In a recent YouTube video titled “Weekly Business Session 08.09.2023” from the Josephine County Youtube channel, the Josephine County Board of Commissioners conducted their weekly business session. The session began with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, after which recognition was given to several employees who have dedicated years of service to the county. The main focus of this article is the discussion surrounding the introduction of a new ordinance to address hazardous conditions on public property within Josephine County.
Recognizing Dedicated Employees
During the business session, the commissioners took the time to acknowledge and commend the hard work and dedication of their employees. Several individuals were recognized for their years of service, including Ronald Todd from Community Development, Jordan Sanders from the Sheriff’s Office, Joshua Daily from Community Development, Kayla Lauer from the Sheriff’s Office, Lynette Morningstar from Transit, Jeffrey Campbell from the Assessor’s Office, Christine Michael from the Sheriff’s Office, Frank Meredith from IT, Buck Harms from Public Health, and Jeffrey Kestra from Forestry. It was noted that these employees play a vital role in keeping Josephine County functioning effectively.
Introducing Ordinance 2023-003
The main focus of the business session was the introduction of Ordinance 2023-003, which aims to address hazardous conditions on public roads, rights of way, and public property throughout Josephine County. The ordinance would be applicable in Josephine County, including the City of Cave Junction, but excluding the City of Grants Pass.
Categories of Violations
Under the proposed ordinance, there are three categories of violations. The first category pertains to knowingly leaving personal property in a hazardous location on a county road, right-of-way, or public property. If personal property is left in a hazardous location for more than 24 hours, it will be removed by the sheriff or road official.
The second category focuses on the creation of an unlawful imminent hazard caused by a stopped vehicle or placed object on a county road, right-of-way, or public property. Specific circumstances that constitute an imminent hazard include insanitary conditions, danger to public health or safety, and damage to county roads or rights-of-way. In these cases, the sheriff or road official would immediately remove the vehicle or object.
The third category deals with the creation of an unlawful non-eminent hazard, which occurs when a vehicle or object remains on a county road, right-of-way, or public property for more than 72 hours without other circumstances constituting an imminent hazard. In such cases, the sheriff or road official would remove the vehicle or object.
Enforcement and Prioritization
The proposed ordinance also outlines that the Public Works Director, Public Health Director, and Sheriff will collaborate to develop a policy for enforcing the ordinance and prioritizing violations. This collaborative effort ensures a coordinated approach to handling hazardous conditions and maintaining the safety of the county.
Concerns from Citizens
Following the presentation of the ordinance, citizens were given the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns. Two individuals, identified as Sam Smith and Judy Aaron, expressed their concerns regarding the clarity and vagueness of the ordinance.
Sam Smith emphasized the need for clearer definitions and criteria regarding what constitutes hazardous conditions. Smith raised examples of scenarios where individuals may need to temporarily leave personal property in public spaces without it being considered a violation. The vagueness of the language in the ordinance could lead to confusion, hindering people’s ability to understand and comply with the regulations.
Judy Aaron highlighted her concerns about the process citizens would have to go through in reporting and addressing hazardous conditions. She expressed that the responsibility of reporting potentially hazardous situations falls on the citizens, leading to a lengthy process of coordination with the sheriff’s office. Aaron also questioned the subjectivity of determining hazardous conditions and raised concerns about the potential financial strain on the county.
The Weekly Business Session held by the Josephine County Board of Commissioners introduced Ordinance 2023-003 to address hazardous conditions on public property within Josephine County. The ordinance aims to ensure public safety by addressing violations related to personal property, imminent hazards, and non-eminent hazards. While citizens expressed concerns about the clarity and process of the ordinance, it is clear that Josephine County is taking steps to prioritize safety and uphold its responsibilities to its residents.