DeYoung calls Measure 114 ‘disturbing’

The Nov. 9 weekly business session of the Board of Josephine County Commissioners had a small agenda but saw a lot of acres of land owned by the county designated as forestland.
JoCo Real Property Manager Helene Lulich approached the podium at Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass to give a brief rundown on the properties.
These properties – 13 in total – are located as far north as Wolf Creek and as far south as O’Brien. They range in size from 2.6 acres to 320.
Lulich said she had been working with JoCo Forestry Director Dave Streeter to put the list of properties together.
“These are properties we have had for quite awhile, and had missed being designated in the past,” said Lulich.
A 121.52-acre property off of Lone Mountain Rd. in O’Brien was acquired by the county through tax foreclosure in 1971. A nearby parcel off of Redwood Hwy. is estimated to have been owned by the county even longer, but data pointing to the exact year of its acquisition could not be located.
Other properties designated included an 80-acre lot and a 156.24-acre lot off of Quartz Creek Rd. in Merlin, purchased for $214,000 from Caswell Thompson in 2020; a 280-acre lot in Wolf Creek’s Tom East Creek, purchased for $150,000 from Spalding & Son in 2021; and over 500 total acres combined from a trio of lots in the area of Morris Creek Rd. and Granite Hill Rd. in Grants Pass, bought for $550,000 in 2021.
In all, over 1,200 acres of county land was designated forestry. Several of these lots will be sold at auction.
During discussions, the commissioners reacted to the results of the election that took place the night before.
Commissioner Dan DeYoung kicked them off by bashing Measure 114, which will require permits to buy firearms and put limits on magazine capacity unless nullified by the inevitable legal challenges.
“114 is disturbing at best,” said DeYoung. “I think when you look at how the results came in on 114 county by county, then you find out what we’ve said all along: There’s three counties that run Oregon, and they’re all in the northwest end of the state.”
DeYoung added, “We’re not ready for a lot of this stuff coming down the tube,” referring to liberal policies. In particular, the commissioner worried he won’t be able to drive as far without refueling if the Green New Deal is passed.
“I’m glad the election’s over. I think it turned out okay,” concluded DeYoung.
Under the board’s consent calendar, Stacy Hanley was appointed to the Josephine County Special Transportation Advisory Committee. She will serve a four-year term ending Nov. 9, 2026 as the committee’s “individual engaged with elderly/disabled”.
Darrel Johnston was reappointed to the JoCo Animal Shelter Advisory Committee, also to a four-year term ending Nov. 9, 2026. He fills the role of “animal owner: city resident” on the committee.
The board recognized some county employees for their years of service at the meeting, including: Brendon Wright – Information Technology, 15 years; Jared Young – Parks & Rec, five years; Tyler Autiso – Animal Control, five years; Etoria Dallen – DA’s Office, five years; Matthew Potts – Community Development, five years; Robert Robinson – Facilities, five years; Lauren Craig – Public Works, five years; Aurora Frost – Sheriff’s Office, five years; and Michelle Simpson – Human Resources, five years.
“I’d like to congratulate and deeply thank all these people for their service to the citizens of Josephine County,” said Board Chair Herman Baertschiger.
DeYoung added, “When it says five years, that means they came in while I was a commissioner, so we’ve worked together for five years… Thanks all of you for your service.”
Commissioner Darin Fowler remarked, “I remember when I first came into office four years ago, I thought I was coming into an organization that was struggling in a lot of ways, but they were thriving. We had great employees that want to live here and want to raise their families here.
“They really want to stay, and there’s reasons they could leave, but they’ve decided they’re going to stay and fight for Josephine County. I appreciate these employees a lot.”