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ABOUT SOS

Securing Our Safety is a non-profit, citizen-led organization dedicated to the mission of providing for a secure, stable, and sustainable future for Josephine County, Oregon.

Since 2012, Josephine County has had minimal funding for criminal justice operations, due to the loss of federal subsidies for former timber-producing counties and the failure to pass a local property tax levy to replace this revenue.  SOS was formed by local business owners, community leaders, parents, retirees, and other concerned citizens to explore any and all ideas that might help address the County’s long-term needs. The initial focus has been primarily focused on finding sustainable sources of funding and/or cost savings to restore criminal justice services. More broadly, SOS has explored a broad range of potential solutions to make Josephine County a safer, more stable, more sustainable community, to build the alliances across disparate community groups, and to seek to restore trust and communication between local citizens and their elected officials and other public servants.

If you would like to join SOS, have questions or concerns, or would simply like more information about our organization and the local issues we are working to address, please feel free to contact us.

We’re always looking for volunteers to help in many ways – please leave us a suggestion HERE if you are interested in joining SOS meetings or participating on any of the SOS teams.

Even as we speak, there are children and adults out there in our County, our World, our Home, who are being offended. Children who are being forced to do unspeakable things without any end in sight. Elderly who no longer have the mental capacities to realize the abuse upon them… They seek the light of Justice for protection, yet ours burns faint. Thank you for making that light burn brighter. Thank you for giving them hope. Every act, every cent you have given, every moment of your time you have sacrificed away from your family, has not been in vain. It falls into a collective pool of HOPE which grows stronger each and every day.

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Special Message from the SOS Board:

SOS – Our Time Is Now!

As we’ve discussed in recent meetings, time is of the essence in finding safety solutions for Josephine County.  Our Criminal Justice System was devastated in 2012 with the lower amount of federal (timber) funding to support local services and without an extension of the much smaller federal amounts we’ve received in the last couple years we’re facing another cliff in July of 2015.  The system is in rough shape now, and is set for another cut of nearly 50% next summer unless we come together as a community and implement some funding solutions.

It takes a long time to make a major change in funding for local services and thanks our hard work for a little more than two years we’re right on the edge of successes in many ways.  Our volunteers have contributed thousands of hours of work in the many areas we’re focusing on to bring health back to JoCo.  But we need your help financially in a few ways where we’re bringing in professional help that’s not available by volunteer support of our members.

The time is now to support the troops that keep us safe at home.  Please consider an online donation at http://securingoursafety.org/join-sos/ or by mail:

Securing Our Safety
PO Box 2626
Grants Pass, OR 97528

Thank you for your help in restoring safety services to our community!

SECURING OUR SAFETY

MISSION: “A citizen-voiced plan to provide for a secure, stable and sustainable Josephine County.”

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Want to join the SOS email list?  Send an email to:   SecuringOurSafety@gmail.com

Please also visit THIS PAGE for more information about becoming a member or making  online donations to SOS.

Our calendar of events and meetings can be found HERE.

A New Levy – With a Catch

image002It’s that time of year again: another tax levy to fund justice in the county.

Four times levies have made it to the ballot since funding for our justice system was pulled, and four times they’ve been defeated. What’s different this time around?

Quite a bit, actually.

After the last levy failed to pass by a narrow margin, and as the lack of a functioning justice system has created escalating problems in the county, it became clear a new approach was needed.

That’s where Community United for Safety came in.

“Community United for Safety is a large group of Josephine County residents, businesses and organizations that have come together to place a Public Safety Measure on the May 19, 2015 ballot.”

One of the big problems with previous levies was the flurry of negative reports that often arose from lack of communication and misunderstandings about how the raised funds would be spent. Community United for Safety has been working to spread accurate information, teaming up with other local groups like Securing Our Safety .

image004The first information needed was a clear understanding of what voters in the county are willing to pay to restore sheriff’s patrols and other aspects of the broken justice system. So they raised private funds to pay for a professional polling company to reach out to voters all across the county to ask people that very question.

 

They learned that local residents are willing to support a tax rate of $1.40 per $1,000.

For the median home in Josephine County, valued at $158,625, annual property tax would increase by $222, or $18.50 per month. That’s less than twenty bucks. Not a high price to bring patrolling deputies back to county roads, increase available jail beds, and reopen the much-needed juvenile justice center.

This still leaves unanswered one of the biggest questions that arose during last year’s ballot cycle when the levy almost passed. A major reason cited for opposing the levy was a lack of trust in the county government.

Well, now we have a new sheriff, and hopefully the same voters who voted him into office will vote to support him in his job.

image006More importantly, this new levy petition includes unique language that should help ease those concerns:

“To ensure accountability, a Citizen’s Oversight Committee will be created; plus an annual independent audit, with findings made public.”

An oversight committee. What a great idea.

I believe this was the missing link, the piece we need to move forward toward a safe, secure county. We’ll get to see where the money’s spent. If it’s misused, we can immediately correct the issue and hold responsible those tasked with using it for public safety.

Who better to trust overseeing the management of our tax dollars than a group of citizens, people drawn from the ranks of our neighbors? I hope the discussion and debate of who to appoint to the committee draws people from all across the county to participate and that many nominations are suggested.

Who would you nominate?

 

image008Perhaps business leaders like Dutch Bros’ Travis Boersma? Well-respected and known to support our community, such men and women would provide essential leadership.

Or perhaps those who are active in volunteering and helping the community in ways that are often not publicly recognized, like Barb Sharp?

The committee should probably include members of the medical community, since so many of them are a part of our county. Perhaps someone like Cory Johnston?

We might look to people in the trades, or teachers in our schools.

Let’s start the discussion now and spread the word to our neighbors for suggestions.

Who would you nominate?

{Frank Morin is a local author of YA and adult fantasy.

 

SOS Meeting Notes – January 20, 2015

Run For the Law Shirts 2015

January 20, 2015 NOTES:

We had a special visitor in our audience last night, Ms. Le Raish after witnessing one of our members out in the community supporting safety activities and our mission.  Ms. Raish is the type of person with solid character and wisdom that we want to unite with. It is only joined, with the likes of her kind, that we shall be successful.

“A citizen-voiced plan to provide for a secure, stable and sustainable Josephine County.”

SOS Sponsor Report Jacki Halcomb

  • If you have any questions please feel free to call or e-mail Jacki @ jaklar@msn.com or call her at 541-218-1427Sponsor Count: 34 (01/20/15)
  • That is a 283% increase over last week!
  • FANTASTIC!
  • Jacki and crew Mark Gatlin, Jay Meredith, and Grant Medley, canvased the downtown GP area for several hours last Friday and Saturday. It is quite impressive to see our SOS signs in the storefronts demonstrating unity!
  • It’s simple: 1-They sign a form demonstrating support; 2-They receive an SOS placard to hang in their window demonstrating our unity; 3-They provide an e-mail/phone number for contact (the e-mail addresses are not published); 4-They send us their business logo to be displayed on our SPONSOR page of our website (our Webmaster Gordon Edstrom posts the business logo; 5-We encourage others to “shop local” and support each other and we will be featuring “Businesses of the Week” on our website
  • The next Sponsor Committee Meeting is on January 27, 2015 @ 1 PM at the Bohemian Restaurant located at 233 Southwest G Street
  • Do you have a business or know of a Josephine County business who wants to join us? E-mail Jacki @ jaklar@msn.com

Art Auction Committee  JoAnne Alvarez

Art Auction Tickets 2015

  • Art Auction: FEBRUARY 5, 2015

TICKET COUNT: 75

  • There are still some tickets left! You can order a ticket on-line at http://securingoursafety.org/sos-art-auction/ or go to Platinum Financial or the Chamber of Commerce!
  • Tickets are $25 each and includes hors d’oeuvres; wine sampling from Troon, Schmidt, and Bridgeview Wineries; beer sampling has been changed from Frank N’ Stene to the WILD RIVER BREWERY (unfortunately Frank N’ Stene had a scheduling conflict), who shall graciously be featuring two of their top beers and hopefully get Jon Bowen of Roux 26 to place one of them on tap permanently!; music by Antonio Melendez www.antoniomelendez.org; and a chance to support your community through some really awesome ART!
  • We have 41 pieces of ART!!! View the Art: www.securingoursafety.org under the Art Committee tab
  • We already have 3 attempted bids for the majestic “Fruit of my WOMB” on our ticket by famed local artist JoAnne Alvarez (we aren’t accepting bids until the actual auction-Thank you!)
  • Join this committee, e-mail JoAnne at britus@charter.net for further details!

O+C Funding Update Cherryl Walker

  • Cherryl informed us that there apparently will be a substantially decreased amount of Federal Funds awarded to Josephine County
  • Cherryl reported that we received approximately 7.5 Million dollars in Federal Funding last year
  • Cherryl reported that we might see approximately 3 Million dollars this year
  • Cherryl is going to send us a brief synopsis of her knowledge to date and we will send it out to you once received

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SOS Meeting Notes – January 13, 2015

Art Auction Tickets 2015

January 13, 2015 NOTES:

SOS Sponsor Report Jacki Halcomb

  • Last committee meeting was on January 14, 2014, @ 12:30 at the Black Bear Diner
  • January 16, 2014, the committee went knocking on doors!
  • There are 9 sponsors posted on our website and more to come soon!
  • If you have any questions please feel free to call or email Jacki @  jaklar@msn.com or 541-218-1427.

    Sponsor Count:12

Art Auction Committee  JoAnne Alvarez

  • Art Auction: FEBRUARY 5, 2014
  • We still have tickets! $25 each and includes hors d’oeuvres; wine sampling from Troon, Schmidt, and Bridgeview Wineries; beer sampling from Frank N’ Stene; music by Antonio Melendez www.antoniomelendez.org; and a chance to support your community through some really awesome ART!
  • We have 40 pieces of ART!!! View the Art: www.securingoursafety.org under the Art Committee tab
  • Join this committee, e-mail JoAnne at britus@charter.net for further details!

MAT-C Committee Nancy Yonally/Marilane Jorgenson/Dr. Felica Cohen

  • Dr. Steven Rotter MAT-C Medical Director
  • Video Update
  • We welcome Rebecca Peterson to our Committee and she has volunteered to be our Attorney—Thank YOU Rebecca!
  • Next Meeting is Wednesday, January 21, 2015 @ the Women’s Health Center from 5:30-6:30 PM
  • Join this committee, contact Nancy at nancy.yonally.coleman@gmail.com

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SOS Meeting Notes – January 6, 2015

Art Auction Tickets 2015

January 6, 2015 NOTES:

Art Auction Committee  JoAnne Alvarez

  • Art Auction: FEBRUARY 5, 2014
  • We have 30 ARTISTS committed!!!
  • We still have tickets! $25 each and includes hors d’oeuvres; wine sampling from Troon, Schmidt, and Bridgeview Wineries; beer sampling from Frank N’ Stene; music by Antonio Melendez www.antoniomelendez.org; and a chance to support your community through some really awesome ART!
  • View the Art: www.securingoursafety.org under the Art Committee tab
  • We still need several volunteers!
  • Join this committee, e-mail JoAnne at britus@charter.net for further details!

SOS Sponsor Report Jacki Halcomb

  • The purpose of the SOS business committee is simply to ask our local businesses to unite with us to show our community that they support the efforts of SOS to have a safe and secure community.  We are asking the business owners to sign a sponsorship form and to post an SOS sign in their business window.  When they sign up we will highlight their business on our website.  We will also have a section on our website that promotes shopping local and their business will be selected as business of the week to help promote their business. Business of the week will rotate so that business should have many opportunities to be selected.
  • We are restructuring our sponsorship and basically starting over with all of our sponsors, which currently include: Club Northwest, Wild River Brew Pub, Roux 26, Newman United Methodist Church, Martin’s Printing, Frank N’ Stene’s Monster Growlers, A Show of Hands, Portola Super Mini-Mart and Deli, Anytime Fitness, and The Tan Factor
  • Next meeting is on January 14, 2014, @ 12:30 at the Black Bear Diner
  • On January 16, 2014, we shall be asking committee members to knock on doors to get the SOS signs in the windows
  • If you have any questions please feel free to call or email me.  jaklar@msn.com or 541-218-1427.

    Sponsor Count:_10_

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SOS Meeting Notes – December 9, 2014

Art Auction Tickets 2015

DECEMBER 9, 2014 NOTES:

SOS BOARD ELECTIONS - Jay Meredith
SOS Members elected the following to serve on the SOS Board for the next year:

Jay Meredith

Cheri Adkins

Holly Lidey

Bill Ertel

Amber Garza

Cliff Thomason

Nancy Coleman

Jacki Halcomb

Thanks for serving everyone!  Terms of the Board are one-year terms with a limit of 5 consecutive years serving.

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SOS Sponsor Report - Jacki Halcomb

  • Sponsor Form is completed
  • Jacki has been selected as this committee’s Captain
  • This committee’s next meeting was December 15, at 12:00 PM at the Laughing Clam in Grants Pass
  • OUR Goal is to get every business to fly our SOS placard
  • We want to unite all businesses in Josephine County
  • We want our SOS Sponsor page to be the anchor for our website
  • Current members are Jacki Holcomb (Captain), Kim Gasperson, Brian Pendleton, Jennifer Essick, Jay Meredith and Archie Lidey
  • Sponsor COUNT TBA

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MAT-C Committee – Nancy Yonally/Marilane Jorgenson/Dr. Felica Cohen

  • Dr. Steven Rotter MAT-C Medical Director
  • $2,500 Grant was received from the LADPC Meeting (Thank you Abe Huntley, Nancy Yonally and Marilane Jorgenson)
  • That Grant will go towards our Awareness Video, which is in its’ final editing stages and has an estimated cost of $14,000
  • At the last meeting on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 @ the Women’s Health Center, Rick Jones facilitated another GRANT of $6,000 for our Awareness Video through Carla McCafferty @ OPTIONS
  • SIMPLY FANTASTIC!
  • Thank YOU!
  • Jay Meredith shall coordinate with Rick Jones to help the MAT-C become a non-profit
  • We celebrated the imminent departure of Josephine County Community Corrections Director Abe Huntley to retirement. Abe has been a stellar member of our community and shall be missed!
  • Our next meeting shall be at the Women’s Health Center on January 7, 2015 @ 5:30 PM
  • Join this committee, contact Nancy at nancy.yonally.coleman@gmail.com

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SOS Meeting Notes – December 2, 2014

NOTES from December 2, 2014:

Tree Donation through a generous donation by Holly Lidey, Felicia Cohen, David Smith, Liz Hirni and Steve Marshak, a Christmas Tree, “Heavenly Peace” was purchased at WINTERFEST and donated on behalf of SOS to the Newman United Methodist Church in appreciation for their generous contribution of their meeting room to SOS throughout the year. Thank YOU!

SOS Sponsor Report Jennifer Essick

  • Copies of the Sponsor form should be ready for next meeting
  • Sponsor COUNT TBA
  • OUR Goal is to get every business to fly our SOS placard
  • We want to unite all businesses in Josephine County
  • We want our SOS Sponsor page to be the anchor for our website
  • Someone suggestions: having businesses contribute 2% of sales for a day to SOS; have sponsors show up to 12-16-14 Community United for Safety Kick-Off Party
  • Current members are Jacki Holcomb, Kim Gasperson, Brian Pendleton, Jennifer Essick, Jay Meredith and Archie Lidey
  • If you would like to join this committee, please e-mail Jennifer @ etopps_08@hotmail.com

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MAT-C Committee

Nancy Yonally/Marilane Jorgenson/Dr. Felica Cohen

  • Dr. Steven Rotter MAT-C Medical Director advised that we received a $2,500 grant for our Video Production (We need $14,000) from the LADPC Meeting which was held on December 4, 2014 @ 1:30, at the Marie Hill Conference room at Community Corrections, 510 NW 4th Street, Grants Pass. Thank you to Nancy Yonally, Marilane Jorgenson and Abe Huntley for securing this GRANT! It’s a GREAT Start!!! THANK YOU!!!
  • Join this committee, contact Nancy at nancy.yonally.coleman@gmail.com

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FRANK-N-STENE

SOS Meeting Notes – November 25, 2014

We hope you all had a wonderful and blessed THANKSGIVING!  Thank you for your dedication towards making Josephine County, our home, SAFE.

Our next meeting is Tuesday, December 2, 2014, at the Newman United Methodist Church in Grants Pass located at 132 NE “B” Street in Grants Pass from 5:15 PM to 6:15 PM.

NOTES from the last meeting on November 25th, 2014:

FBI Crime Stats:

Archie provided some food for thought regarding the most recent Crime Stats from FBI for Oregon Cities 2013.

David Smith analyzed said stats and made the following remarks:

Some quick calculations based on this spreadsheet. I’ve taken cities above 5,000 population (just because at a certain small size, one crime is enough to make the crime rate per capita look high, and I needed a cutoff somewhere), and ranked crime rates per 1000 population. There are 66 cities in this list with more than 5000 people.

Here are some interesting factoids:

– In terms of violent crime per capita in 2013, GP ranks #15 out of the 66 cities in Oregon with population over 5,000 (Medford is #1)

– In property crime, GP ranks #3 (Seaside is #1)

Where GP ranks on specific crimes:

– Murder & non-negligent homicide #14 – but the top 7 are all small cities with only 1 or (in the case of K Falls) 2 murders; among cities over 25,000, GP is #6 (of 21). (Gresham is #1)

– Rape (revised definition): #11 (Newport is #1; Medford is #4)

– Robbery: #9 (Gresham is #1, followed by Portland)

– Agg assault: #19 (Medford is #1)

– Burglary: #1

– Larceny: #4 (Seaside is #1; Medford is #3)

– Motor vehicle theft: #1

– Arson: #5 (Milton-Freewater is #1; Medford is #2)

GP’s violent crimes per capita were nearly two and a half times the statewide median. Our property crime rate was even worse – 266% of the statewide median.

Note that in only two categories is GP better than the worst 25% of Oregon cities in terms of crime per capita – and that’s only with murder and aggravated assault (where the numbers in any given year are likely to be small, and thus easily skewed by one or two cases). In most categories, GP is in the top 15%, and in all too many we are in the top handful of cities in all of Oregon in terms of both violent and (even more so) property crime.

Small city, big-city crime, for sure.

Note too that these stats are, presumably, just for the city of GP – not for Josephine County. GP is, of course, where we have law enforcement on the streets. Many, if not most, crimes in JoCo outside the city limits are not reported, much less prosecuted. So these statistics likely understate the problem for JoCo as a whole.

Food for thought.

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WE CAN DO THIS!

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to always try one more time.”

Thomas Edison

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SOS Sponsor Report - Jennifer Essick

  • This committee met after the regularly scheduled SOS meeting; members included Colene Martin, Brian Pendleton, Jacki Holcomb, Kim Gasperson, Jay Meredith, and Archie Lidey
  • Sponsor COUNT TBA
  • This committee shall be working on the FORM for our Sponsors
  • OUR Goal is to get every business to fly our SOS placard
  • Attached is a photo of Frank N Stene’s Monster Growler’s located at 950 SW 6TH Street in Grants Pass (541-450-3980), flying the SOS business placard, where one can sample and fill a Growler with a beer from of one of many local breweries! Try the Nikasi Wunderbier Kolsch…
  • If you would like to join this committee, please e-mail Jennifer @ etopps_08@hotmail.com

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SOS Meeting Notes – November 18, 2014

Our next meeting shall be Tuesday, November 25, 2014 from 5:15-6:15 PM at the Wild River Brew Pub!

Here are the notes from last week’s meeting {Thank you Holly Lidey for preparing them!}:

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Are the Federal O+C Funds going to come again?

Cherryl Walker

In the upper left corner of a handout provided by Cherryl, it showed what Josephine County has received since 2008.  We have 40 days left in this year with no money in sight!

Senator Wyden’s Bill – the House has said that they will not pass it.  There is too short of a time period to get something done in Cheryl’s opinion. There will be new members of Congress after this 40 days is up.  The prospect for money for this next fiscal year is probably zero at this point.

The commissioners start their next budget hearings in February 2015 as a county.  We are looking at what services we could cut, what we could combine, staffing, etc. And…EVERYTHING is on the table at this point and it is not pretty! We have committed 2.5 million dollars to public safety.  This money has been turned over to the public safety committee, but they have had meetings and decided that they will not make the decision on where it should go. They want the commissioners to decide.  The budget needs to be prepared for June as if May’s Levy does not pass.  We need to be prepared to know what it will look like if the Levy does not pass.  It will affect every department, but it will definitely affect public safety.  Some of the other departments survive on grants, fees, and rental fees.  Cheryl’s outlook is if we do not get any O & C fund this year we will have a harder time getting any funds in future years!

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MAT-C Committee

Nancy Yonally/Marilane Jorgenson/Dr. Felica Cohen

  • Dr. Steven Rotter MAT-C Medical Director

Nancy Yonally  reported:

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SOS Meeting Notes – November 4, 2014

Good Evening SOS!

Here are the notes from last Tuesday Night’s Meeting (ELECTION NIGHT):

November 4, 2014

  • We have many projects in the SOS works. I am very confident that by May 2015, we should have a solid foundation for our: citizen-voiced plan to provide for a secure, stable and sustainable Josephine County.”

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SOS Sponsor Report Jennifer Essick

  • In conjunction with the Grants Pass Chamber of Commerce, we shall be forming another committee which shall aggressively seek out all of our business partners and unite them under one umbrella. Thus far, the people who have stepped up for this committee include: Jennifer Essick, Brian Pendleton, Colene MartinJacki Halcomb, Nadine Patel and Kim Gasperson
  • Our GOAL is simple: unite all businesses in Grants Pass under one umbrella promoting unity and local shopping
  • It is our intention to move forward by getting businesses to support SOS by allowing us to display their respective electronic logos on our site as well as displaying a small yellow laminated placard in their store window
  • OUR future intention, once all of the businesses have been laced together, is to then pass the torch from SOS to our very competent Chamber of Commerce
  • We will have SOS sponsored events at businesses throughout the county encouraging unity, local business and outreach
  • We shall have a “Josephine County First” spirit resonate throughout the community
  • If you would like to join this committee, please e-mail Jennifer @ etopps_08@hotmail.com

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SOS Casino Night Fundraiser Awareness Event!