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31 October 2020

Hate group's FB page vanishes after leader arrested

 By Brad Smith

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – A southern Oregon’s hate group Facebook page disappeared from the social media platform shortly after their leader was arrested by Grants Pass police earlier this week.

Jon Clement, 61, and Ryan Clark, 43, both of Grants Pass, were arrested on Oct. 26 by Grants Pass police after the pair were allegedly shooting at birds from a pontoon boat drifting down the Rogue River. According to press releases, the two men fired shotguns as their boat drifted near both Tussing and Reinhart Volunteer Parks. Some witnesses reported they heard pellets pass overhead.

Clement and Clark were taken into custody sometime after 5 p.m. and were booked into the Josephine County Jail. Both were charged with unlawful use of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

Clement is the leader of RV Salt Shakers, a hate group that’s operated throughout southern Oregon for the last few years. Clark is allegedly a member as well. The Salt Shakers have been known to picket area Planned Parenthood clinics and harass patients and others using PP services. The Shakers have also been a nuisance at many local events, ranging from Pear Blossom to Ashland’s holiday parade. A number of groups have taken measures to bar the Salt Shakers from their events. They have also targeted the LGBTQ and immigrant communities.

Clement’s group has been accused of using fear tactics and even intimidation.

“(Fear tactics) are sometimes necessary to further our message,” he said in 2019. “If it helps our cause, we’ll do it.”

Word of Clement and Clark’s arrests spread like wildfire through social media and it wasn’t long before the group’s page was hit by trolling.

The Salt Shakers have been scaling back their weekly harassment of Planned Parenthood clinics since counter protestors – some calling themselves the RV Pepper Shakers – have appeared.

Clement was contacted by the Rogue Free Press. He did not respond.

18 October 2020

SOEquity feeding Hawthorne homeless

 By Brad Smith

MEDFORD, Ore. – Despite last month’s police crackdown on Hawthorne Park’s tent city and its homeless population, some are still doing what they can to help.

Prior to that, Clarence Carr was spearheading daily free meals and helped pull together mutual aid program helping the homeless and those displaced by the Almeda Fire. Since the Medford police’s sweep, Carr has been working with others to establish a nonprofit group focused on helping the homeless. As he’s been getting the paperwork together, Carr said he’s working with the Mother Teresa Genesis Home nonprofit.

 “It’s going to take some time but everything starts small in the beginning,” he said.

In the meantime, someone is stepping up. Earlier this month, the Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity announced that it would be helping with volunteer efforts feeding and aiding the homeless. Emily Mann, SOEquity’s social media director, said their role is a “logistical one.”

“We are organizing/scheduling volunteers/ordering meals/accepting donations,” she said. “Everyone agreed that having an entity with some of the supportive tools we have – scheduling software, fiscal sponsorship – would ensure sustainability in the project. We are in this for the long run. We are doing lunch daily and dinner three times a week. We are able to give out about 60-75 individual meals each time we serve.”

 Mann said SOEquity volunteers go through about $100 of snacks and drinks a day. Their meals are delivered through Rogue Food Unite. “They’ve been awesome to work with and provide such an incredible service to the community,” she said.

Little Caesar’s Pizza, bagels, fruit and snacks are the typical fare, along with bottled water. Mann and other volunteers network via Facebook on a regular basis and, so far, it’s been working.

 People – people who would probably starve – are getting fed.

 Last month, Melissa Mayne, executive director of the Compassionate Highway Project, took to social media and made a number of outrageous, unsubstantiated claims that Antifa agitators were being bussed in from Portland and even outstate. She also claimed that Black Lives Matter supporters were involved in criminal activities and, along with Antifa, had something to do with last month’s fires. She made similar claims at a Medford city council meeting too.

Despite Mayne’s group claiming to help the homeless, both Mann and some volunteers said that that they haven’t seen CHP volunteers in the park.

 “It’s odd, since we both help the same group of people,” Mann said. “We haven’t seen much from them.”

 A number of homeless after the Medford Police Dept. sweep relocated to a section of the Bear Creek Greenway many call “Paradise.” Mann said SOEquity volunteers distribute food to them once in a while when they have a few mobile volunteers.

 Some volunteers help in many ways. Melissa Jones said she helps deliver and serve food and drinks to the homeless. “When I can, I bring harm reduction supplies – needle exchange, safe sex, Narcan/opiate overdose prevention, things like that. I do what I can,” she said.

 Mann said SOEquity is committed to helping.

“We aren’t positive when Clarence will be taking over. We definitely want work with his 501 c3 when it’s up and running,” she said. “Overall, things are going well. We haven’t had much issue with rumors. Honestly, we haven’t really had any negative run ins with unsupportive community members or the police so far. It’s going smoothly, very smoothly.”

12 October 2020

Ghosts on the SOU campus and not everything is paranormal

 Photo by Jr Korpa

Ghosts haunt Ashland and the surrounding area – it’s a place rich in paranormal lore.


Southern Oregon University has a few stories. From the Ghosts and Critters website, here’s a rundown of its most notable stories:

Southern Oregon University’s Plunkett Center has been put to many uses since the University acquired the old building in 1966. It has been alumni and development offices on its second floor and the first floor is used as museum displays by the local historical society. This building is also known as the Swedenburg House, taken from its former tenant, Dr. F. Swedenburg. Swedenburg was a prominent local physician who lived in the house from 1919 until he died in 1937. 

Since the University purchased the property there have been ghost stories surrounding it. Some skeptics believe the stories get more elaborate year after year. Believers who counter this opinion included a University professor and the head of campus security. 

Joey Ngan began his experiences with the Swedenburg house when he was a junior campus security guard. Ngan had the graveyard shift when he started out working for security. He always felt as if he was being watched when he went onto the second floor. He would announce himself and explain that he was just there to check out the building. If he did not do this he always felt as if something did not want him there. 

The house was restored in the early 1980s and a new security system was installed. Ngan and another officer had just finished checking the building and ensuring that the alarm system was operational. Later they drove by the house and saw a woman illumined by the porch light. She was sitting beside a window in a first-floor office. They saw her for a second and then she was gone. They entered the building and searched it for her. The door was locked and the building was empty. 

Political Science Professor Bill Muelemans came to the University in the early 1970s and collected several of the stories over the years. In 1973 the building was closed down and the electricity was turned off. Muelemans, a security guard and three students decided to hold a vigil in the house. They went to one of the second story rooms with candles, flashlights and a Ouija board. The board spelled out messages, including a statement that one of the students had tried to commit suicide in the past. This was true, though no one besides the student knew this. The board began moving and seemed to jump in the air about 18 inches. 

At that point they ran out of the building. The security guard was the last one out. As he was locking the door he felt as if his hand was frozen to the doorknob for about 30 seconds before he could break free. Many visitors have seen another specter. A young girl dressed in an old-fashioned pinafore dress with her hair in pigtails has been seen by many unrelated visitors. She is usually seen out of the corner of the visitor's eyes and only for a few seconds. There are rumors of burglar alarms going off and glowing apparitions seen by students late at night. It is hard to pin them down to a definite location.

There are a few other stories, buildings haunted by long dead janitors, teachers and students. Universities and colleges have those kinds of stories, ranging from botched hazings to distraught students dying by suicide. And, some of them are urban legends: The same basic story transferred from one school to another, with some details changed to fit local history or what have you.

Think about it: How many hotels or other places have stories of the jilted bride who killed herself? Yes, at some point, it happened . . . . And then a slightly altered version of the story found its way attached to another hotel or well-known resort. Then, it spreads from there.

Then, you have some local folklore altered into a ghost story.

Tunnel 13 is a good example.

It was called the last great train robbery of the American West. On Oct. 11, 1923, the DeAutremont brothers – twins Roy and Ray along with their younger brother Hugh – robbed the Oregon–California Express as it was on its way to San Francisco. During the robbery, four men were killed and the brothers fled empty handed. Thanks to the efforts of a Berkeley chemistry professor name  Edward Oscar Heinrich and his forensic skills, the DeAutremont brothers were eventually captured and sentenced to prison.

Since then, many have claimed Tunnel 13 is haunted. People claim to have felt cold spots as they walk through the tunnel – well, it’s a tunnel. It’s a tunnel with a violent past and it’s like the funhouse effect, as some of us paranormal investigators call it. It’s like when people look at a spooky old building and think it’s haunted.


Because it looks spooky.

It’s the same with Tunnel 13. It has the right perquisites for a haunted location. Remote, foreboding, violent history and – most importantly – it has the number 13.

It has to be haunted.

I love history, crime stories and forensics; so the Tunnel 13 story has plenty of hooks for me as it is. And, yes, as a paranormal investigator, I’d love to check it out but I feel that there isn’t enough documentation to say there’s any paranormal activity at the location. There’s a lot to assume and the YouTube videos I’ve seen . . . well, I’m not impressed. Anecdotal evidence might be an interesting hook but it’s not real evidence.

Now, if someone has a different view or even evidence – please, let me know. As Mulder’s poster so famously says, I want to believe.

09 October 2020

Talent: Say "No" to Timen.

Talent doesn't need Ron Timen.

After being devastated by the Almeda Fire, Talent is on the long road to recovery and rebuilding -- and it needs strong leadership.

Good leadership from good people.

No. You won't find that from Ron Timen.

Timen on his campaign Facebook page touts himself as being just the good, decent guy Talent needs on its city council. Like so:

Nice and perfectly smarmy, yes?

From Ryan Pederson Yes. That Ryan Pederson:

A little civility from our politicians is a welcome thing but I doubt people will get it from Timen. We don't need gaslighting. See. This is civility from Pastor Ron's wholesome and personal Facebook page:

No. No, Talent doesn't need Ron Timen. Just perusing his page, his likes, Timen is a right wing crank of a wolf in sheep's clothing. One of his favorite ministers is a guy who rants about the evils of George Soros and the like. It's bad enough that John Harrison refuses to crawl back to the gutter and wants another term as councilor. Talent doesn't need someone else like him on the council. No, Timen is not the person for the job.

As stated before, Talent is in the process of recovery and rebuilding. The Almeda Fire devastated the entire community and people's lives. Strong yet compassionate leadership on the council is what Talent needs. Not someone like Timen. 

Just say "No" to Timen.

08 October 2020


Greg Roberts posted this a few weeks ago. Despite numerous press releases from the FBI and local law enforcement agencies debunking these conspiracy theories, Roberts continued to push them.

Contact his paid sponsors and ask if they support these conspiracy theories.


07 October 2020

The Ghosts of Ashland

 Image by Stefano Pollio.

Ashland is home to a number of ghosts and here are few of their stories.

Spanning more than 90 acres, Ashland’s Lithia Park is the city’s largest park, with famed landscape architect John McLaren overseeing a number of improvements. One of the park’s most well-known ghosts is the Blue Lady or Blue Girl. According to the accounts, back in the 1880s, a young woman was sexually assaulted and murdered. Since then, many witnesses have reported a mysterious blue light – or a glowing mist – floating throughout the park, particularly the duck ponds.

Always at night, of course.

The Blue Lady, in her mist form, has been known to move out in front of moving vehicles or seemingly appear out of thin air. In these accounts, as the vehicles pass through the blue mists, the occupants are hit with a cold chill.

Then, the cold goes away along with the mist.

Another story has it that a logger was killed during an accident. According to some accounts, the ill-fated logger used a drinking jug as a musical instrument . . . witnesses claim to hear strange musical sounds as they walk through the park at night.

Where the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Theatre now stands, nearly a hundred years ago, there was a large parking lot (an automobile dealership would later take its place). During the day, a young man – called Dog Boy or Dog-Faced Boy due to an accident that scarred his face – would sell pencils out of a tin cup; at night, he would break into parked cars or burglarized nearby businesses. However, local vigilantes, according to one story, caught Dog Boy in the act and beat him to death.

Ever since, Dog Boy has been seen the in the area, looking for another vehicle to rob or maybe even seeking shelter from vigilantes.

Famed stage and film actor Charles Laughton went to the OSF in the early 1960s and enjoyed the shows he saw. It’s been said Laughton had always wanted to play King Lear at the OSF and, supposedly, the deal was made. However, Laughton died . . . stories have it that whenever Lear is produced at the OSF, Laughton or some shadowy figure can be seen in the audience during rehearsals or his footsteps can be heard backstage.

In the town’s old railroad district, what’s now the Peerless Hotel was once a boarding house for railway workers and is rumored to be haunted by a ghost prostitute who visited the men.

It should be noted that these stories are based on various accounts and urban legends. Each story probably has several different versions – that’s the nature of folklore.

Happy Hallowe’en . . . .

04 October 2020

A specter is haunting Rock Point Cemetery

 Yes. This is one of the headstones at Rock Point Cemetery. They certainly had a sense of humor.

A few miles west of Gold Hill, Ore., right off of Rogue River Highway, is Rock Point Cemetery.

According to locals and a number of paranormal investigators, it’s haunted.

There was once a small community call Rock Point and it had a post office along with a train station. Some buildings reportedly still stand but the cemetery remains. Rock Point Cemetery is more that 26 acres in size and has an Independent Order of Odd Fellows section and the rest, in the past, has been called the Pioneer Cemetery. IOOF members maintained their section while the rest of it fell into a state of disarray. Eventually, Gold Hill citizens banded together and started cleaning the cemetery.

Over the years, a number of stories about paranormal activity have swirled around the cemetery, even to the point that paranormal investigators and curiosity seekers from all over the state have come to visit.

One of the most well-known accounts is about a hooded figure, carrying a lantern and sometimes bathed in green light, that roams the cemetery. When people approach the hooded figure, it vanishes into the night. There are a pair of crypts located in the cemetery and there are stories of both surrounded by green mists or even green fire. Strange lights, eerie sounds and – again – that green mists were experienced by nighttime visitors . . . typically, local young people who went to the cemetery as a dare or even for teenaged romantic escapades.

As I was working on my first Rock Point article, I discovered that a common dare was for someone to lie across one of the crypts and wait for the green fog or flames to happen. Some stories have it that as young people drove through the cemetery, their car windows would crack or shatter due to an unseen force.

Both sextons and members of the Gold Hill Historical Society claim that people wearing Victorian era clothing have been seen wandering the cemetery – then disappearing. One such spectral figure, a woman, is usually accompanied by the strong fragrance of lilacs.

It is a beautiful place during the fall and spring, thanks to the local cleanup efforts. A number of the gravesites are fenced off and have been decorated with ornaments and toys.

As I researched Rock Point’s history, I discovered who the hooded figure was.

At some point in the late 19th Century, a Civil War veteran moved to the Gold Hill area. On some nights, he would put on his military longcoat, grab a lantern and go to the cemetery. He would visit the gravesites of other veterans, checking on them and even talking, as if having a conversation with the dead.

Many years after his death, it appears that the old veteran still patrols the cemetery grounds.


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