County bans parking along some roads

On June 28, the Board of Josephine County Commissioners convened at the Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass and discussed several topics, including parking bans, the retirement of a longtime employee and allegations of drug dealing and sex trafficking in a local park.
Driven by a slew of complaints, the commissioners opted to establish ‘No Parking’ zones on the following prominent county roads: Abegg Rd; Crow Rd; Edgewood Rd; Galice Rd; Gunnell Rd; Highland Rd; Merlin Av; and Pleasant Valley Rd.
Board Chair Herman Baertschiger noted, “These will not be no parking for the entire roads but certain sections of those roads.”
He added, “This has been complaint-driven by people that are parking unsafe along these particular areas of the county.”
Commissioner John West clarified, “When it comes to the parking matters, the parking matters that we are discussing here only pertains to the county. We have no jurisdiction over state highways. This is only county roads, roadways and we’re trying to address issues that can concern health, safety, fire and all that in the public right-of-way.”
West went on, “What we’re trying to do is look out for the safety of all the folks. And so we’ve had complaints and we’ve looked into some of these areas and we’ve determined that these are legitimate reasons to have no parking there because some people choose to either park on the asphalt and make cars have to go into the other lane, which is unsafe, or they decide to park right up next to the asphalt. And if you were to blow a tire or something were to happen, you have no place to go but to either run into their vehicle or into the other lane of traffic and maybe cause a bigger accident.”
JoCo Juvenile Justice employee Brad Kane, whose 26-year tenure with the department started in 1996, was celebrated at the meeting for his service.
Jim Goodwin, director of JoCo Juvenile Justice, said of Kane, “He’s done a job for the Juvenile Department that I couldn’t do and couldn’t have done without him. We’ve built an incredible, incredible program in the last several years since we were actually able to come back to life and bring some programming back and the staffing level that serves these kids the right way. And this guy has been the kingpin for all of that. And so we’re sad to see him go, but if you’re talking about a well-deserved retirement, this guy has earned it.”
Baertschiger added, “It’s going to be a hard spot to fill right away and I’m confident we’re going to get somebody to fill the spot, but we’re going to go through a transition period, that’s for sure.”
Towards the end of the meeting, the commissioners heard startling allegations of criminality at Riverside Park in Grants Pass from new resident John Mosby.
“I’ve come to speak to you today because in the one year that I have lived here, I have just recently personally witnessed possible sex trafficking, possible child endangerment and drug trafficking in Riverside Park,” Mosby said.
He went on to recount a personal investigation he undertook at the park, wherein he asked transients if they had drugs for sale. Several did, he added, and they showed him “small plastic bags with an unknown substance inside” as proof.
“It felt very unsafe and dangerous and so I immediately left,” stated Mosby.
He then shared his experience at an unnamed local massage parlor where he was offered a sexual favor by an “underage female Asian woman” who worked there while he was trying to schedule an appointment for his wife.
“I take what you are saying today very, very seriously,” Baertschiger replied, though he noted the board only has jurisdiction over the unincorporated parts of the county.
“I think my first stop would be the Grants Pass Police Department and my second stop would be the Grants Pass City Council,” said the board chair.
DeYoung asked Mosby if he had filed a complaint with the police pertaining to the drug trafficking, to which Mosby replied that he had, but the office the dealt with said nothing could be done, and urged him not to be a “vigilante.”
The commissioners offered to meet with Mosby personally after the session, and pass his information along to the Grants Pass City Council.
Note: The Josephine County Board of Commissioners will not convene a weekly business session today, July 5, due to the Independence Day holiday and a shortage of agenda items.