The ‘DIRTBAG’ Legacy: Gold Hill, Oregon
By Edward Snook
“Dirtbag” Definition: A term used by decent people when describing those who are of low morals, ethics, engage in criminal behavior and support criminal behavior. “Dirtbags” show nothing but antipathy for the law or the rights of others. Their motives are structured around selfish interest and ego gratification.
OREGON – If you want to see some “Dirtbags,” drop in on a Gold Hill city council meeting some time and see Mayor Gus Wolf with his fellow “Dirtbags” who control the city council.
Dirtbags hate anything that gets in their way in achieving their goals. Hitlers or Mansons, large and small.
When a Dirtbag is alone, they can’t accomplish much and usually just grumble. When Dirtbags get together, not unlike any gang, they gain a lot of power and obsession.
Gold Hill is a modern day “Hole in the Wall” sanctuary city for “Dirtbags,” or so it would seem.
And Now for the
“Rest of the Story”
May, 2008: The infamous public works director of Gold Hill, Royal Gasso, was stopped in Grants Pass on a Friday night and arrested, yet again, by the State Police. This time it was for drunken driving, possession of heroin, and possession of methadone (a narcotic substitute for heroin addicts).
This comes as no surprise to many honest, hardworking, people in Gold Hill (there are several but they’re horribly apathetic). Most normal, decent, cities have a “zero tolerance” when it comes to this behavior but this latest incident proves what the town’s “bosses” really want. It’s best explained in their dirtbag motto, “One city, outside the law, of the dirtbags, for the dirtbags, and by the dirtbags.”
Royal Gasso, city councilor Gus Wolf, and their henchmen have a stranglehold on Gold Hill and won’t let go. After all, when you’re an incompetent or a criminal, who better to have at your side; they’ve got their own little club. They harass anyone good and decent, cannot stand any law enforcement to exist long, lie, deny and counter accuse anyone on the city council demanding accountability from Gasso, Wolf, or their ilk.
Take a Look at the Events
as They Tie Together
About 1988: Gasso was busted in New York with two kilos of heroin. Reportedly, he was also an admitted marijuana dealer in California at the time. He served about six years in Federal prisons around the nation and reportedly learned about wastewater treatment.
About 1997: Royal Gasso goes to work for Gold Hill as its public works director. He was on Federal Parole at the time. He was not to drink alcoholic beverages or use drugs. Fat chance! He was arrested for drunken driving which violated his parole. Of course it did no good and of course, the city council led by Gus Wolf supported him.
2000: The FBI was investigating a heroin dealer in the Medford area. A silver colored Jeep belonging to the City of Gold Hill reportedly driven by Gasso kept showing up during drug transactions. The FBI tapped the drug dealer’s phone and to no surprise, Royal Gasso was arranging a purchase of heroin from his favorite dealer. Gasso was busted and had to go to prison for six months. He reportedly told the city he had to go take care of a brother’s funeral but when he wasn’t back in a month they began scratching their heads, “Where’s Royal?” Oh, he lied; he’s in prison, no problem!
An article in the Medford Mail Tribune ran a story about Gasso going to prison but the city did not know where he’d gone. Undaunted and ever-supporting, birds-of-a-feather.
Enter Gus Wolf
Gus Wolf is a diminutive, little man with a google-eye that always looks off to one side. He’s never held a job at anything for very long. His long-suffering wife Andrea is the real breadwinner, while he’s a reported former cocaine addict. Most recently, Gus is reportedly using alcohol and prescription drugs.
It’s no surprise Wolf’s little-man’s-ego has led to his obsession to be on Gold Hill’s City Council for over two decades. What’s he accomplished? – Nothing. He quit as mayor in the late 80’s after some councilors were arrested for cocaine use. Poor boy was losing his support group but he had found a new ally in Royal Gasso. His spirits were rekindled.
Gus Wolf and the council spent good money after bad, hired someone to run the sewer plant, then threw Gasso a party and baked him a cake when he got out of prison, welcoming home their true brother of the dirtbag-gang. It’s hatred for the law and decency, while supporting the worst aspects of society. They can’t get enough of it in Gold Hill.
Around the November Elections in 2006
Gold Hill councilors Jan Fish, Gus Wolf, and Donna Silver went all-out to support Bob Barry for a city council position. Councilor Jan Fish, came out with a personal letter of supporting Mr. Barry and she and her cohorts spread it all over town.
People in Gold Hill used to wonder about councilor Fish, but no longer, her spots became quite visible. No wonder Mr. Barry was a reported three-time convicted drug dealer. He was also reportedly convicted of child abuse and could not be around children and was on felony probation. Just the man councilors Fish, Wolf, and Silva would want in their dirtbag club. Take a wild guess as to which shop Royal Gasso made sure all the city vehicles were repaired at. That’s right, Bob Barry’s automotive shop. Royal Gasso, Alan Jennings, and the city public works crew, dutifully put up signs all over Gold Hill supporting Bob Barry but some good folks actually got on the city council in his expected place. Sadly, they were soon run out by the obsessed and perverse dirtbags of Gold Hill.
Use a city vehicle to go to drug buys? Not a problem. Using heroin while working and driving a Gold Hill vehicle? Not a problem. Spend money collected from the honest, hardworking taxpayers of Gold Hill to support inefficiency and criminal behavior? Not a problem. Lie to the city about going to prison and expect “Royal” treatment when you return? Not a problem – They’ll even bake you a cake!
Gasso admitted he was addicted to heroin and used it “three or four times a month.” Yeah right, all heroin addicts only need a fix once a week. Who is kidding who?
2001: Gold Hill hires Rod Countryman, a former Nevada corrections official to be its police chief. The Wolf-gang and their followers had formerly hired a secretary as their chief whose only police experience was as an unarmed reserve. You get the drill? Why hire someone who might see things with a professional eye? Mr. Countryman at least had some professional background. You guessed it; he was a little too decent for the Wolf-gang. The lies, rumors, and innuendos began flowing.
City councilor Christine Alford led the charge against Chief Countryman, hitting him with an onslaught of her best dirtbag tactics. Alford, who had successfully raised all her children as reported law-breakers, such as drug-dealers, armed robbers, thieves, drug users, and a son-in-law that killed a ten year old boy, was obviously the best front for the Wolf-gang.
Chief Countryman quit when the quitting was good and got a job with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
In a highly uncharacteristic move, Alford was recalled by almost 300 votes. She was reportedly put in office with 13 as a write-in candidate. They say even a blind hog finds an acorn every once in a while and every once in a while the people of Gold Hill grow a backbone, drop their apathy, and do something decent. Too little, too late?
December, 2004: Gold Hill hires another experienced police chief, Dean Muchow. You can go into the US~Observer’s on-line archives (www.usobserver.com) and read all about the tough time Chief Muchow’s had with the Wolf-gang out front, with Royal Gasso stabbing him from behind. This committed and exceptional Chief lasted three years. The Wolf-gang and Gasso could not lie enough or twist things enough to take this man down. They even put him on leave, giving him no reason, as they spread their rumors to their ally Sanne Specht of the Medford Mail Tribune. They were found guilty by the Oregon State Government Ethics Commission of holding an illegal council meeting when they placed Chief Muchow on leave in October of 2006, but it didn’t faze them or the citizens of Gold Hill. Nevertheless, their lies could only carry so far and they failed to drive Chief Muchow out.
They had to do something to get the cops out of town so they eliminated the police department, having no agreement with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in place, which threw Gold Hill into a crime spree for months after the P.D. closed its doors in July of 2007.
October, 2006: Alan Jennings, a public works employee and Gasso protégé is seen by the Gold Hill Police driving a backhoe, while it’s pitch-black at night, with a long steel pole tied to its bucket. This equipment had no lights that worked, and there’s a convicted felon on probation riding on the back bucket of the backhoe! Safe work practices? Jennings was cited and Gasso did nothing to discipline him; after all he allows Jennings to work at the sewer plant without any certification whatsoever.
A while later, Alan Jennings parked his city vehicle on the roadway near the outskirts of Gold Hill, fifteen minutes before it got dark according to officers patrolling the area. Four hours later there was still no sign of Jennings. The city work truck was unlocked and the keys were in the ignition. The trucks tool boxes are unlocked and unguarded expect by the police on patrol. The police are beginning to get worried. They call Royal Gasso who pages Jennings, but it’s Jennings wife who has his pager. She comes out to see the truck and hollers for him for several minutes, receiving no response. Finally, Jennings makes it back to the city truck. He says he’s been out hunting and how dare he be harassed by the police.
Royal Gasso and Jennings decided to “lie, deny, and counter accuse” their way out of the issue. Gasso and Jennings called Medford Mail Tribune’s “dirtbag” reporter Sanne Specht and declared Jennings was going to opt-out of his race for city mayor (yes he was running for mayor!) due to “police harassment.” Specht did her dirtbag duty and ran a headline story about evil law enforcement in Gold Hill.
Epilogue: Shortly before the Gold Hill City Police Department closed its doors in July of 2007, they responded to a domestic violence call at the Jennings home. According to the police “Jennings showed obvious signs of use of methamphetamine. According to one officer, “Amazingly, Jennings checked into re-hab and gained a lot of weight.”
November 2006: Royal Gasso uses a Gold Hill city vehicle to go on a “mushroom hunting trip” far into Oregon’s woods and far from any highway the day after Thanksgiving. He was caught by the Forest Service using a city vehicle for personal use on his hundred mile round-trip from his home.
He told the Forest Service law enforcement he was on a business trip to or from Brookings, Oregon – it depended on which officer Gasso was talking to at the time. The City of Brookings issued a letter stating no one had dealt with Gasso, spoke to Gasso or had any meeting with Gasso. Gasso was turned over to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. Gus Wolf supported this flagrant misuse of taxpayer assets, echoing Gasso’s song, “It was just a standard diversion.” Diversion from what, using his own gas and vehicle? Royal Gasso was found guilty of misusing city funds and equipment. He was fined and had thousands in legal fees. No problem! City councilors Gus Wolf, Jan Fish, and Mike Ely heartily supported using taxpayer money to pay for Gasso’s fines and legal fees. Thousands of dollars, for misusing city money! Well, at least their “buddy” would not turn against them. Does it make you wonder what he’s got on them?
The Wolf-gang pumped up a “BS” story to the media that the fines were for the city allowing Gasso to take the city vehicle to and from work so they felt obligated to pay since they’d given him permission to take a city vehicle to and from work. That’s like denying the holocaust. Nothing was further from the truth. Two good, honest, and decent city councilors quit when that decision was made, finally giving up fighting the obsessed, perverse, Wolf-gang.
Oh yeah, did we mention Royal Gasso had a wanted criminal with him as company that day? Yep, a leopard doesn’t change his spots much. Gasso makes sure all his criminal friends tap into the city funds by getting hired to do “odd jobs” around the city while tending his garden at the sewer plant. Gasso has a “carte blanche” amount he spends each month to finance his dirtbag buddies, most of which have recently just gotten out of jail or prison. In fact, it is reported that Royal Gasso and Alan Jennings get more mail from correctional facilities than everyone on the rest of the city payroll combined.
May, 2007: Royal Gasso left a budget meeting, bought a “18” pack of beer, and opened a cool-one. He visits Alan Jennings, a completely uncertified public works employee he allows to work in and around the sewer plant in violation of state policy. Later that night Gasso is stopped by Sgt. Fitzgerald of the Oregon State Police in Grants Pass. Sgt. Fitzgerald said Gasso was just under being drunk, hid the 18-pack of beer on the floorboard of the city vehicle with his city coat, hid another beer behind the seat and another under the seat. He was speeding, weaving in and out of traffic – then ran a red light – all in a city vehicle. Gus Wolf came out in the Tribune and spun a big yarn about Gasso having only one can open from “ a six pack of India Pale Ale,” thus supporting his fellow dirtbag. Gasso said it was his “political enemies” out to get him. Right! Those crafty people making him drink and drive a city vehicle…
Fall of 2007: Bill “Starman” Jennings, brother to Alan Jennings, is driving the city’s sludge truck. Bill Jennings is reportedly another convicted felon without a job that Royal Gasso doles out city money to a few times a year for “odd jobs” without accountability.
Bill Jennings crashes the sludge truck into a bridge while crossing the Rogue River into Gold Hill. Royal Gasso had many different versions of Bill Jenning’s status. The “ghost worker” who’s unaccounted for in the city’s books, slipped away quietly and it was swept under the rug.
May 2008: Royal Gasso was arrested and caught with heroin again? Surprised? Imagine Gus Wolf falling all over himself supporting Gasso. Hey, maybe the City of Gold Hill will use their public funds to pay for someone to run the public works when or if Gasso goes to jail again. Are we having fun yet? Councilors Jan Fish, Mike Ely, and Gus Wolf surely must be.
According to then Gold Hill City Police Chief Dean Muchow, “the gals in the front offices of Gold Hill City Hall stated to me that Royal Gasso has beer on his breath every afternoon.” Not a problem for Gasso and the “Wolf-gang.”
February 2008: The State Police get a report of a man in a ditch along Hwy 199 outside of Grants Pass. Gasso was staggering down the middle of this dark highway, drunk to the point he reportedly had relived himself in his pants. He got to poking fingers at the troopers, tussling with them and telling them just how much he hated cops. In spite of his attitude they couldn’t very well leave him out there to get run down so they arrested him and took him to jail. Support for Gasso from the Wolf-gang? You bet – 100%!
But wait there’s more: We interviewed Mr. Lyle Rowsey. Mr. Rowsey is the former head of the waste treatment plant in Winston Oregon and ran Gold Hill’s sewer plant while Gasso was in prison. He is now retired. Mr. Rowsey knew Royal Gasso well and had worked at Gold Hill with Gasso for a number of years before moving on. According to Mr. Rowsey, Gasso drank on the job every day. When Royal was suspended from driving he made sure his workers got paid overtime to pick him up and drop him off at his home clear over in Josephine County.
Public pressure from outside of Gold Hill has finally forced the Gold Hill City Council to terminate Gasso’s employment on June 24, 2008 according to city recorder Mary Goddard – And get this: We are informed that Gasso has retained an Ashland, Oregon attorney to sue the city for wrongful termination. We are currently looking into whether or not this Heroin King will receive any severance pay, as well as accusations that Gasso had used people to work at his home while they were being paid by the City of Gold Hill. It would behoove any such workers to come forward before they are implicated in this alleged crime. To come clean and attempt to avoid the possibility of becoming involved in a crime call Edward Snook at 541-474-7885.
Editor’s Note: It has been a true pleasure for us to bring the citizens of southern Oregon the full story on Royal Gasso and the Dirtbags of Gold Hill, Oregon. The only drawback is that Wolf, Fish and their ilk won’t be joining Royal in a termination.