Local News

Local Fire Prevention Regulations Increase for Industrial Operations on Friday
Dry fuels and dangerous weather patterns forecasted for Jackson and Josephine counties have prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry to increase the fire prevention measures on industrial operations. As a result, Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3 for logging sites and commercial operations will go into effect on Friday at 12:01 a.m.. For the general public, extreme fire restrictions remain in effect and unchanged. Under IFPL 3, several industrial activities are prohibited between the hours of 1 and 8 p.m.. This includes power saws at loading sites; loading or hauling of any product or material; blasting; welding, cutting or grinding of metal; and any other spark-emitting operation not specifically mentioned. In addition, some activities are permitted to operate overnight between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. where mechanized equipment capable of constructing fire line is immediately available to quickly reach and attack a fire start. This includes ground-based operations, power saws, rotary head saw feller-bunchers with a continuous firewatch, non-rotary head saw feller-bunchers and tethered logging. IFPL 3 is considered a restricted shutdown and some activities are not permitted at any time. For more information about ODF's fire season public and industrial restrictions, visit their website at "swofire.com."
Posted on 7/18/24 6:45AM by Sam Marsh
 

Former Commissioner Dan DeYoung Reads Official Resignation Letter at BCC Meeting
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The Josephine County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday proclaimed July 21st-27th as "Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week" as the only action item on the agenda -- but the real action occurred during public comments. The official proclamation was read by Commissioner Herman Baertschiger and it was presented to Josephine County Community Corrections Director Scott Hyde. During Requests and Comments from Citizens, former Commissioner Dan DeYoung read his official resignation letter and made no mention of allegations of sexual harassment as a reason for stepping down after 7-1/2 years on the Board. Instead, DeYoung stated that he has been isolated on the Board of Commissioners for the past 18 months as a series of 2-1 votes left him on the losing side of many important decisions. He said he could not "in good conscience" continue to collect a paycheck to finish his tenure when he is unable to provide effective leadership to the community he loves. He added that many of the decisions made since January 2023 have hurt citizens and led to an all-time low in the morale of county workers.
Posted on 7/18/24 6:31AM by Sam Marsh
 

GP City Council Approves Multiple Steps to Facilitate Additional Housing in Community
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The Grants Pass City Council adopted the 2024-25 Year 5 Annual Action Plan as specified in the Community Development Block Grant program. The adopted plan must be submitted to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development no later than August 15th. Funding allocation for this 5th program year is $381,398. The funding includes weather/rehab programs supporting seniors and others who are unable to afford repairs to their homes. Agencies receiving funds include St. Vincent DePaul mobile kitchen, the Maslow Project, the Boys & Girls Club and several others. Councilors also approved an appeal of the city's sign code allowing the movement of the sign for A-1 Mini Storage at 1867 Redwood Avenue. The sign is larger than the sign code allows, but it was installed prior to the code. The City Council approved an ordinance annexing property at 2020, 2222, and 2224 Allen Creek Road. A second ordinance amended the zoning for 1988, 2020, 2222 and 2224 Allen Creek Road, rearranging existing zones for moderate high-density and high-density development.
Posted on 7/18/24 6:27AM by Sam Marsh
 

GP Library Hosts Ocean-Themed Program by Museum of Natural & Cultural History
Josephine Community Library is hosting the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the Grants Pass branch for an all-ages event to learn more about the wonders of Oregon's coast and underwater environments. The program is scheduled for this Saturday, July 20th, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the library located at 200 NW C Street in Grants Pass. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and learn from local marine educators, participate in various hands-on activities and gain a deeper appreciation for the underwater world. "Journey Under the Sea" is part of the 2024 Summer Reading Program sponsored by Evergreen Federal Bank, Josephine Community Library Foundation and the State Library of Oregon. This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. A library card is not needed to participate. For more information about the Summer Reading Program, library programs and other services, visit "josephinelibrary.org," e-mail "info@josephinelibrary.org" or call (541)-476-0571.
Posted on 7/18/24 6:19AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Council Approves Steps to Facilitate Additional Housing
The City Council adopted the 2024-25-year five Annual Action Plan as specified in the Community Development Block Grant citizen participation plan. The adopted plan must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development no later than August 15th. Funding allocations for this 5th program year is $381,398. The funding includes weather/rehab programs supporting seniors and other who are unable to afford repairs to their homes. Other agencies receiving funds include St.; Vincent DePaul mobile kitchen, the Maslow Project, the Boys and Girls Club and several others. Councilors approved an appeal of the city’s sign code allowing the movement of the sign for A-1 Mini Storage at 1867 Redwood Avenue. The sign is larger than the sign code but was installed prior to the code. The Council approved an ordinance annexing property at 2020, 2222, and 2224 Allen Creek road. Then a 2nd ordinance amended the zoning for 1988, 2020, 2222, and 2224 Allen Creek Road basically rearranging existing zones for moderate high density and high density. Then a motion was approved adjusting property lines of the afore mentioned properties All properties are owned by Harbeck Residential Properties, L.L.C. in anticipation of developing the properties as single family dwellings, townhouses and multifamily housing. An additional ordinance was approved vacating a portion of Shannon Lane public right-of-way, reducing the right-of-way from 60 feet to 30 feet to accommodate a future expansion for future industrial uses. The Development code was amended deleting the sentence “No Individual shall hold the same office for more than two consecutive years.” The amended affects only the Historical Building and Sites Commission.
Posted on 7/17/24 7:39PM by Chuck Benson
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Former Commissioner Dan DeYoung Reads Resignation Letter at BCC Meeting
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners this morning proclaimed July 21st-27th as "Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week" as the only action item on the agenda -- but the real action occurred during public comments. The official proclamation was read by Commissioner Herman Baertschiger and it was presented to Josephine County Community Corrections Director Scott Hyde. During Requests and Comments from Citizens, former Commissioner Dan DeYoung read his official resignation letter and made no mention of allegations of sexual harassment as a reason for stepping down after 7-1/2 years on the Board. Instead, DeYoung stated that he has been isolated on the Board of Commissioners for the past 18 months as a series of 2-1 votes left him on the losing side of many important decisions. He said he could not "in good conscience" continue to collect a paycheck to finish his tenure when he is unable to provide effective leadership to the community he loves. He added that many of the decisions made since January 2023 have hurt citizens and led to an all-time low in the morale of county workers. In other public comments, several Williams residents pleaded with the remaining Board members to sign off on the Pipe Fork property sale before the August 15th deadline. Most of them said the sale is important to water quality in Williams. Colleen Padilla, CEO of Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI), provided an update on the organization's work in Josephine County.
Posted on 7/17/24 11:28AM by Sam Marsh
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ODF Incident Management Team Transitioning Salt Creek Fire to Local Districts
Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team #1 remains engaged on the Salt Creek Fire in Jackson County, but a transition back to the local districts is in the works. ODF reported this morning that the wildfire burning between Eagle Point and Butte Falls was 4,102 acres with 84% containment. Today is the final day for the current team, which will disengage from the fire on Thursday morning and return command of the incident to a local Type 3 team. During this transition, work continues on the fire and mop-up remains the focus for resources on the line. The increasing containment illustrates the amount of work firefighters have been able to complete in the last few days. Repair work also continues across the fire as crews put in water bars and rehabilitate other areas affected by the firefighting efforts. A total of 695 personnel were assigned to the wildfire for today's day and night shifts. This includes 25 20-person hand crews backed by 20 engines, 12 water tenders, five bulldozers and seven helicopters of various types. Level 1 "Be Ready" evacuation notices remain in effect for Zones JAC-316, JAC-317 and JAC-325-A. Any changes to evacuations will be made by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and Emergency Management. The Medford District BLM has temporarily closed its lands in the area for safety. The Salt Creek Fire was first reported July 7th and has cost an estimated $13.5 million to fight. ODF officials said the cause remains under investigation.
Posted on 7/17/24 11:26AM by Sam Marsh
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ODF Firefighters Battling Several Lightning-Sparked Fires on Rogue near Galice
The Oregon Department of Forestry was continuing to make access to at least eight lightning-sparked fires on both sides of the Rogue River northwest of Galice. ODF officials reported firefighters were able to reach two fires overnight and begin an aggressive initial attack. They said the remaining six fires range from "difficult" to "impossible" to access by road or on foot and aircraft will be their best tool to battle these blazes. None of the fires saw substantial growth since last night. An ODF Southwest District Type 3 helicopter that hosts a helitack crew was on the way to the area, and additional helicopters from the Salt Creek Fire and air tankers will be used throughout the day. Four additional 20-person crews from the Jackson County wildfire have been reassigned to the lower Rogue incidents. Officials said the area where these fires are burning is in and around numerous fire scars including the 2022 Rum Creek Fire and the Big Windy Fire from more than a decade ago. In some areas, this may help firefighters get an upper hand while in others it may provide additional challenges, with steep terrain, falling trees and rocks, and little or no access points. A Rapid Extrication Module (REM) and additional medical staff have been relocated from the Salt Creek Fire to this general area as firefighter safety is a primary concern. At this time, there are no road or campground closures associated with these fires. Please be aware of firefighters working in the area. Fire engines and equipment are expected to have a heavy presence over the next several days.
Posted on 7/17/24 11:25AM by Sam Marsh
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IVFD and ODF Firefighters Engaged First Lightning-Caused Fire in Selma Area
Illinois Valley and Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters engaged the first detected lightning-caused fire in the Selma area yesterday afternoon. On Tuesday at 3:37 p.m., crews from IVFD and ODF were dispatched to the fire reported in the area of Mooney Mountain Road and two Forest Service roads. At 6:02 p.m., the grass fire was estimated to be around 1.5 acres with dozens of people battling the blaze and a Type 2 helicopter on the way. No structures were threatened as crews built a line around the incident. At 7:43 p.m., the scene was turned over to ODF and crews remained working there overnight assisted by two IVFD water tenders.
Posted on 7/17/24 11:22AM by Sam Marsh
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Firefighters Put Out Lightning-Caused Blaze in Crooks Creek Area near Selma
Firefighters extinguished a lightning-sparked fire in the mountains above Selma last night. The Oregon Department of Forestry reports crews responded to a report of smoke on a hilltop near Crooks Creek Road late Tuesday afternoon. The Crooks Creek Fire was estimated to be 3/4 of an acre as resources mounted an initial attack, working to get a line around it. A Type 2 helicopter was ordered to assist in the firefight. By 8 p.m., firefighters had halted the wildfire at an estimated one acre and it was fully lined. Resources continued to mop up until the fire was fully extinguished. After thunderstorms moved through the southwest Oregon region again last night, resources are watching areas where lightning strikes occurred and will respond to any other lightning-caused fires.
Posted on 7/17/24 11:20AM by Sam Marsh
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Kitchen Fire Destroyed RV Being Used as Home on Haines Lane in Merlin
A kitchen fire destroyed a recreational vehicle being used as a residence in the Merlin area last night. On Tuesday at 10:11 p.m., Rural Metro Fire Department was dispatched to a reported large vehicle fire on Haines Lane. Rural Metro officials said the occupant was able to knock down the blaze with a fire extinguisher prior to the arrival of firefighters. They said a smoke alarm was sounding, but it wasn't a factor in the discovery of the fire. No one was injured. Firefighters encourage anyone using an RV for camping or as a primary residence to be sure smoke alarms are working, and a fire extinguisher is charged and easily accessible.
Posted on 7/17/24 11:18AM by Sam Marsh
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Central Point Structure Fire Spread to Adjacent Field and Threatened Houses
A Central Point structure fire spread to an adjacent field and threatened several homes late yesterday. On Tuesday at 4:05 p.m., Jackson County Fire District #3 reported crews were responding to a fully-involved structure in the 4,000-block of Grant Road near Scenic Drive. There was a large smoke plume and the blaze had spread to a field. Ten minutes later, the fire was upgraded to a second alarm which brought the Oregon Department of Forestry, Medford Fire Department and Ashland Fire- Rescue to the scene. Crews worked to provide structure protection for nearby homes and to stop forward progress of the rapidly spreading grass fire. With the fire estimated to be between 15 and 20 acres, forward progress was stopped on the east and north sides of the incident. All neighboring structures were protected from the flames. ODF crews continued to work on the south and west sides of the blaze with support from aircraft including helicopters. By 5:05 p.m., firefighters had knocked down the flames on all sides and began mopping up. Crews from mutual aid partners were released, but Fire District #3 remained on scene mopping up hot spots. Residents in the area received a Level 1 "Be Ready" evacuation notice from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office that was upgraded to Level 2 "Be Set" at the height of the incident. All evacuation notices were lifted later in the evening.
Posted on 7/17/24 6:43AM by Sam Marsh
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