Letters to the Editor: July 29, 2016

Garden includes many helpers

Thank you for Tom Henderson’s article on the Community Garden July 22.

It may, however, give the erroneous impression that the garden is operated by the McMinnville Garden Club. The garden is a cooperative enterprise of a group of volunteers, including some master gardeners, as well as the McMinnville Cooperative Ministries, which provides the land on which we garden.

The Yamhill Community Action Program serves as the garden’s fiduciary and covers it under its liability insurance policy. The Yamhill County Master Gardeners Association provides gardening expertise and some financial support. The Busy Bees of the McMinnville Garden Club, under the leadership of Doris Crain, conducts the children’s gardening program. The day-to-day operation of the garden is conducted by a core team of several volunteers.

Linda Mason



Goon deeds in a weary world

Some people have nominated a goon to be president. Watch how the goon behaves over the next four months.

Bob McNamee



Not much of a hero

I moved to Oregon four years ago. When I learned that my last name (Harney) was also the name for a large county in southern Oregon, I went digging to find out how this large territory got its name. It turns out the county was named after William S. Harney, a general in the Civil War.

The more I began to learn about this possible ancestor, the more I became horrified by his acts of tyranny. He was known by Indian tribes as “Woman Killer” for deliberately killing women in the the many Indian massacres he led for the U.S. Army. He was also guilty of whipping a female slave to death for misplacing a key, though later acquitted because such offenses weren’t technically illegal in those times.

Like Harney County, Oregon’s Marion county also gets its namesake from a “hero,” who today would be likened to the most evil on earth: Francis Marion. While instrumental in America’s independence from the British, he was a man historians claim regularly raped his slaves and hunted Indians for sport.

Closer to home is the town of Sheridan, named after Phil Sheridan, honoring a man who encouraged the extinction of buffalo and Native Americans as well. Meanwhile, Sheridan sits 12 miles from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, a place Phil Sheridan likely would’ve taken pride in eliminating.

In an age where so many are standing up to racism and advocating for equal rights for all, it seems we’ve ignored the many awful human beings that so many of our municipalities are named after. Perhaps we should start with renaming towns, cities, streets, rivers, etc., after real heroes instead of men who, today, would be serving life sentences for their many atrocious crimes against humanity.

Jerod Harney



Church efforts applauded

I was so pleased to see the article about the move by McMinnville First Baptist Church to join the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. The Rev. Erika Marksbury and her congregation’s leadership toward inclusion and wholeness are to be applauded!

This move is fully supported by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of McMinnville. Some of our members were involved in the welcoming workshop hosted by First Baptist, and we were happy to share our experience as a welcoming congregation.

The Unitarian Universalist Association has held an open and welcoming stance toward our LGBTQ community since the 1970s and formally adopted this position in 1987. The UU Fellowship of McMinnville was founded in 2007 and was formally recognized as a Welcoming Congregation in April 2011. We join First Baptist in welcoming all people to gather in community and to worship together as we each navigate our individual paths.

All the best to Rev. Marksbury and her congregation as they discern their path toward peace and justice for all.

Mary Gear



Trump’s one to talk

It’s interesting that Trump supporters are laser-focused on Clinton’s dishonesty.

I’m not saying she isn’t dishonest, it’s just an odd thing for supporters of a very dishonest man to fixate on. Aside from bilking the suckers who attended his get-rich-quick college, there are numerous cases of subcontractors who worked for Trump only to be stiffed come payday.

Details will surely emerge in campaign ads. Then there’s the small potatoes of copyright theft as Trump repeatedly uses music at rallies after being told not to by performers. The attitude is that rules don’t apply to Trump. He takes what he wants and to hell with the unhappy owner/victim.

His followers would say no big deal. It’s a small-time theft. When a young man was killed in a police shooting in Ferguson Missouri, though, these same people were adamant that his small-time theft of a cigar was sufficient grounds for his shooting.

Different rules for different people.

Seems to be a family trait, this willingness to take what they don’t own. The wife plagiarizing the speech of Ms. Obama — it’s downright comical, the crowds cheering the words of one of the people they hate above all others.

Trump has been filming commercials for Democrats all year — making outrageous statements on film then denying he made them on film. Dishonesty so pervasive that you wonder why his camp would touch the subject with a 10-foot pole.

You can see the coming commercials of Trump lying followed by film of him lying about lying followed by testimonials by his many victims. His followers won’t care, of course. They only fume about dishonesty when it comes out of Clinton’s mouth. Normally it’s a legitimate issue to raise, but it’s hard to say dishonesty disqualifies her when Trump wallows in it.

Fred Fawcett



Landfill touches river

As the former president of the organization opposing landfill expansion, I would like to respond to Robert Mason’s July 22 letter. Mason accuses landfill opponents of being “untruthful” because we have pointed out that the dump sits “on the banks of the south Yamhill River” when, in fact, the landfill is not immediately adjacent to the river channel.

He has perhaps not seen the river in flood (as I have), when fast-flowing river water washes right up to the berm that encloses the garbage. Mason perhaps also does not know that the original three landfill cells were never properly compacted, allowing flood waters to enter and mingle with the waste deposited in those cells.

Moreover, the legal flood plain as mapped by FEMA ran beneath the dump until remapped in 2012, well after the stop-the-dump movement began.

At least Mr. Mason has one fact straight. If not for landfill opponents, the dump would have expanded by 99 acres many years ago. As proposed in Waste Management’s May 2008 expansion application, those 99 acres would have allowed the landfill to remain open, with heavy trucks rumbling through Carlton, Yamhill and McMinnville and stink permeating the air well inside McMinnville city limits for an additional 20 to 30 years.

If Waste Management is now proposing a smaller, better-engineered expansion because the company listened to opponents’ concerns, maybe we should be grateful to opponents for their persistence in giving those concerns a voice.

Susan Watkins



These are the real facts

I am not sure where Robert Mason got his “facts” on Riverbend Landfill’s relationship to the river, but as the original surveyor and engineer who determined the landfill’s current footprint, I feel qualified to issue a correction.

First of all, 52.4 percent of the original landfill is in the original flood plain and 10 percent is in the original floodway of the south Yamhill River.

I am sure that the residents of Yamhill County and Metro did not know that their garbage was being placed in a flood plain and floodway of the south Yamhill River from the late 1980s through about 2012, when I pointed it out, and Waste Management quietly got the mapping changed.

Even now, flood water laps well up onto the sides of the 5,200-foot-long landfill perimeter support berm. Portions of the perimeter berm slumped during the heavy rains of January 2014, and leachate entered public waters at that time.

The main channel of the river is about 345 feet from the berm proposed for expansion to raise its height and extending it a few more feet into the flood plain. The channel at that place has eroded an average of 1.2 feet per year over the last 50 years.

While Riverbend’s consultants stated that channel erosion ranges from 1.5 feet per year to 3.5 feet per year, they conveniently did not provide figures for the erosion closest to the landfill, nor did the DEQ even acknowledge that there would be a problem.

During the December 2015 flood, I noted a strong current with large rapids flowing toward the landfill’s perimeter support berm at this location, suggesting a real possibility of a catastrophic channel change. Water does not always follow engineering calculations, nor does the DEQ require funding for catastrophic events such as this..

Leonard Rydell



Do your homework

Before Robert Mason decided to publicly criticize “facts” stated by members of the community who oppose the proposed expansion of Riverbend Landfill, he should have done his homework and made certain his “facts” were accurate.

He did not do that. His statements regarding both the distance of the landfill from the south Yamhill River and the size of the proposed expansion are incorrect.

According to the professional engineer who designed and supervised the construction of Riverbend, the “toe” of Cell 3, closest to the river, lies only 345 feet and not a third of a mile (1760 feet) from the banks of the south Yamhill River.

According to maps included in Waste Management’s expansion application, the distance from the center of the existing landfill and the expansion area, which is farther from the river than the boundary is, is less than 1,320 feet. And during the annual flooding of the south Yamhill River, the distance from the landfill to the river is zero feet.

Thus, Mr. Mason’s statement that the landfill lies a third of a mile from the south Yamhill River is erroneous. Opponents are correct in saying the landfill “is on the banks of the south Yamhill River.”

Mr. Mason also was incorrect in his description of the current acreage in the expansion. Originally, Waste Management asked for a 37-acre expansion. However, one of the conditions set forth by the Yamhill County commissioners in their approval of the application excluded the proposed Module 10. Their action eliminated eight acres from the application. Consequently, 29 acres were approved by the commissioners for expansion, not 37 (per DEQ website).

Stop the Dump Coalition and community members are fastidious and truthful in all statements about the landfill.

Susan Meredith



‘Facts’ shaken

Whoever provided Robert Mason with the information he used in his July 22 letter to the editor didn’t provide him with anything close to “terminological exactitude.”

For example, no part of the existing landfill is engineered to withstand the expected magnitude 9.0 earthquake, yet he states in his letter that this is the case.

The seismic standards used in building the existing landfill cells are mostly for a magnitude 7.25 earthquake. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake is approximately 422 times stronger than what the landfill is designed to withstand.

With some research, Mason would have found that the most recent construction at the landfill, the Mechanically Stabilized Earthen Berm, was only designed to withstand an 8.5 magnitude earthquake. At a large public DEQ hearing in 2013, dozens of people pointed out to DEQ that they were not following the state’s own seismic standard.

With more research, he would have found articles in The Oregonian from 2013 discussing DEQ’s questionable judgment in allowing Waste Management to build a structure, designed to the lower standard, to hold back 2 million tons of trash.

The 2015 record of the county hearing regarding landfill expansion contains letters from engineers questioning if the berm could even withstand the 8.5 magnitude earthquake for which it was erroneously engineered.

In the same county records, Mason would have found that commissioners Mary Starrett, Stan Primozich and Allen Springer voted only on land-use issues, not seismic ones. Their approval has been overturned not once, but twice, by the Land Use Board of Appeals in the past 11 months. Terminological exactitude allows one to say opponents have won twice.

Ilsa Perse





As a relative newcomer to Yamhill County I find the location of the dump to make about as much sense as the proposal by Jordan Cove to locate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the sand dunes (think liquefaction in earthquake) of the North Spit in Coos Bay. The Jordan Cove terminal will be built on sand, upwind from the city of North Bend, just across the bay on a shipping channel. These corporations care only about making a buck and have little regard for the environment, public safety or other people's ability to earn a living.

Don Dix

Mudstump -- I may be mistaken, but I think City Sanitary was the original operator of the Riverbend site. WM purchased the business from the Koch family, which included the dump site.

I wonder if the 'noise' would be as loud if the business was still owned by long-time residents like the Kochs.


Don - I've lived long enough to see that what was once acceptable is no longer acceptable. When I was a kid industry did things they wouldn't be allowed to do now days. Discharging pollutants into rivers and streams was common practice where I grew up, but we as a society have learned a lot and realized that it doesn't make sense for the health and safety of the population and environment. I'm thinking of Sheffield Steel adjacent to the Blue River in KCMO. It seems the location of Riverbend was a bad idea to begin with and it may be wise to close it and find a more suitable location for our waste.

Don Dix

Mudstump -- I guess my point was the big corps are evil, while smaller or local enterprises are many times ignored.

As an example, though it isn't small -- the city of Portland annually spills raw sewage into the Willamette, whenever the rains become too much for the drains to handle. Raw sewage is about as vile and dangerous as it gets! If there are lawsuits or protests over such violations, I don't see them.

I'm certainly not defending building a landfill on a river, but it appears the complaints are selective as to whom they levied (and not levied), if you get my drift.

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