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Notes from August 27, 2013 SOS Public Meeting

We had another great meeting last Tuesday!

Here are the notes:

·      With sadness, Josephine County loses yet another pillar of the Criminal Justice System with the departure of Josephine County Probation Officer Dan Schram; Dan addressed the group last night and explained his decision to leave; I have attached a copy of Dan’s resignation letter below:

It is with great excitement and sadness that I inform you that I will be leaving my position as  Parole/Probation Officer for Josephine County in about five weeks.  I was appointed to this position 11 years ago and have been in the Josephine County law enforcement family for nearly 20 years.  I am very proud of these years of service to this community and I feel I have given my very best. 

I have taken a position with Lincoln County Community Justice as a Parole/Probation Supervisor stationed out of Newport, Oregon.  I will be overseeing all field operations. 

This has been a very difficult decision.  I love my agency, fellow officers, co-workers and community.  However, it seems that it is the best choice for the advancement of my career and for the well-being of my young family.  I grew up in Josephine County and it is my home.  My parents and my wife’s family all still reside here.

I have seen several officer and supervisor positions dissolve over the years at Josephine County Community Corrections.  There is just not any room for further advancement or opportunity. 

Our lack of appropriate law enforcement and jail space is also a large factor.  I foresee things getting worse before they get better.  The last 15 months have made for difficult and unsatisfying working conditions for all of us.  We are unable to adequately protect the community or provide the accountability needed to affect change.

Josephine County will always be my home.  I will miss my brothers and sister who work behind the badge.  Keep fighting the good fight and God bless you for what you do.  I am excited about new challenges and adventures.  I will keep you all posted and certainly keep in touch.

·     SOS Strategic PLAN We reviewed how important it was that we keep all keep focused on our Mission: “A citizen-voiced plan to provide for a secure, stable and sustainable Josephine County.”

Below is our Strategic Plan Map:

Inline image 1
We agreed that to fund the Criminal Justice System, it was going to require more than a single funding source. The above diagram parallels SOS’ current committees and the funding sources we are researching and exploring. We reminded each other not to spread ourselves too thin and that we can’t all be on the same committee. I sited the efforts of many in our organization that wear multiple hats and warned them against “burn-out”.

Here are but a few reflections of YOU showing ME how much this community means and how Josephine County is worth fighting for: Gordon Edstrom feverishly and at all hours of the day and night working on our website, at times, in between packing up his house, because of the approaching fire; Cheri Adkins, out in front of the Post Office in the blistering heat, wearing a back brace, weathering disorderly “transients” and collecting signatures for the Lottery Petition; Pat Fahey working all day and then showing up and sitting through an all-night City Council Meeting for his two minutes to speak; Jay Meredith burning the midnight oil, after working all day, to draft a comprehensive letter to the Board of County Commissioners on behalf of SOS to solicit Economic Development Funds—which unfortunately, did not materialize; Amber Garza, spending her remaining personal dollars to fill up her gas tank to deliver fund-raising pink flamingos in the middle of the night; Steve Marshak, after already donating $1,000 to the Lottery Research Fund, getting anxious towards the end of the drive and getting ready to write another check—which, thanks to others, he did not have to; Toni Webb, tirelessly coordinating with stakeholders and movers and shakers in the medical world to build a foundation for our Opioid Clinic; Jennifer Essick taking charge of a quickly thrown together fundraising Garage Sale and selling everything to include the kitchen sink for Lottery Research funds!; Ernie Coffman, for quietly mailing in his donation in support of the Lottery Research Project; Mark Gatlin, for relentlessly reaching out to any and everyone at the Josephine County Fair for a Lottery Petition signature; Bill West, for walking and working for SOS through TWO knee surgeries, not complaining once; Sheriff Gilbertson, for standing outside the Applebee’s Fundraising Breakfast, proudly wearing his SOS T-shirt, meeting and greeting people; Deb Cumming, who showed up and donated to our Poker Tournament, and she doesn’t even know how to play poker; Felicia Cohen, in between patients, writing to and meeting with Asante Administration to solicit donations for our Lottery Research Project; Shane Simon, one of our recently dis-employed-Sheriff-Deputies, carrying a lil’ stress with his Wife Maria Simon at the verge of having their baby, not having a job, unemployment benefits running out, going to school, looking for a new job and planting fundraising flamingos in between; Cliff Thomason, revisiting potential donors, again and again at my beckoning after initially being rejected; Jamie Williams, who after a long day of battlin’ shoplifters at Wal Mart as the store’s Loss Prevention Manager, shows up at every meeting with a smile and who also recently tirelessly walked about the Josephine County Fair collecting Lottery Petition signatures; Travis Boersma, who could quite easily be the “most hit up for donations” person in Oregon, whose first $3,000 got the Lottery Research Project moving… Glimpses of character… And that’s just off the top of my head! There are countless other people who are in the scenes, behind the scenes and on top of the scenes…


We are all in this together and we must continue to fight side-by-side for our home.

·      Website Pages the following website pages have been completed and can be reached by going to our website and clicking on the Committee Tab:

Hard Rock Mining CommitteeMichael Cope

State Lottery CommitteeCliff Thomason

Debate CommitteeMatthew Eldridge

Opioid CommitteeToni Webb

Sales Tax CommitteeJay Meredith

Sobering Center CommitteeBill Landis


We are requiring each COMMITTEE Captain to have a MISSION STATEMENT and a GOAL on their web page by next by next meeting!!!

The following Committees have been confirmed as still existing and will be getting their web pages up within this week:

BioMass Committee-Cheri Adkins (Cheri and Cherryl Walker informed us that a school in Cave Junction (Three Rivers School District) uses biomass energy and Rough and Ready Mill in Cave Junction has a –Co-gen. biomass plant)

Justice of the Peace Court- David Corsi

Timber Committee-Jim Frick

Jail/Juvenile Justice Center Tax Levy Research Committee-Kris WoodburnChris Mecca, and Pat Fahey

Trust/Transparency and Education Committee-Bill Ertel/Holly Lidey         

We also agreed to form a new Committee, which for now has the name: “Immediate Change” Committee. Jody Nigh has agreed to step up and be the Captain for this Committee (Thank you Jody!) The purpose of this committee will be to identify physical things in the city and county, that can potentially be changed relatively immediately via City Council and/or the Board of County Commissioners, to make our community safer: ie., removing steps to nowhere at the 5TH Street Overpass in Grants Pass, which simply allow transient easement to properties along the river; making a city ordinance forbidding growing marijuana in the city limits; requiring transients to register/license their pets; etc.

Please e-mail Jody @ if you want to join her committee.

          “Immediate Change” CommitteeJody Nigh

The following Committees are still being evaluated as to whether or not they shall continue as SOS Committees:

Efficiencies/Public and Private PartnershipsLaurie Norman/Toni Webb

Refundable CommitteeCarl Raskins (Carl suggested that we might continue this committee and possibly work with SOS Sanitation to have several refundable drop off points throughout the city—more to follow)

County Property Resource CommitteeDavid Corsi

Property Tax VariationsJeff Wolf


·     The Great DEBATE

Matthew Eldridge announced more specifics about the debate and we distributed the Debate Flyer. Please go to the SOS website: for further info—you can click on the Debate Committee’s webpage for additional info!

High School Students & their Coaches from around SW Oregon are coming together to debate Funding Solutions to our current Criminal Justice System Funding Crisis

              WHERE: North Valley High School

              WHEN: September 14, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Honor our students with your presence and LISTEN to what our students have to say about solving our County’s Fiscal Crisis. There is no charge for this event, graciously hosted by North Valley High School and sponsored by SOS. A lunch time BBQ will be available.

Through a generous donation by Pat Fahey, the students and staff will be fed via a BBQ. Please attend. The audience will also be able to partake in the BBQ, and we will be asking for a donation to help with costs. Please HONOR our young minds and show up!!! Matthew will be at the Saturday Market the next two Saturdays to talk more about the DEBATE and to also solicit donations.

If YOU know the Governor, please help me get him to this event!  

And for those of you attending the Debate, please help us keep the environment tobacco free, per the school policy. Thank you!

Contact Matthew A. Eldridge ( )

Opioid Clinic shall resume our bi-weekly meetings on Thursday, August 29TH, 5:30pm at the Women’s Center; We’re going to make a concerted push to get a methadone/suboxone treatment program opened in Josephine County very soon, end of year or first of next year. Toni Webb is currently this Committee’s Captain but will be stepping aside to allow several Docs’ to take on this very important role. Part of the process is going to be a large scale AWARENESS Campaign. We need to be ready to teach people about the motivation of this drug addiction group, how “Not wanting to get sick”, is a powerful motivator to commit crime, to get the drug and address such comments as, “Ridiculous. Because life is hard we should offer another incentive for traveling down the wrong moral path? They can sit in jail and detox.  Why make more excuses for committing crime…”

Please go to the SOS website: for further info—you can click on the Opioid Committee’s webpage for additional info!

·      Lottery Committee Refund Research Project

Cliff Thomason is the Captain of this Committee

Cliff told us that the number of signatures collected thus far was 1200

Cliff will be at Wal Mart Friday, August 30, 2013 and there will be petitions to sign at the Saturday Market this coming Saturday, August 31, 2013; please tell your friends to come and sign!

Bill Ertel, please get a Press Release out about where people can go and sign the Lottery petition! Thanks!

For more info about the State-Wide Lottery initiative, please go to

Please go to the SOS website: for further info—you can click on the Lottery Committee’s webpage for additional info!

·      Jail/Juvenile Justice Levy Committee Kris Woodburn Chris Meccameccaman@uci.netand Pat Fahey pat@sosanitation.comrelated through Pat: Pat Fahey will be the Chief Petitioner with Dwight Ellis and hopefully Carl Wilson as Petitioners as well; Pat met with Board of County Commissioner Simon Hare to discuss some of this petition’s language; this will be a ground up “by the people” petition! More to follow!

·       SOS Awareness Spring 5K Walk/Run Committee Captain Bill West reminded everyone that the next meeting for this group will be Monday, September 9, 2013 @ 5:15 PM; Mark Bost informed me today that he will be working with Bill to make this a success!

Bill permitted me to begin soliciting names for this run, which most likely will serve as a warm-up for Medford’ Pear Blossom run; so I will send out an e-mail in the next day or so to solicit names for the run; Board of County Commissioner Cherryl Walker has already proposed “Run for the Law!” versus “Run from the Law!”

·      Mining in Josephine County Committee Captain Michael Cope updated through Jay Meredith; Jay announced that this committee was not success in getting an Economic Development Award from the County Economic Development Fund, that he was told the County is not taking applications at this time; Michael told about a plan tour with Commissioner Hare and that he was going to begin to publish Josephine County History leading up to current mining potentials on his webpage on our website.

Please go to the SOS website: for further info—you can click on the Hard Rock Mining Committee’s webpage for additional info!

·      Grants Pass Department of Public Safety Levy

Liaison Update/ Laurel Samson gave us an update on the Levy, briefly explaining how it was remaining the same amount ($1.79 per $1,000) and that it will be for 4 years; Laurel encouraged anyone who wanted to help to contact her and encouraged anyone who wanted to write a Letter to the Editor or to donate to the City Levy Pac to do so; More to follow!

·      Website UPDATE

Gordon Edstrom has been doing a fantastic job with our website! He is assisted by Frank Morin and Jay MeredithGordon updated us with the sites new “tweaks” as well as encouraged social media connections/use and wants you to e-mail him photos for our site to gedstrom@gmail.comAlsowe will be providing a spot for Rycke Brown to comment about cleanliness of our community and how it relates to safety.

·       Lastly, Holly Lidey will be putting the order in for hooded sweatshirts in the next day or so, they are heather gray and $21 each unless you order a size 2XL or better, where you must add $3 more, 3XL $5 more. They are at our cost and look fantastic! Thank you Cheri Adkins—again, for the Gotcha Covered connection.


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

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