Josephine Co. trying to discourage disorderly conduct outside courthouse

Grants Pass, Ore. — The Josephine County Courthouse is looking at a unique solution to a common problem.

County commissioners say there’s a problem with people camping out right outside court house doors.

One solution is music to their ears… literally.

The county and police are considering several ideas to deter groups of people from congregating outside the courthouse.

One idea involves playing classical music through outdoor speakers.

It’s one of the tactics the county is considering to discourage street people from congregating right outside.

“We’ve been having a lot of activity with disorderly conduct… drinking in public, smoking marijuana in public,” Deputy Chief Jim Hamilton said.

Deputy Chief Jim Hamilton with the grants pass department of public safety says behavioral issues from those hanging outside the courthouse have increased the past two months.

“Rude comments being made,” Deputy Chief Hamilton said.

Now police and the county are working together to find a possible solution.

Another option – besides the classical music – would be to change the area from county to city property so police can start enforcing city ordinances.

“If you have two city ordinance violations, we can trespass you from the park for up to 30 days. and so that gives us the opportunity to make sure that if the behavior is happening, that we take the enforcement action and then you’re not allowed to come back there,” Deputy Chief Hamilton said.

Grants Pass resident Mara Johnson says she spends time outside the courthouse everyday.

“I do it because I get bored easily so I hang out with my friends down here,” Johnson said.

She says she’d like the classical music.

“It would be pretty good for the summer time,” Johnson said.

Johnson thinks she and her friends spend time in this specific location because it’s right next to a major bus stop.

But if she were asked to leave, she says she would because she wants to keep the peace.

“I’d rather not start any problems, so if they do ask, then we’ll do,” Johnson said.

Deputy Chief Jim Hamilton says the Nuisance Intervention Team is working hard to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

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