Letters to the Editor - July 26, 2013
Sprayed roadsides ugly
I was born in Yamhill County. My parents met at Linfield College. They shared a lifelong interest in the natural world. Kenny became an entomologist and Dorothy studied earthworms and plants. They instilled in me a passion for all wildlife. For 40 years, I have made it my goal to engage children of all ages in the “sport” of wildlife watching.
I am appalled that the roadsides of my home county have been sprayed with Triclopyr, an herbicide similar to Garlon 3A. Dead brown foliage is the result of this apparently indiscriminate spraying, and it is ugly.
Yamhill County Road Department changed its policy from roadside mowing and brushing to spraying with this powerful herbicide. There was no opportunity for citizens’ input. Tourism is an important source of money in this county. Winemakers and Bed and Breakfast owners advertise worldwide, lauding the beauty of the area. Now, our meandering county roads are scarred with randomly dead vegetation. It looks like some awful blight has hit. Maybe it has.
I know that the only specimens of the delicate Collomia grandiflora (Large-flowered collomia) recorded in Yamhill County have been sprayed out. I know that patches of pearly everlasting are now gone. I see where Triclopyr hit plants on creek banks and directly above water flow. This cannot be legal.
For a view of what it used to be like, travel the 1.8-mile stretch of Peavine Road from its east end intersection with the Old Sheridan Highway west to where Youngberg Hill Road enters from the south. This stretch was missed by the sprayers. Wild rose, checkermallow and showy milkweed have just finished blooming, making way for yellow moth mullein, snowy white Queen Anne’s lace and blue chicory. The road edge here was mowed, not sprayed, and it is lovely.
Kudos, Sen. Betsy Johnson
A big hoorah to Oregon Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose.
Johnson crossed party lines and voted for the people she represents, not just with her Democratic Party. She joined with Republicans on several key votes to nix the majority’s bills in the most recent session of the Legislature.
I think the remainder of our Legislature and the folks in Washington, D.C., should take a lesson from Sen. Johnson and cast their votes for “we the people” and not just for the party they represent.
Then maybe something would be accomplished. It is a shame, however, that due to her voting, she is now being harassed by her fellow Democrats.
Kudos to her for standing up for her constituents and beliefs, and not just going with the flow.
No honor in Phil Sheridan
Reading the article on the name change for Sheridan Days back to Phil Sheridan Days, I was both amazed and disgusted. How could any community honor a man with such a record of bloody and inhumane treatment of Native Americans?
Yes, Sheridan was a Civil War hero, but his legacy here in Oregon is one that should be held in contempt, not honored. Committee Chairman Bob White and Ted Mayfield have shown that they don’t really care about the reality of what Sheridan did to Native Americans. Seems Bob would rather reminisce about the good old days when he was a boy and his “whoop-de-doo” time at the event.
White adds insult to injury when he says he’s going to wear a replica of Sheridan’s uniform at this year’s event. Given what he and his misguided “old timer” friends think is appropriate, they might as well dress up as brown shirt, swastika-wearing, jack-booted storm troopers. It would better represent Phil Sheridan’s real legacy here in Oregon.
Pride parade reflects joy
Last month, my wife and I were in San Francisco and, by chance, it was the weekend of the Pride Parade, formerly the Gay Pride Parade. We decided to check it out. Having never attended a pride parade before, we weren’t sure what to expect, but we suspected flamboyance on steroids.
As it turned out, the most pervasive feature of the parade was joy. It didn’t hurt that the courts had just decided that gays in California could finally get married. There were plenty of couples with signs saying “25 years together,” “30 years together” and “Just married!” More touching still were the pictures of partners who were abroad, barred by federal law from getting citizenship, who were finally coming home to their spouses.
But there was something deeper, a zest for life, a pervasive happiness. Perhaps this came from the realization that Americans increasingly see homosexuals as ordinary folks — the relief of being unremarkable.
There was the occasional flamboyance of attire, sometimes to the point of outlandishness. This was balanced by the Mormons for Marriage Equality, a loudly cheered group despite coming off somewhat like a pork chop at a Bar Mitzvah.
The parade went on for hours. Facebook employees, nurses, plumbers, the Chipotle restaurant, Presbyterians, atheists, gymnasts, belly dancers — they were all there in force. We left after five hours, and it was still going strong, with no sign of letting up.
Next year, Oregonians may have the opportunity to extend marriage rights to our gay brothers and sisters. What I took from that parade was a sense of humanness, how much we are all alike. We all cherish, grieve, celebrate, hope and dare. It is time to stop pretending we can partition love. Marriage equality will signal we are unafraid to let all citizens be citizens fully.
Stymie those robo-calls
To my fellow senior citizens and other interested readers, I offer this helpful hint for answering those phone calls that start with “Are you a senior citizen?” I frequently receive these calls between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
During those hours, I answer the phone by saying in a computer tech support accent, “You have reached the home of a senior citizen. How may I direct your call?” My other choice is “To speak to a senior citizen please enter your user name and password.” Using these phrases, instead of the traditional greeting of “hello,” usually results in a moment of silence followed by the dial tone.
My engineering instincts tell me the speech recognition device on the other end of the line is waiting for the traditional greeting of hello. When that word is not detected, the call is automatically ended.
To test this theory, I plan to start using foreign language greetings. Three examples I will try will be “bonjour” (French), “ciao” (Italian) and “moshi moshi” (Japanese).
Easement change won’t harm
Craig Markham (Readers Forum, July 19) raised issues that deserve a response.
Considerable time and resources have been spent preparing evidence supporting modification of the Wallace Bridge Conservation Easement owned by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Modification of the existing easement presents the NRCS with a “win-win” opportunity – the kind of decision U.S. citizens expect federal agencies to make.
If approved, Wallace Bridge would use land that the NRCS has not established as a viable habitat, and the NRCS would manage additional stream corridor, wetlands and rare plants that are not currently protected.
Mr. Markham implies a sinister campaign to allow urban development on tax-deferred Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) land. In fact, much of the development is allowed outright or conditionally under EFU. A small lodge/hotel and other amenities will require an exception to the statewide planning goal.
A project of this kind requires thousands of acres for cross-country equestrian competition and cannot be located inside an urban growth boundary. The site is unique and perfect for this venture, located on “non-high value” farmland where tourism will not conflict with farming and forestry.
Mr. Markham declined our offer to show him this property, but we welcome any suggestions for a more suitable location.
Mr. Markham wrote that Wallace Bridge has paid picketers and others for support. That is incorrect. We sought support from government officials and citizens because the NRCS requires a showing of compelling public need to consider an easement modification.
Wallace Bridge will bring a new clean industry to an area that welcomes and needs economic development. Even if it is not developed, lands proposed for a modified easement are better for habitat conservation than lands in the existing easement.
A decision to approve the easement modification benefits Oregon; denying the easement modification benefits no one.
Consultant for Wallace Bridge (incorporated)
System got it right
The political “civil rights” story line of the Zimmerman verdict has spread like wildfire — an innocent African American “young boy” walking home with his Skittles had “not violated the law” but was wrongfully killed by a white man “wanna-be” cop. It concludes that, since Zimmerman was found not guilty, now we all know you can kill a black kid for no reason.
If this were true, I would be out protesting for Trayvon Martin. Except it is not true.
Surgery landed me at home to watch most of the trial. Replays filled in what I missed. I watched two very good legal teams and a tough judge conduct a trial that revealed the truth for the jury. The jury found that Zimmerman never threatened or struck 17-year-old Martin, but Martin did hit Zimmerman in the face several times and ended up on top of Zimmerman, banging Zimmerman’s head on a sidewalk — that is an assault and a crime.
The jury also found Zimmerman reasonably feared great bodily injury (like a cracked skull) or believed Martin was after his gun to shoot him with it. This reasonable fear justified the shooting in self-defense and is why the jury found him not guilty.
Most would feel fear being followed by a stranger at night and I’m sure Martin was concerned. Martin had the right to question Zimmerman, call police, run or ignore him, but not to assault him — especially once on the ground (universal sign of surrender).
This case shows the criminal justice system can get it right. This is not a civil rights case and certainly does not stand for the proposition that you can just shoot young American men of any color. The lesson is: be mindful, don’t assault other people because you may pay for the mistake with your life.
J. Mark Lawrence