The Josephine County Commissioners embarked on a short agenda April 5 at their Anne G. Basker Auditorium – set meeting. Most of the meeting’s duration consisted of requests and comments from members of the community, which were a mix of constructive criticism and praise for the board.
This portion of the meeting kicked off in a sweet way for the Commissioners Herman Baertschiger and John West (Commissioner Dan DeYoung was absent), as Easter-themed cupcakes were brought to them by meeting frequenter Judy Ahrens, who used her three minutes to explain the symbolism behind her cupcakes, with chocolate representing “the darkness of the world.” She also condemned public education as she often does, noting “mutilation of the kids.”
Next to speak was former commissioner candidate Mark Jones, who began with what he described as a “vocabulary” lesson, explaining the difference between serving and self-serving. He then urged the commissioners as he has in the past to invest in workforce housing and converting county land into low-income housing. Doing so, he opined, would “attack the head of the homeless problem.”
Terry O’Leary, the vice president of a new youth baseball program in the county, petitioned the commissioners to provide “a cleaner environment for our young kids to learn the sport and the discipline that comes with it,” referencing the homeless tents and urban blight that has plagued the region of late.
O’Leary called Morrison Centennial Park in Grants Pass “an absolute disaster.”
He added that the life skills children are being taught “go out the window real quick” when they are learning them in a filthy locale. His group plans on attending many local meetings in the coming weeks to mobilize the community to clean up the parks and baseball fields.
During commissioner responses, West discussed the county’s intent to sell property within Grants Pass city limits that can be converted into workforce housing. “It helps the county as much as the city, so we’re heading in that direction hopefully,” West remarked. He also told O’Leary he would get in touch with Grants Pass city personnel to “put a bug in their ear” and see if something can be done, though he stressed the commissioners have no jurisdiction over parks in incorporated parts of Josephine County.
We’re heading in that direction hopefully,” West remarked. He also told O’Leary he would get in touch with Grants Pass city personnel to “put a bug in their ear” and see if something can be done, though he stressed the commissioners have no jurisdiction over parks in incorporated parts of Josephine County.