Letters to the Editor: March 4, 2016

Homeless problem solvable

Although much has been and will be presented about the homeless situation in McMinnville, it is generally considered to be a minor nuisance, an unsolvable problem, or someone else’s problem. All of these are incorrect.

Many organizations and individuals are working to find and implement solutions. Others are ignoring the situation, hoping that it will go away. It appears that the Yamhill County Gospel Rescue Mission is taking the lead with several of the churches, a few government entities involved and a minority of the Third Street businesses.

City management wants a solution but doesn’t want to provide any financial or zoning support. It is assumed the homeless don’t care to be useful citizens, and this is most certainly not true. Perhaps 10 percent of the homeless are in this category, while the other 90 percent can be helped and want help.

It is now probable that the solutions are within reach, but the missing pieces are the city management and the business community. Yes, there are many solutions required, not just housing.

Blaming any of the involved organizations of perpetuating the problem by assisting the homeless is immoral and illogical. What can each individual or business do to assist in solving much of this problem? Support individuals and organizations working on the situation. Support the Yamhill County Gospel Rescue Mission.

Pressure the city management and businesses to get involved. If the majority of the citizens and organizations become actively involved, the 90 percent of the homeless who can use help will get it, and we can then focus on the remaining 10 percent

Alan Wenner 


Duplicity in Salem

In Jeb Bladine’s Whatchama column Feb. 26, “Oregonians tricked into annual sessions,” Jeb wrote about how Oregon voters were bamboozled in 2010 by the political leaders in Salem into supporting a ballot measure that put into place annual legislative sessions. This was sold to voters as necessary to address state budgetary issues and not as a regular even-year session.

Jeb is right. As soon as the ballot measure was passed, the promised limited session became just another regular one. No one should be surprised by the duplicity of the leadership in the Oregon Legislature.

Unfortunately, that is only one of the many sleight-of-hands tricks the Legislature is using in the 2016 session.

Senate Bill 1573, if passed, would take away the right of citizens to vote on city annexations. McMinnville and Newberg are two of 32 Oregon cities that have a requirement that voters must approve annexations. Voters put the requirement in place.

We constantly hear state officials say they’re in favor of more citizens voting. Unfortunately, SB 1573 is the antithesis of that.

The Senate Rules Committee held a “one- hour notice hearing” Feb. 25 and voted in favor of SB 1573. A one-hour notice hearing makes it almost impossible for average citizens to find out about the hearing in time to travel to Salem to testify. For paid lobbyists who prowl the corridors of the Capitol building and who have access to legislators every day, it is not inconvenient. 

SB 1573 also contains an “emergency clause.” Nowhere in the bill is the emergency described because there is no emergency. The inclusion of the emergency clause prevents citizens from filing a referendum to put the bill before voters. In essence, SB 1573 disenfranchises voters while preventing them from filing a referendum.

Jeb is right. We have been bamboozled by the leadership in Salem.

Jim Ludwick 


Trump dangerous

Donald Trump is the epitome of a businessman: intelligent and ruthless.

As a businessman, everything he will attempt will be based on a cost-to-benefit scale. Which on the surface sounds good. However, the question will be at whose cost and at whose benefit? I do not feel he entered this race without feeling he will gain a major profit from it.

After a disaster, will he look and decide that the only benefit of helping will be to those suffering? A government is not a business and cannot function this way on the whole.

His lack of diplomacy shows a lack of respect for anyone else. If you do not offer respect, you cannot expect it in return. Is this who we want representing us on the world stage? As big as we are, we still rely on allies. And we really don’t need any more enemies. As a deal closer, he is ruthless and will do or say anything to get what he wants. I believe this even applies to his campaign. How can anyone actually believe it is viable to build a wall the entire length of our Southern border and get the Mexican government to pay for it?

A plan to ban anyone Muslim from entering the country? How would you test for someone’s beliefs? Is there some kind of blood or saliva test for this?

He had said it was “disgraceful” that the Pontiff questioned his Christianity while in the last 8 years he continually expressed an opinion that the current president is Muslim.

When going to the polls, ask yourself, what has been Trump’s record? Are any of his claims reasonable? Would he really care if any of us suffered because of his policies?

Robin Zimmerman 


Hang your heads

Either county commissioners Allen Springer, Mary Starrett and Stan Primozich did not read the submitted rebuttal testimony in opposition to the dump, or if they did, they don’t have the brain capacity to understand it.

The findings they have adopted to explain away how the dump affects local farmers misconstrues (nicer than saying the findings lie) the opposition testimony from local residents once again.

The “conditions” are ludicrous at best. One of the conditions is that a local cherry and berry farmer will turn over all cherries and berries to the dump for the going price.

Starrett calls this “generous.” This presumes that the only reason that farmers grow something is for the dollar return. So not true. On our farm, we grow rhubarb. We don’t make a lot of money from it, but the return that we get when people smile far outweighs the check that they write. I would not grow rhubarb only to sell it to Riverbend to be thrown on the dump.

So, once again, the commissioners dismiss the voices and experience of local farmers, the farm bureau, etc. without explanation. I don’t think this is what the Land Use Board of Appeals had in mind when it remanded the decision to the county.

I would still like Springer to explain why he initially voted against the dump expansion, but this time voted for it. An interesting turnaround.

I hope the News-Register is successful at getting the public records that it requested. It was obvious to all of us at the meeting last week that the decision for Springer, Starrett and Primozich to vote “yes” on dump expansion was predetermined. No explanation, no questions; simply a unanimous yes vote with downturned heads.

So much for “transparency.” They ought to be ashamed.

Marilyn Walster 


Homeless just ‘folks’

I like to call the homeless “folks.” It sounds friendlier.

The churches have been feeding folks for a long time here. St. Barnabas has had a soup kitchen for 25 years that serves homeless, poor families, elderly and folks seeking companionship. Cooperative Ministries serves 300 folks breakfast every Saturday morning. There is Sunday supper at the Covenant Church, Saturday Community Dinner at the First Presbyterian Church and breakfast Monday and Friday at First Baptist Church, where a big airpot of coffee is provided by Cornerstone Coffee, which the folks really appreciate.

The churches are going to keep feeding folks because they are committed to responding to a need. The Porta Potties and lockers provided by the churches have helped to keep downtown less cluttered and more sanitary.

Of course, if people break the law, they should be arrested. However, when they get out of jail, they’re going to go back to places they feel are safe and familiar. It’s just human nature.

Solutions start at the starting point. The Community Center now offers free showers. Is it possible to install washers and dryers so that folks can change into clean clothes? Is it possible for the city to provide Porta Potties and sanitation stations downtown?

Would it be possible to follow the lead of cities like Portland and Eugene and provide a supervised tent community so folks could have basic shelter?

And would it be possible to set up a fund so that McMinnville citizens could help to fund these solutions? That would go a long way in helping our unhomed residents.

These folks have names, unique faces and interesting stories. They are, after all, us. We are all one human race. We all live in the same home, Earth. And we all have the right to shelter, food and basic sanitation. Let’s help.

Roshana Shockley 


Sound investment

The McMinnville School District’s facilities bond will be on the May ballot, and I urge you to support it. Why? The bond is an investment in our children and community’s future.

One of the exciting projects the bond will fund is the construction of the new Career Pathway/Vocational Technical Center on the high school campus. This new facility will help prepare students for high-wage jobs that are in high demand in our area in such fields as horticulture, construction and engineering.

The bond money will also pay for energy efficiency upgrades, which will reduce operating costs. It will pay for needed capital improvements such as roofing, replacing the outdated heating/cooling system at Newby Elementary, and it will pay for critical safety and security upgrades to all schools. Those aren’t necessarily exciting, but they are necessary and important.

This bond levy is the result of the hard work of people I know and trust. But find out for yourself. Go to www.yes4kids.org. Talk to the folks who worked on the Long-Range Facilities Task Force. Ask questions of your school board members.

I’m sure that if look into it, you will decide to vote for important and sound investments in our shared futures.

Jerry Hart 


Voc-ed important

I wanted to take a moment and express to you the importance of voting yes for the upcoming McMinnville School District School Bond.

I participated in vocational education when I was in high school. This education provided me with the foundation to earn family wages and benefits for more than 30 years.

Vocational education is an integral part of the upcoming school bond. There is a demand for manufacturing employees in the future:

Over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed, and 2 million are expected to go unfilled due to shortage of skilled workers. Moreover, according to a recent report, 80 percent of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage of applicants for skilled and highly skilled production jobs.

In 2014, the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $79,553 annually — including pay and benefits. The average worker in all industries earned $64,204. Manufacturers have one of the highest percentages of workers who are eligible for health benefits provided by their employer.

Local manufacturers need skilled employees today. Your support of the upcoming school bond assists in ensuring McMinnville High School students can meet local business’s hiring requirements.

Jon Ostling 



The News Register’s Feb. 28 editorial regarding incompetence at DEQ is right on the money.

However, the problem is not just in Portland. Yamhill County depends upon DEQ, a truly hapless organization, to monitor Riverbend Landfill, a job that it has done with as little attention to detail as it showed monitoring air quality in Portland.

DEQ failed to apply the strictest engineering standards to the design of the recently built MSE Berm. When confronted with proof that Waste Management’s design wouldn’t withstand a magnitude 8.5 earthquake, let alone the expected 9.0 earthquake, DEQ shrugged its shoulders and said “experts can disagree.”

When Waste Management disgorged six times the legally allowed amount of E.coli into the South Yamhill River, there was more shoulder shrugging. Asbestos-contaminated construction debris brought to the dump illegally? Not much happened.

Recently, a highly qualified landfill hydrogeologist analyzed DEQ’s own numbers and found a high probability that toxic dump leachate containing known carcinogens was leaking into groundwater. DEQ didn’t even respond.

DEQ has steadfastly ignored thousands of odor complaints from hundreds of citizens.

For more than seven years, we have been urgin g the Environmental Quality Commission to force DEQ to regulate the disaster waiting to happen at Riverbend. DEQ treats Waste Management like a valued “customer” and not like a corporation that needs vigilant oversight.

Ilsa Perse 


Homeless have home here

Homeless? I disagree!

The community members residing and/or hanging out in the heart of our beautiful downtown area are home. This is their home. As I see it, some of our community members need assistance in finding safe, stable and appropriate shelter. The bad behavior crackdown urged by downtown merchants and the cry to prosecute by the police only focuses on the symptoms and not the problem.

Shelter is a basic need. We all need it.

Our community has an opportunity before us, an opportunity to stand up for the greater whole. I encourage all of us to come together and seek the submerged part of the iceberg.

Julia S. Leon 


Don Dix

According to Jim Ludwick, the people who are elected to represent the citizens in the state legislature fooled us in 2010 by requesting annual sessions ... and it was approved by voters. Now Ludwick accuses those elected officials of duplicity by forwarding SB 1573. He is correct .... and also very one subject selective.

Long before 2010, our state government has -- created OWIN (Kulongoski's promised but still unfinished state radio network), BETC (tax credits for energy conservation, which, by way of manipulation, has cost the state millions), ignored the spending fiasco and failures of DMV and ODOT (nobody held accountable), tackled PERS with promises of real reform (nothing accomplished), etc., etc. But hey! We do have an official state dirt!

At this point in time, with all the costly legislation and questionable programs fostered by the state for the last 30 years, it seems a little myopic to complain about any single issue pushed on the citizens.

Ludwick was the founding president of Yamhill Co.'s no-growth movement (shortly after he built but had trouble selling a spec house on Goucher St.). That would be somewhat 'duplicitous' in it's own right, from this view.

The good news from SB 1573 is Ludwick now has the opportunity to once again try his hand at 'construction without obstruction' from his pals. But beware Jim, no doubt the minimum wage increase will prove to be the elephant in the room with regards to labor costs (also brought to you by those double-faced legislators). So be attentive with the 'state dirt' while performing the dig out!

Horse with no name

Marilyn Walster "I would still like Springer to explain why he initially voted against the dump expansion, but this time voted for it."

You hit the nail on the head with this one Marilyn. Why doesn't a reporter from the News Register ask Commissioner Springer that question? Don't reporters ask questions any more or are they just note takers that say this is what they did today blah blah blah.

Springer blows off citizens all day long, don't worry News Register it doesn't won't hurt but at least you ought to ask some questions.


Robin Zimmerman has a very distorted interpretation of business and a businessman when she says, "Donald Trump is the epitome of a businessman: intelligent and ruthless". She seems to suggest that every farmer, small business owner, large business person strives to be ruthless to be a successful business person. That is a naïve assertion that is totally false. Yes, a businessman has an advantage if s/he is intelligent, but "ruthless" is not a necessary ingredient to success.


To the people who think the new vocational building in the current bond will produce plumbers,electricians,carpenters,auto mechanics,diesel mechanics,concrete finishers,equipment operators and all the other jobs and careers that are similar are in for a rude awakening. Go to a bond presentation and listen to the dog and pony show. None of these jobs are even in the mix. This new building is an extension of the current ESA program. It will be for the elite students and will continue to serve a very few kids in more common high paying jobs. Don't drink the cool-aid McMinnville. If we want to serve all our kids we need to slow down and invest in a new large school with room for everybody. If you want welders and pipe fitters out of the current deal it ain't gonna happen.


It seems that the strategy for approval of this bond is that it "won't increase taxes above the present rate". If this strategy is not embraced and taxes go down $400 for the average household, it will be more difficult at a later date to push a measure that says "we are going to increase your rates by $400". This is seen as a window of opportunity to maintain the present debt level.


Yes let's take the cheap way out for our kids. We have a new fire station,new police station,remodeled city hall and are getting new and improved roads in the city but heaven forbid we replace a 1955 school with a new one. I'm sorry but a bigger sense of community to me is kids.


Jim, that "1955" school you refer to is deceiving. Unless you just moved to town, you should realize that most of the high school has been built decades later than 1955, including the football stadium, the tennis courts, the football field, 25 additional classrooms (just eight years ago), the administrative offices, the auditorium, the courtyards etc. The school is not crowded in comparison to almost every high school of similar size in Oregon including, Lake Oswego, Corvallis, Klamath County, Forest Grove Redmond, Oregon City, West Linn Sherwood, Newberg, Beaverton, Hillsboro North Clackamas, Bend, Parkrose, Dallas, Eugene, Medford, Tigard-Tualatin, David Douglas.

A new high school is totally out of the picture unless you have a good idea what to do we the existing $100 Million high school.


Kona I have lived here since 1970. I will start with the class rooms on the west end of the building that are closed for mold. The wrestling room is so small with inadequate ventilation it shouldn't be used,the PE lockers rooms haven't been updated in who knows how many years,the locker rooms under the football stadium haven't been updated since the 70s,a shop so small that they can't handle the students and I could keep going but don't have the time. The school as it stands now would be great for a middle school and the district offices. If you haven't heard they are planning to put a pile of money in the old Cook school property for district offices and that will be a great benefit for kids. Instead of 6 or 7 million in a district office we could put the money in athletic fields to maybe get our kids outside and get some exercise instead of phone and computer time. And if you don't think that school is crowded be in a hallway when school lets out or go to an event and try to find a parking spot.


Jim, I'm curious which "class rooms on the west end of the building that are closed for mold"? I have a member of my family who works in the building every day and had never heard that.

So how are you going to vote?


The mold problem started a couple of months ago. Old building and pumps went down. Their was an article in the newspaper. The signs were still up when I drove by a week or so ago that said it was closes. As far as I'm concerned I hope this poor attempt at putting a bandaid on a large wound is a waste of the tax payers money and the kids time with a school torn apart for three or four years. I am voting no and hoping that somebody in charge figures out how to fix this giant problem. I am all for our kids and support a new school with room for all.


Defeating this bond issue is certainly not going to persuade school leaders to respond by submitting a vastly larger bond issue for an entirely new high school. It's just going to serve to block a long list of proposed improvements, possibly for many years to come.
An electoral setback doesn't encourage local officials to think big. It causes them to become more timid and hesitant.
They scale back, not up. Their goals become less ambitious, not more.
If you want to see the district build a new high school in your lifetime, I'd suggest you display support for one more round of fixes at the existing site first. That's how it works.

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