Local News

GPPD Welcomes New Officer with Strong Passion for Local Law Enforcement
The Grants Pass Police Department is welcoming Officer Daniel Varela who was recently sworn in by Chief Warren Hensman. Officer Varela has lived in the Grants Pass area for nearly 20 years and formerly worked as a regional manager for Verizon and then as a corrections deputy with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office. Varela said he chose a career in law enforcement to utilize his communication skills, his empathy and awareness to protect his community. He said his passion for law enforcement has come from his mission to set the standard and show his daughter that she can always follow her dreams. Varela added that he chose the Grants Pass Police Department because its core values align to create a strong sense of community safety through earned trust, courage and accountability. Welcome to the Grants Pass Police Department Officer Daniel Varela!
Posted on 12/18/23 5:55AM by Sam Marsh

Jackson County Team Leading Investigation into Officer-Involved Shooting Death in GP
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The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation into the officer-involved shooting that killed the fourth suspect in a November 21st Grants Pass homicide on Rogue River Highway. The Oregon State Police reported late Friday afternoon that the incident involved the Grants Pass Police Department, Josephine County Sheriff's Office and troopers who were searching for 48-year-old Kelly Lynn Mason. According to OSP, Mason was located in a vehicle on Friday at about 12:10 p.m. and he fled from law enforcement officers who pursued him to the intersection of Redwood Highway and Allen Creek Road. The suspect fired a gun at officers who returned fire from their duty weapons. He was pronounced deceased at the scene. The Josephine County Sheriff's Office confirms one deputy was injured during the gunfight. The deputy was treated for a minor injury at the hospital and released. All the involved officers have been placed on traumatic event leave as is standard protocol in deadly force incidents. The Jackson County Major Crimes Team is comprised of investigators from several local agencies and it's being overseen by the Josephine County District Attorney's Office.
Posted on 12/18/23 5:50AM by Sam Marsh

Josephine County Seeks Applicants for New Law Enforcement District Advisory Committee
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Josephine County is seeking applicants to serve on the citizen's advisory committee for the newly-formed Josephine County Law Enforcement Service District. Approved by voters in the November 7th special election, the law enforcement district will be advised by a five-member panel of Josephine County residents from various member communities. Those communities include Cave Junction, the Illinois Valley, Sunny Valley, Wolf Creek, Murphy and the greater Grants Pass area outside the city limits. The Josephine County Law Enforcement Service District covers Josephine County outside the City of Grants Pass and certain areas within the urban growth boundary of Grants Pass with existing public safety and annexation agreements. The Citizens Advisory Committee will advise the district governing body on matters concerning the district including expenditures, enforcement priorities and general operation of the district. Anyone who is interested in serving on the committee is invited to apply at "josephinecounty.gov/apply." Applications are due on January 12, 2024, by 4 p.m..
Posted on 12/18/23 5:48AM by Sam Marsh

Grants Pass Police Officers & Firefighters Put in Impressive Week of Community Protection
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Grants Pass police officers and firefighters put in an impressive week of activity as they protected citizens in this community. According to the Weekly Report filed by Grants Pass City Manager Aaron Cubic, officers responded to a total of 671 calls for service and 245 officer-initiated calls last week that resulted in 42 arrests, 32 citations, eight warnings and six highly-intoxicated people being lodged at the Sobering Center. The Community Response Team (CRT) made a total of 80 contacts with potential troublemakers while arresting four people, citing 21 more and warning 15 others. The CRT unit also trespassed 17 individuals, posted 96 new transient camps and removed trash from six campsites. Grants Pass Fire & Rescue responded to a total of 93 calls last week including 30 for emergency medical service, two for reports of smoke or fire, 19 lift assists, six rescue situations, four assists to other agencies and three false alarms. The 9-1-1 Dispatch Center fielded a total of 1,086 emergency calls last week.
Posted on 12/18/23 5:39AM by Sam Marsh
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Local Sheriff's Offices Teamed Up with Child Welfare for Foster Kid Toy Drives
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office helped deliver more than 400 Christmas gifts to the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Welfare Division office in Medford this week. In a program called "Foster the Love," the Sheriff's Office partnered with DHS to provide Christmas presents to kids in foster care in Jackson County. The toy drive collects and distributes hundreds of toys each Christmas to local kids in foster care. The Josephine County Sheriff's Office is involved in a similar program to benefit local foster children each holiday season.
Posted on 12/16/23 5:39AM by Chuck Benson
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Mount Ashland Forced to Postpone Planned Opening Day Due to Lack of Snow
The Mount Ashland team is anxious to get the season started, but they have had to postpone opening day due to a lack of snow on the mountain. The Mount "A" team does not have a new targeted opening date, but they are committed to getting the lifts spinning and mountain open as soon as the snow allows.
Officials said they need a solid winter storm cycle in order to safely open up for skiing and riding. They did have a couple of storms that brought snow over the past few weeks, but they have also seen some rain and warmer temperatures. As of Friday, the snow base was only a few inches.The team is standing ready and will work quickly to open as soon as Mother Nature provides enough snow. If you have purchased day tickets or products for any dates that they are not open, you will be automatically refunded
Posted on 12/16/23 5:37AM by Chuck Benson
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Senator Wyden Demands Federal Review of Crater Lake Concessionaire Contract
US Senator Ron Wyden is asking federal officials to act immediately to prevent concessionaire mismanagement from continuing to pose safety risks to Crater Lake National Park, its visitors, and the employees who live and work at the national park in Southern Oregon. In a letter written to National Park Service Director Charles Sams, III, Wyden the annual concessionaire assessments paint a troubling picture for Aramark's lack of fulfillment of its important responsibilities at Crater Lake over several years. Wyden said National Park Service records make it clear that the concessionaire has continually failed to fulfill the requirements of the contract. In the letter, he wrote that Aramark -- doing business as "Crater Lake Hospitality" -- has failed under its contract to perform required maintenance and has created unsafe living conditions for staff. Senator Wyden's letter also cited diesel spills at contractor-managed facilities, malfunctioning fire alarm systems and unsatisfactory public health inspections. And it noted the lack of investment and deferred maintenance by the contractor has prevented progress on a number of maintenance and improvement projects that the National Park Service has ap
Posted on 12/16/23 5:36AM by Chuck Benson
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Actor's Home on Rogue River near Eagle Point Sells for $5.57 Million at Auction
Actor Patrick Duffy's longtime Southern Oregon residence along the Rogue River, once for sale at $10,995,000, sold at auction this week for $5.75 million. The "live" streamed auction at Sotheby's Auction House in New York lasted 15 minutes, with two determined bidders moving up $50,000 at a time. The 329-acre Duffy Ranch at 436 Staley Road outside Eagle Point includes the main residence, pool house and 15-acre island in the river. There was no pre-set reserve or minimum bid for the ranch, but interested buyers made offers to Sotheby's Concierge Auctions during the bidding period of December 7th-14th. On December 7th, the auction house received multiple bids at $3 million, $3.5 million, several at $3.75 million and one at $4 million. The first bid of the "live" auction was $4.1 million, made by a representative of the unknown bidder who offered $3.5 million on December 7th and later prevailed as the winner with the final bid of $5.75 million.Once the bids reached $4.5 million, the eventual winning bidder and a new bidder ratcheted up the price 23 times.
Posted on 12/16/23 5:34AM by Chuck Benson
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SOREDI Praises City of GP for Receiving Oregon Energy Trust Program Rebate
Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI), is congratulating the City of Grants Pass for receiving a check from the Energy Trust of Oregon as part of its incentive program to help meet clean energy goals. On December 7th, Grants Pass was presented with a $130,000 from the Energy Trust for its clean energy accomplishment. ZCS Engineering & Architecture -- a SOREDI member -- and Carollo Engineers partnered with Grants Pass to make upgrades to its Water Restoration Plant. The Water Restoration Plant's heat exchanger was upgraded so it could efficiently use methane gas from the digester to directly power the exchanger. The wastewater system program's mission is to meet the area's current and future wastewater collection and treatment needs while protecting human health, welfare and the environment. SOREDI officials said the Grants Pass project exemplifies the local commitment and progress to further the economic growth and vitality of Southern Orego
Posted on 12/16/23 5:33AM by Chuck Benson
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OLCC Sanctioned Medford Marijuana Retailer for Violating Licensing Contract
The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) has sanctioned a Medford marijuana retailer for violating its state licensing contract. According to OLCC Marijuana Stipulated Settlement Agreements released Friday, La Mota Medford was punished for two unspecified violations. The local cannabis business agreed to pay a $4,885 fine or serve a 26-day suspension. Four other marijuana retailers -- Bud Bros, Paradise Found, Cannabis Curb and The Local Market -- were also sanctioned by the OLCC for violations. There was a total of 10 stipulated settlements for alcohol and marijuana licensees or applicants ratified this month by the state agency. The OLCC also celebrated the agency's 90th anniversary during this month's meeting. On December 15th, 1933, the OLCC was formed in the wake of the end of Prohibition. OLCC Executive Director Craig Prins acknowledged that the Knox Act enacted after the repeal of the 18th Amendment was the foundation that led to the evolution of the OLCC in its current form
Posted on 12/16/23 5:30AM by Chuck Benson
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Police Investigating Complaints of Sex Offender Sending Letters to Local Women
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is investigating complaints generated by a Level 3 sex offender sending disturbing letters to female members of the southwest Oregon community. Local law enforcement agencies have received multiple complaints from women who have received letters from 44-year-old Uriah Shawn Strauss. These letters are filled with sexually explicit content, causing alarm and fear for personal safety. Douglas County Lieutenant Brad O'Dell said Strauss has requested assistance from women unknown to him and stalked them in the past. He said the suspect targeted females in public places where he detained and attempted to sexually assault them. Strauss has contacted his victims through various methods including social media, phone book records, advertisements and magazine labels. He has stalked them at work, by phone, mail and e-mail. On two occasions, the suspect attempted to kidnap adult females for the purpose of sexual assault.
By law, this individual may not knowingly communicate in any manner with a person under 18 years of age with the intent to commit a crime. He also may not knowingly enter or remain in or upon premises where persons under 18 years of age regularly congregate such as schools, childcare centers and playgrounds.
Posted on 12/16/23 5:29AM by Chuck Benson
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Manhunt for GP Homicide Suspect Ends after He was Shot and Killed by Police
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The manhunt for a fourth suspect wanted in connection with the November 21st homicide in the 1400-block of Rogue River Highway is over. According to an Oregon State Police press release, at approximately 12:10 p.m. the suspect, 48-year-old Kelly Lynn Mason, was located in a vehicle near Grants Pass and fled from law enforcement officers who pursued the suspect. The pursuit ended at Highway 199, the Redwood Highway, and Allen Creek Road. During the course of the incident, law enforcement officers from all three agencies, Grants Pass City Police, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and State Troopers, discharged their duty weapons. Mason was pronounced deceased on scene. At least one law enforcement officer on scene received non-life-threatening injuries during the incident. All involved officers have been placed on traumatic event leave as is standard protocol in Senate Bill 111 deadly force incidents.The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation of the incident.On November 21st at 7:42 p.m., Grants Pass Police responded to a report of gunshots fired inside an apartment on Highway 99 near Hamilton Lane. Upon arrival, officers found a female victim who had been shot and a male victim who had been severely beaten. The gunshot victim -- Katherine Crago -- did not survive her wounds and was pronounced deceased at the scene. The male victim was taken to a local hospital where he was expected to recover from his injuries.
Posted on 12/16/23 5:24AM by Chuck Benson
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