Rogue Valley News, 4/30 – Multiple Drug Busts This Week, No New Covid-19 Cases in Jackson or Josephine, Oregon With 2446 Cases, 61 New, 101 Deaths

The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from the online digital home of the valley,

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Rogue Valley Weather

Today   Partly sunny, with a high near 72. North northwest wind 3 to 6 mph. Overnight low around 46.

Friday   Mostly sunny, with a high near 74. Calm wind becoming west northwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon.

Saturday   Rain likely, mainly after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 71. Calm wind becoming southwest 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Overnight more showers likely with a low near 44.

Sunday   Showers likely, mainly after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 65. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Monday   Sunny, with a high near 73.

Today’s Headlines

On Wednesday, Jackson County Public Health said that it had received no new positive test results for COVID-19, leaving the countywide total at 49 cases. The last confirmed case was announced on Friday last week.

Of the 49 total cases, Jackson County says that 38 have fully recovered. 11 cases are still being monitored by public health staff.

Over the past week, 421 people in the County have been tested for the virus and returned negative results. There have been 4,104 negative results in the county since testing began.

Josephine County Public Health officials last announced one new case of coronavirus in the county on Saturday, bringing the countywide total number of cases to 20. Ten people have reportedly recovered from the virus.

Klamath County Public Health one new confirmed case in the county on Tuesday, bringing the countywide total number of confirmed cases to 37. Importantly, County officials also reported that 24 of those cases have recovered and are no longer active.

Oregon health officials on Wednesday reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths.

The coronavirus death toll in Oregon is now 101 people. The two people who died were a man and a woman in their 70s, according to the daily update from the Office of Emergency Management.  The Oregon Health Authority has not yet released information about the people who died.

Oregon’s 61 new known cases bring the statewide total to 2,446. The amount of active infections is unclear. A total of 54,472 people have been tested with 52,026 tests (95%) coming back negative.

Again, findings are that a majority of those patients who died from the virus had underlying health issues, officials said.

Oregon State Parks will not reopen as soon as expected. The parks will now remain closed beyond May 8 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Camping and day-use reservations in state parks have been canceled from May 8 through May 25 and officials said more cancelations are likely. Site fees will be refunded. Officials said they understand people need to get outside, but traveling to state parks puts people in rural areas at risk. State parks officials recommend people get outdoors in their own neighborhood.

They ask people to avoid traveling to any popular recreation hotspots.

The future of higher education is currently being discussed by all colleges and universities as they discuss protocols and plans for re-opening amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Right now, all classes at our local colleges and universities are being held online and that is the plan for all summer courses at Rogue Community College, Southern Oregon University  and Oregon Institute of Technology.

So far, Southern Oregon University and Rogue Community say their goal is to offer in-person classes by early September. All say conditions could change, and have plans B and C in place is also critical to plan ahead should the virus have a resurgence in the area over the summer months.

Farm and ranch families care deeply about the health and wellbeing of their employees, but the new OR-OSHA rules give only 11 days’ notice to make significant changes to farm infrastructure and practices.

Oregon Farm Bureau is concerned that certain rules require changes in agricultural workplaces that are not attainable by farm and ranch families because there are considerable supply chain issues that make complying with these rules impossible. The rules also reduce the amount of available housing for farm employees, including in rural areas where there are no viable alternative lodging options available.

Oregon should be creating more opportunities for shelter and housing at this time, not less. Moreover, farmers and ranchers are already under tremendous economic pressure after years of lower prices received, and now they are facing additional hardship from the pandemic.

Many farms will not survive the cumulative weight of these unattainable rules, which are more burdensome than any set for other sectors of Oregon’s economy.

Fire Season begins Friday, May 1, at 12:01 a.m. The fire danger level will be “Low” (green). The newly adopted City Municipal Code 9.15 Regulated Closure Fire Restrictions will take effect at that time.

In Southern Oregon, rainfall amounts in the Rogue Basin are several inches lower than normal, and the extended forecast for fire season conditions calls for continued below-normal precipitation and above-normal temperatures.

Beginning Friday, the following restrictions will take effect within the City of Grants Pass:  

  • Smoking in areas of flammable vegetation is prohibited.
  • Open wood fuled fires are prohibited, including campfires, cooking fires, and warming fires, except at locations designated by the Fire Marshal. 
  • Power saw use is permitted all day during low fire danger. Each power saw is required to have one shovel and one fire extinguisher of at least 8-ounce capacity. A Firewatch of at least one hour is required following the use of each saw.
  • Cutting, grinding and welding of metal in areas of flammable vegetation is permitted all day during low fire danger.
  • The mowing of dried, cured grass is permitted all day during low fire danger.
  • Motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are only allowed on improved roads free of flammable vegetation, except for the culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine in areas of flammable vegetation not specifically mentioned is permitted when conducted in a cleared area and a charged garden hose or one 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher is immediately available.

The City Fire Marshal or an authorized representative may, in writing, approve a modification or waiver of these requirements. For more information about the City of Grants Pass Fire Season regulations, please call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 541-450-6200

The 2020 Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Memorial at DPSST has been closed to the public this year in order to practice social distancing guidelines, due to the current COVID-19 health crisis.   

This year’s memorial will be a shortened version of the traditional ceremony, complete with honor guard, bagpiper, bugler and roll call.  The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5th, 2020.

DPSST plans to video record the ceremony and post it soon afterwards so that family members, co-workers and friends of the fallen know that those who made the ultimate sacrifice are not forgotten. We will share the link as soon as the video is posted.

The State’s memorial honors more than 180 fallen Oregon law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty since the 1880s. This includes officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies who have served as law enforcement officers, corrections officers, and parole and probation officers.

The Oregon Fallen Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Ceremony is a significant event that the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is proud to host each year in partnership with the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Oregon Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, and Oregon’s various statewide law enforcement associations.

Tuesday, April 28th, an Oregon State Police Trooper conducted a traffic stop on a 2020 Chrysler Van on Interstate 5 northbound near milepost 60.

During the traffic stop the Trooper observed several signs of criminal activity and a search of the vehicle was conducted.

The search revealed two large duffle bags containing approximately 132 pounds of marijuana.

The driver, Bryant Oglen (52) of Wisconsin,  stated he had flown into Medford and was driving back home to Wisconsin.

Oglen was cited and released for unlawful import/export of marijuana.

On Tuesday, RADE detectives in the Rogue Valley observed a white Toyota pick-up in Cave Junction near Perfect Pizza, 212 N Redwood Hwy, with a stolen license plate.

The detectives requested a marked patrol vehicle and an Oregon State Police (OSP) Sergeant who was in the area responded. With assistance from OSP, the occupants were detained and interviewed. The license plate was determined to be stolen out of the City of Grants Pass on 04-21-20.

A female occupant, Iris Marie Jessee, 21 years old, was taken into custody after a consent search and lodged for PCS/DCS Methamphetamine and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. Seized during the investigation was over 50 grams of methamphetamine, packaging material and cash. Also seized was a firearm in Jessee’s property, which was readily accessible to her.

The stolen license plate was seized and will be returned to DMV. Anyone with questions or information regarding this case can call 541-450-6370 and reference case #20-19068.

Last Friday, Grants Pass Police and Fire units responded to 208 SE M Street, Bobo’s Wash and Wax, for a report of a male standing in the roadway yelling about a fire at the location.  When Fire and Police arrived on scene, the fire was contained, and the male was gone.

During the initial investigation, it was determined the fire was intentionally set.  A suspect was developed and later identified as  52-year-old Troy Garcia, via evidence left behind at the scene.  Unfortunately, Mr. Garcia was not located at that time.

On 04/26/20, Police and Fire units responded back to the Bobo’s Wash and Wax for a second, larger fire inside the carwash which Fire Personnel were able to contain 11 minutes after 911 was called.  Mr. Garcia was suspected of starting the second fire as well.  A Police K9 was summoned to the area to search for Mr. Garcia, but he was not located. The fire caused significant financial loss to the business.

On 04/28/20, Troy Garcia was contacted and taken into custody on Terry Lane near the Grants Pass Parkway without incident.  GPDPS detectives conducted an interview with Mr. Garcia prior to lodging him at the Josephine County Jail for Arson in the Second Degree and Attempted Arson in the Second Degree. This case is still under investigation, and anyone with additional information is encouraged to call GPDPS at 541-450-6260.

A popular Northwest fishing program is getting a late start this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The 2020 Northern Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Fishery will not open on May 1, as originally planned.

The fishery is tentatively scheduled to open May 11, for registered anglers with licenses to fish in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Fishery updates, including possible opening day changes, will be announced on the website,

Stay at home orders issued in March by governors in Washington and Oregon closed or limited fishing and limited access to some recreational facilities, including boat ramps. Washington recently reopened many outdoor recreational activities on a limited basis, including opening most fishing seasons and allowing day-use of many boat ramps.

While the lifting of these restrictions is good news for anglers eagerly awaiting the start of the Northern pikeminnow reward fishery program, when it opens anglers will see some changes to registration and turn-in procedures. These changes are intended to protect the health and well-being of program employees and fishing enthusiasts. Program participants should expect additional barriers, signs and floor markers at stations to encourage social distancing.

Anglers will be encouraged not to congregate in groups near registration stations and asked to unload their fish into designated containers.

The latest State of Oregon Covid-19 News & Preparedness Information Here.

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