$2.5 million grant for juvenile justice

On Wednesday, March 13, the Board of Josephine County Commissioners convened for a weekly business session at Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass and approved the Justice Reinvestment Program grant from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, which will contribute nearly $2.5 million to the county’s Juvenile Justice Department.
“Most people don’t realize that over three-quarters of the funding for Josephine County comes in the form of grants,” explained Commissioner Herman Baertschiger. “And so we’re always very happy to see these grants. This one here is $2,454,684. If we don’t receive these grants, the program goes away, so these grants are vital to the operation of Josephine County.”
Topics addressed during public comments were varied. Victor Zaitsev thanked county road crews for mitigating a hazardous road near the Grants Pass Airport and expressed appreciation for Commissioner Dan DeYoung’s tenure on the board, saying his experience will be “hard to replace” after he departs at the end of his term in January.
Also during public comments, the notion of Josephine County becoming a “non-sanctuary county” despite Oregon being a sanctuary state for immigration was broached. The process of removing a dam in Murphy was also addressed, with West comparing it to the recent plans to remove the Pomeroy Dam in Cave Junction.
Earlier in the meeting, the commissioners recognized some longtime county employees.
“We have a tremendous amount of great employees, and they put in a lot of years, and we’re here today to recognize some of them,” West said before reciting the list of honorees.
They included: Henry Bowen II – Sheriff’s Office, five years; Thomas Peterson – Public Health, five years; Marcy Handley – Sheriff’s Office, 15 years; Jennifer Horst – Juvenile Justice, 25 years;
Of the employees being presented with plaques, only Horst and Peterson were in attendance at the auditorium.
Juvenile Justice Director Jim Goodwin said of Horst, “There are only a couple folks that have been allowed to stay around this long since we opened the doors to our facility in 1998… Jennifer is one of the hardest working folks that we have in our department. We’re nationally accredited largely due to her and a couple of other folks that worked tirelessly to make that happen. When we reopened the facility in 2018-2019, she was part of the management team that made that happen in an amount of time that folks said was pretty much impossible to do.”
Thanking Horst for her service, DeYoung joked, “Twenty-five years? Holy cow – I was young back then!” He added that the Juvenile Justice Department, “I think can probably be at times one of the roughest, but also the most rewarding departments to be involved with.”
Baertshiger added, “Thank you very much for your service to the county and especially all those youths that you’ve worked with over the years. If they’re under your supervision, that means they’ve got a tough start in life and so you have helped a lot.”
When it was Peterson’s turn in the spotlight, DeYoung acknowledged the difficult nature of working in Public Health. “Some of the stuff you have to put up with out there in solid waste, in this solid waste division, I don’t know how you do it, but you do it very well and we appreciate your service,” DeYoung said.