pass Police arrested a woman for felony vandalism after she intentionally broke windows on a vehicle at Morrison Centennial Park over the weekend. According to the Police Department, officers were alerted to the vandalism incident at the city park on Rogue River Highway on Saturday around 3:30 a.m.. Police arrived on scene and contacted the victims who advised that 46-year-old Melaine Delaine Gilmore drove to Morrison Park and intentionally broke three windows on a vehicle belonging to them. Multiple calls came into the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center, but no one at the park wanted to answer any questions. After confirming Gilmore was the suspect, officers went to her residence and she admitted to breaking the windows. She gave no reason why she used a crowbar to break the vehicle windows nor did she disclose her relationship with the victims. Melaine Gilmore was booked into the Josephine County Jail for Felony 1st-Degree Criminal Mischief and she was being held without bail.
Posted on 1/29/24 6:31AM by Sam Marsh
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GP School District 7 Offers Free "Ready for Kindergarten Classes" This Week
Are you a Grants Pass resident who has a four- or five-year-old child entering kindergarten this fall? If so, the Grants Pass School District is inviting you to "Ready for Kindergarten" with three classes scheduled this week. This free class teaches parents and guardians about the important skills a 5-year-old should be familiar with by the time they start school in September. A free dinner and childcare are provided by District 7. The "Ready for Kindergarten" classes are scheduled for today, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m.. Choose one night to attend. The classes are being held at the Grants Pass School District 7 Early Learning Center, which is located at 1845 NW Highland Avenue.
Posted on 1/29/24 6:28AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Residents Unable to Attend or View Public Safety Funding Session Can Do So Online
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Grants Pass residents who were unable to attend or view the city's Public Safety Listening and Learning session last week can still watch what happened. Last Thursday night, the Grants Pass City Council held the forum to better inform residents about the public safety funding crisis and the options that could be used to close the gap between costs and revenue for police and fire services. City staff explained why more General Fund support is necessary to fund the rising costs of public safety services each year as well as the limitations of the current budget. Funding options were discussed, outlining the pros and cons of each option. Questions from the public were answered by the staff and Council. While nothing has been finalized, the majority of the City Council has expressed its support for a 1.5% general sales tax combined with a $12 hike to the monthly utility fee. No other city in Oregon is using a sales tax in this manner and some people in the audience said a citizen referendum could be mounted to defeat it. The City Council is hoping to come to a final decision on a plan in the near future. The Public Safety Funding session was streamed on the City of Grants Pass YouTube channel at "youtube.com@cityofgrantspass5880/streams" and it still can be viewed there.
Posted on 1/29/24 6:17AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police & Firefighters Donned Rain Gear in Wet Week of Citizen & Structure Protection
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Grants Pass police officers and firefighters donned their rain gear while protecting the city last week when measurable precipitation was recorded every single day. According to the Weekly Report filed by Grants Pass City Manager Aaron Cubic, police officers responded to a total of 692 calls for service along with 279 officer-initiated calls that resulted in 52 arrests, 19 citations, 36 warnings and three highly intoxicated people being lodged at the Sobering Center. Cubic also reported that officers conducted a total of 70 traffic stops and made 28 referrals to the Oregon Department of Human Services. The Community Response Team (CRT) contacted a total of 141 potential trouble-makers while citing 14 individuals and warning 86 others. The CRT unit also trespassed 12 people, posted 102 transient camps and removed trash from 12 campsites, primarily in city parks. No information was available on the activities of Grants Pass Fire & Rescue last week. The 9-1-1 Dispatch Center fielded a total of 1,076 emergency calls in addition to 800 calls for non-emergency service.
Posted on 1/29/24 6:16AM by Sam Marsh
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Medford Police and Others Participating in Winter Safety Belt Enforcement Campaign
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Starting today and running through Sunday, February 11th, the Medford Police Department -- along with agencies throughout Oregon -- will be participating in the Oregon Department of Transportation's Safety Belt Enforcement Program. Law enforcement agencies will be using federally-funded overtime to educate the public about safety belt and child safety seat laws including a law passed in 2017 increasing safety for children under age 2. ODOT crash data for 2021 shows lack of safety belt or child restraint use was a factor in 32% or 119 of a total 377 motor vehicle occupant fatalities. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading nationwide cause of death for children ages one to 12 years old. In 2021, 1,475 children under 12 were injured in Oregon traffic crashes and 16% were reported not using a child restraint system. In 2017, an Oregon law was passed requiring children to ride in a rear-facing safety seat until they are at least two years old.
Posted on 1/29/24 6:14AM by Sam Marsh
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California Felon Arrested following Gun Store Burglary
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A wanted felon out of Riverside California was arrested and lodged in the county jail following the burglary of a local gun store. On Wednesday, just after 6:00 pm, Grants Pass Police Officers responded to a Firearms Retail Store in the 200 block of Redwood Hwy regarding an alarm. Officers discovered the front doors of the business had been smashed open, and multiple firearms had been stolen. Store surveillance showed a white pickup truck backing through the doors and a lone suspect taking multiple firearms. Grants Pass Police Detectives responded to the scene and began their investigation. An image of the suspect from the surveillance video was distributed to local police officers, and a Grants Pass Police School Marshall advised detectives he had seen a subject matching the description at a local grocery store the day of the burglary. Further investigation by Grants Pass Detectives, Oregon State Police, Medford Police Detectives, the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement team, U.S. Marshals, and ATF identified the suspect as Antone W. Bayard, a 27-year-old from Southern California, was tracked to a VRBO rental on Willow Lane in Grants Pass. It was also discovered that Bayard was wanted for a parole violation warrant out of Riverside County, California. Friday afternoon, just after 3:00 pm, as Grants Pass SWAT members began to surround the VRBO rental on Willow Lane, Antone Bayard ran from the residence and was arrested a short time later.
Posted on 1/27/24 5:39AM by Chuck Benson
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SW Oregon Residents Encouraged to Stay Alert for Landslides Due to Heavy Rain
The National Weather Service has posted a Flood Watch for portions of southwest Oregon including the Curry County coast and -- specifically -- Brookings, Gold Beach and the US Highway 101 corridor. The Curry County Flood Watch is in effect through this afternoon. In addition, a NWS Hydrologic Outlook indicates a potential for flooding today across Curry County, western Josephine County, Coos County and western Douglas County. A stalled front was expected to bring significant rainfall to the area over the weekend. Heavy rain may result in landslides in areas of steep terrain as well as debris flows in and near burned areas from recent wildfires. Debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides. They can contain boulders and logs transported in a fast-moving soil and water slurry down steep hillsides and through narrow canyons. They can easily travel a mile or more, and they move faster than a person can run. People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk.
Posted on 1/27/24 5:33AM by Chuck Benson
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2023 Crater Lake Visitor Numbers Increased as the Park saw Moderate Crowds
More people visited Crater Lake in 2023 than the year prior, but the beautiful national park still saw moderate crowds by recent standards. The Oregonian reports that might be by design. In 2023, a total 559,976 people visited the park, according to data released this month by the National Park Service, including 416,104 people who visited between June and September. That's a 6% increase over the annual visitor count in 2022, but a far cry from the record 756,344 people who showed up in 2016. Crater Lake Superintendent Craig Ackerman said while several issues are likely at play, he suspects two main reasons for the recent decline in visitor numbers: unpredictability with wildfires and a concerted effort to reduce marketing of the park. While wildfires were not a serious problem at Crater Lake in 2023, the possibility that they could be a problem may have been enough to sway some people to visit other, less risky places in the summer, Ackerman said. That's a trend he's seen over the past few years, after several seasons of devastating wildfires. Meanwhile, park officials in recent years have also been working with state and local tourism agencies to tamp down the marketing of Crater Lake, he said, especially following the enormous crowds that came between 2016 and 2019, on the heels of the National Park Service's centennial celebration.
Posted on 1/27/24 5:32AM by Chuck Benson
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