By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Another cog in our sense of community

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Every day produces countless examples of the sense of community that feeds the mind and nourishes the soul.

In a small way, we hope to tap into that river of connectivity here in McMinnville and the Yamhill Valley with an extended series of brief surveys. It’s a river that runs deep and wide.

Sense of community is an age-old concept highlighted in work by the late psychologist Seymour Sarason. In 1974, he summed it up as “the sense that one was part of a readily available, mutually supportive network of relationships upon which one could depend and as a result of which one did not experience sustained feelings of loneliness.”

In other words, “I’m comfortable here.” Three random examples come to mind from recent days.

An open house at Third Street Flats in downtown McMinnville drew hundreds of people whose appreciation for the new lodging facilities was boosted by the surprise of finding so many familiar faces. Crowded rooms and narrow hallways enhanced the community mingle.

Last weekend, sorrowful gatherings from the Yamhill and Carlton communities, and beyond, celebrated the too-short life of Colby Duyn. In a difficult time, people drew strength from one another.

This week, McMinnville native and Washington Post reporter Jim Tankersley finished his whirlwind speaking tour at Linfield College before a packed room of people who came to hear him talk about some new directions in journalism. During Q & A time — a decade after leaving Oregon — he was struck by the realization that he was acknowledging most questions by calling people’s first names.

Seymour’s field was broadly characterized as community psychology. As reported by The New York Times in the 2010 story of his death, “He became convinced that many psychological problems stemmed from social settings and institutional cultures.”

But I digress … about those local surveys.

Quietly this week, we launched the first of a series of online questionnaires available to newspaper subscribers with online accounts, now numbering about 1,800. We call it “Community Pulse.”

For the first time, we can take and report quick snapshots of community opinion, albeit limited to people who subscribe to our newspaper.

We started easy, with softball questions seeking “Best of Mac” notes to use in an upcoming special section. But there’s more substance to come.

Over time, we hope that Community Pulse can present an insightful look at diverse issues and become a valuable element in our local sense of community.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.

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