Local News

OSP Seized Stolen License Plate Off Car Stopped on Grants Pass Parkway
State troopers seized a stolen license plate off a vehicle that was pulled over on the Grants Pass Parkway late yesterday. The Oregon State Police reports troopers stopped a white Hyundai Sonata driven by a 45-year-old Grants Pass woman on US Highway 199 near NE Terry Lane on Wednesday shortly after 4 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped the suspect vehicle for failing to properly display a license plate. During the course of the investigation, they discovered that the license plate had been previously reported as stolen. During a field interview, it was learned that the driver was in possession of one of the stolen license plates. The woman was not arrested, but she was warned and the stolen license plate was seized and submitted for destruction.
Posted on 5/16/24 11:20AM by Sam Marsh

Oregon Transportation Safety Commission Hosts Open House at GP Fairgrounds
The Oregon Transportation Safety Commission wants to make sure they hear from each corner and from all communities in the state with feedback, project ideas and concerns to better serve citizens. This spring, the commission is hosting eight in-person sessions where community members can make their voices heard. One of those sessions is taking place today in Grants Pass. It runs in an open house format from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Josephine County Fairgrounds. If you're interested in transportation safety in Josephine and Jackson counties, stop by the open house before 6.
Posted on 5/16/24 10:20AM by Sam Marsh

ODF and Keep Oregon Green Urge People to Burn Responsibly to Prevent Fires
The Oregon Department of Forestry and other five prevention experts urge the public to exercise caution when disposing of yard debris this spring. Over 70% of wildfires in Oregon are human-caused, with debris burning being the #1 cause. As the weather gets hotter and fuels begin to dry out, the risk of a debris burn escaping increases. Now is the time to trim trees, bushes and tidy up plants around your home to create a "defensible space" around your property. As you begin spring clean-up, the Oregon Department of Forestry and Keep Oregon Green urge you to put some extra thought into how you plan to dispose of your yard debris. Call your local ODF office before burning to make sure the weather conditions are safe. You can also cover part of the pile with plastic and keep it dry until the rainy fall and winter seasons and when it's safer to burn. Delaying your plans will give the debris more time to cure and avoid spring holdover fires as fire risk increases with hotter, drier weather. By choosing alternative disposal methods or burning under safe conditions outside of fire season, Oregonians can significantly reduce the risk of creating a large wildfire. Remember, outdoor debris burning is prohibited in southwest Oregon during fire season. ODF officials said the 2024 fire season will begin on or before June 1st.
Posted on 5/16/24 10:05AM by Sam Marsh

Special Districts Association Covers Library Legal Fees for Appeal of BCC Ruling
The Special Districts Association of Oregon has agreed to cover legal fees of more than $14,000 that were incurred in litigation between the Josephine Community Library District and Josephine County Board of Commissioners. On December 6, 2023, the Board of Commissioners voted 2-to-1 to allow residents Mike & Winnie Pelfrey to opt out of the library district and no longer pay taxes to support library services. Immediately after, the Josephine Community Library District Board of Directors voted to appeal the ruling to both preserve the integrity of the 2017 library district election and to seek judgement from a higher court on the Commissioners' ruling. As a result, the library district contracted with the law firm Hornecker Cowling, LLP, to appeal the decision through the courts. In March, the Board of Commissioners conceded to a stipulation and rescinded their ruling to allow the Pelfreys to withdraw from the library district. In addition to support from the Special Districts Association, library supporters donated $1,695 to the Josephine Community Library Foundation toward total legal expenses of $15,905. Library officials said contributions from the organization and donors ensure responsible financial stewardship of resources for the district to taxpayers.
Posted on 5/16/24 6:26AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man for Four Crimes after Catching Him with Stolen Vehicle
Grants Pass Police jailed man for multiple crimes this week after catching him driving a stolen vehicle on Rogue River Highway. The Police Department reports officers pulled over a Toyota Tacoma driven by the 45-year-old man on Highway 99 near Parkdale Drive on Tuesday night. Police said they spotted the Tacoma, which had been reported stolen from the 5900-block of Jerome Prairie Road by the Josephine County Sheriff's Office. While contacting the driver, they discovered that his driving privileges had been suspended. During a consent search, he was found to be in possession of both methamphetamine and fentanyl. The narcotics were seized for destruction and the registered owner of the truck was notified of its recovery. The suspect was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony Possession of a Stolen Vehicle along with misdemeanor charges of Driving While Suspended, Possession of Meth and Possession of Fentanyl. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 5/16/24 6:17AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Felon for Parole Violation in Violent Incident at Local Hospital
Grants Pass Police jailed a felon for violating his post-prison supervision early yesterday after he caused a violent disturbance at Three Rivers Medical Center. The Police Department reports officers arrested the 41-year-old man for the incident at the hospital on SW Ramsey Avenue on Wednesday at 6:05 a.m.. Police said the male subject became uncooperative and confrontational in the Three Rivers emergency room before walking away from the facility while armed with a six-inch knife. Still acting aggressively, the man entered the outpatient building where one of the employees set off the panic alarm. The man -- who was carrying the knife, a hospital blanket and some other items -- was contacted near a tire shop on Union Avenue where he was placed into custody without further incident. The suspect was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony Parole Violation and he was being held on a no-bail detainer. He was also trespassed from the hospital.
Posted on 5/16/24 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County DA May File Charges on GP Man Caught Breaking into Truck
The Josephine County District Attorney's Office was deciding whether to file charges against a Grants Pass man who was allegedly caught by the Oregon State Police breaking into a parked pickup on Interstate 5 at Highland Hill. OSP reports troopers detained the 43-year-old man along the northbound lanes of I-5 near milepost 60 on Tuesday morning. Troopers released few details about the incident, but the vehicle involved in the break-in was identified as a green Chevrolet C-1500 pickup and the suspect tried to run away. He was chased down and detained, but not arrested. OSP referred charges of Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle and Attempt to Elude Police against the suspect to the DA's office for consideration.
Posted on 5/16/24 6:13AM by Sam Marsh
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Police Snared Female Transient for Creating Problems at GP Shopping Center
Police arrested a female transient for making a nuisance of herself at the Grants Pass Shopping Center this week. The Police Department reports officers responded to perform a welfare check on the 29-year-old woman at the shopping center on NE D Street on Tuesday night. Officers said Concierge Security contacted them about a female subject who had scattered a large amount of garbage behind a paint store and refused to leave the premises when contacted. The woman was yelling that she needed Top Ramen. She was offered a ride to the Sobering Center, but did not want to go there. According to the report, the woman had been previously trespassed from the shopping center and she also wandered onto a nearby residential property. The suspect was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Criminal Trespass. Her trespass warning at the shopping center was renewed and she was issued another warning for the residential property.
Posted on 5/16/24 6:12AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Nabbed Motorist for Impaired Driving in Redwood Area Traffic Stop
Grants Pass Police arrested a motorist for impaired driving early yesterday during a traffic stop on the southwest side of the city. According to the Police Department, officers pulled over a red Cadillac driven by a 32-year-old man near the corner of Redwood Avenue and Allen Creek Road on Wednesday at 2:46 a.m.. Police said they stopped the suspect vehicle after the motorist was seen driving outside of his travel lane several times and nearly striking a curb on US Highway 199 near Ringuette Street. They said the driver exhibited signs of impairment and performed poorly in field sobriety tests. The suspect was taken to the Grants Pass Sobering Center where provided a breath sample that exceeded the legal driving limit. He was cited for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and then released. His car was parked and secured.
Posted on 5/16/24 6:11AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass City Council Approved Future Expansion & Affordable Housing Plans
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The Grants Pass City Council approved an ordinance annexing the property at 2117 Allen Creek Road into the city limits to facilitate the expansion of Allen Creek Road to include the development of a regional stormwater facility. Public Works requested the annexation of the 3.25-acre property. The ordinance was approved unanimously with five "yes" votes. The Council then approved the zoning of the annexed property to R-2 with five voting "yes" and one abstention. The second reading will be at the next business session. An ordinance amending the comprehensive plan map and the zoning map for property located at 235 NW Scenic Drive was approved unanimously. The land will be transferred to Home Bridging GP to create a moderate-high density development of 22 moderately-priced cottages available for seniors 62 and older. The fifth ordinance of the night vacating the property lines between three lots at 670 and 680 Rogue River Highway to allow the further development of a self-storage facility was also approved unanimously. Another unanimous vote okayed a resolution revising the development agreement with Chrisman Development, Inc., reducing the number of affordable housing units from 66 to 51 on the surplus property known as the SW Ramsey Avenue. The project has had funding problems, but with fewer units the project is more financially feasible.

(Thank you to Chuck Benson for covering this meeting.)
Posted on 5/16/24 6:02AM by Sam Marsh
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Board Adopted Four Ordinances to Make Needed Changes to Josephine County Code
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The Board of Commissioners on Wednesday adopted four ordinances that made some necessary alterations to the Josephine County Code. Following public hearings on the second readings of the ordinances, the Board voted unanimously to adopt the changes involving the Southern Oregon Library Information System (SOLIS), Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS), Public Works Revolving Fund and Law Library. Assistant Legal Counsel Leah Harper testified that SOLIS was adopted in 1999 as a library network connection for Josephine, Jackson and Klamath counties -- but since Josephine Community Library District is no longer run by the County, it is being repealed. The chapter on LEDS was created in 2002 for Human Resources (HR) to conduct background checks on employees and volunteers, but HR is now using a third-party system and no longer needs LEDS. It is also being repealed. Harper testified that Public Works Revolving Fund was established in 1991 to administer state funding for road maintenance and repairs, but it was closed about 20 years ago and is being repealed. A chapter on the Law Library was amended to offer more flexible hours for legal staff and the public. The Law Library will stay open as long as the state continues to fund its operation.
Posted on 5/16/24 5:59AM by Sam Marsh
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GP/JoCo Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Terry Hopkins as New CEO and President
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The Grants Pass & Josephine County Chamber of Commerce has announced that Terry Hopkins has been selected as its new CEO and President. A local entrepreneur with deep roots in the community, Hopkins brings over 25 years of business management experience in Southern Oregon to his new role. A lifelong resident of Grants Pass, Hopkins is a graduate of Grants Pass High School. His career has been marked by a commitment to the local economy and community, with an extensive background in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Hopkins has worked with Thomason Hospitality Group and served as a business advocate for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. Most notably, he opened and currently operates the popular Grants Pass bar and restaurant Steam Distillery which launched in 2021. Hopkins' appointment marks a promising new chapter for the Chamber of Commerce as it continues to support and advocate for local businesses and economic growth in the region. He starts his new job on June 24th.
Posted on 5/16/24 5:57AM by Sam Marsh
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