Letters to the Editor: Aug. 3, 2018

Frustrated with can jam

I like to think of McMinnville as a city with a pulse on the needs of its citizens. But lately, I’ve found an area where our fair city has fallen short.

McMinnville leaders try to run a growing city as ergonomically and as environmentally as they can. Heck, we even have a fee on grocery bags in this town!

But with deposits required on just about any type of beverage consumed, folks are increasingly confronting the question, “Where and how am I going to return my beverage containers?”

After going to four different grocery stores, searching for a line with less than five people, I finally landed at Albertsons. And I had an interesting conversation there with a gentleman who calls himself “The Can Man.”

After lamenting with Can Man about how difficult and time consuming it was to return my beverage containers, he educated me a bit on the issue.

At any given time, he told me, our city only has five to seven beverage receptacles in working order. He said this stems from businesses not providing enough capacity and the machines requiring frequent maintenance.

Keep in mind that some 40,000 people are trying to return their bottles and cans.

He also explained that McMinnville is starting to become quite an attractive mecca for homeless folks, because many frustrated citizens of McMinnville have taken to discarding their containers or leaving them out for the homeless. It’s a problem of not having a reliable place to return them.

My plea to city leaders is to tackle this growing issue. They need to find a more efficient way for folks to get their deposits back.

Maybe we could use all the proceeds from grocery bag sales to create a city bottle drop, instead of letting the stores keep the money. Heck, we could even charge a percentage of the deposit money for use of the facility.

Jo Gibson



Don’t follow Seattle’s lead

Here is a link to a Fox News opinion piece on the cost of streetcar and bike lane projects in Seattle: foxnews.com/opinion/2018/07/31/smug-seattle-keeps-throwing-money-after-streetcar-bike-lane-fiasco-that-s-totally-off-rails.html.

Since nobody in our county can make an estimate on the proposed Westsider Trail, maybe this will give you an idea of what costs can run.

I understand Yamhill County’s old rail right of way is not downtown Seattle. But look how much the trail is already running.

Seattle tells the people it will not cost much more in added taxes. Here in Yamhill County, the claim is that no tax money will be spent at all.

But the Seattle project is way over the budget, and that’s what will happen here.

Meanwhile, I’m curious:

How many gates did Assistant County Counsel Todd Sadlo include between Yamhill and Carlton in his fencing plan? Will these be metal farm gates, chain link gates, wire gates, wood gates, and will they be auto-opening or will people have to get out of their cars in the rain, snow and blazing heat each time they want to cross?

What about the handicapped and elderly? Will they need to call somebody for help?

And how wide will each gate be? Some farm equipment might need 20 feet.

Maybe a bike club can volunteer to stand watch at each crossing to help the people who live and pay taxes in Yamhill County get across their own property.

Chris Mattson



Trail support runs deep

Thanks to all the kind fans of Derby Days who were so welcoming to my wife and me as we joined the lively parade through Yamhill for the Yamhelas Westsider Trail.

Through the day, we met young families from Gaston, Mac, Carlton and Yamhill who told us they couldn’t wait until the trail becomes reality. It’s been wonderful to see how the support for the Trail extends around different groups of people across the county.

Thanks for the positive comments from all about this great opportunity to connect our communities and afford safe routes to school.

Steve and Jane Harloff



Don’t see harm in campers

This is in response to the RV encampment problem here in town.
I decided to drive through Marsh Lane and Dustin Court to see what all this hubb

b was about. These RVs are way out there, away from residences.

So, what is the problem? Are the complainers a bunch of busybodies with nothing better to do?

These people have nowhere else to go. Until there is more affordable housing in and around town, this is what’s going to happen.

They are no longer in the parking garage or in the church parking lots. Rental costs and housing costs are skyrocketing, so where are they supposed to go?
Maybe the police could spend their overextended budget on better things than harassing citizens already down on their luck.

Stephanie Stevens



Spewing hate

Read Les Howsden’s letter, “Words have consequences.” Couldn’t have said it better.

Since his election, Trump has gone out of his way to incite hatred toward the free press. This a continuation of his incitement at his campaign rallies suggesting violence against protesters and hate for the press.

To claim this incessant hate doesn’t inspire people to commit hateful violence is absurd. Of course it does.

That’s the intent of the inciter. He hopes some loon will act on the hate and commit violence serving to intimidate the rest of the press.

Trump and the Republican Party incite hate toward the press only to hide behind weak excuses when it leads to violence.

They were outraged when Obama made comments about police violence, claiming his words were inspiring further attacks on law enforcement. How could they then claim no responsibility for the violence after spewing endless hate at the press?

They clearly understand the concept, as they applied it to Obama. But they go on to absolve their own.

When you preach hate, you don’t get to claim innocence when that preaching results in violence. When you incite it, you’re just as guilty as the perpetrator.

Fred Fawcett




Chris Mattson---While I understand their concern about access...I don't think the right of way can be identified by adjacent landowners as "their own" property..


tagup - I took Chris Mattson's statement to ask how landowners will cross the fenced right-of-way to obtain access to the portion of their property separated by the trail. Right now I would guess that they just drive over the right-of-way to farm land on the other side, but a fence could create a hardship. I could be wrong, but that is how I understand it.


Fred Fawcett - I agree with you. Never in my lifetime did I imagine that we could have a president so unqualified and vile as Trump. Trump is repulsive, shameful and a failure as a human being. He's a thug that has very little regard for our country. He's more devoted to Putin than our own law enforcement.


Here we go again. Same story different week. That's your opinion.

Obama hated this country, still won't shut up and promised flexibility after his last election.

Lowest unemployment, rolled back regulations, businesses are thriving, jobs everywhere and the remains 55 Americans returned this week from the Korean War. Where was that reported?


Chris Mattson you are right on the money with your letter. I saw the Seattle bike path fiasco on the news and it’s ludicrous to spend tax dollars that way. The trail is for a special interest group and not for the county as a whole. Let the bicycle people and hikers pay for it or put it to a county vote.


I am in agreement Jo Gibson. I think the city lacks a reasonable method/means of turning in containers that we are required to pay a deposit for. I actually drop mine off in Salem when I’m over that way. They have three Bottle Drop locations there, and many more are in surrounding cities. I’m not sure whether they don’t see a good business opportunity here, are unwelcome for some reason, or are maybe waiting for city officials to inquire as to their services..? Personally, I’d really like to have one in town.


scouring- I'm not sure the bottle drop issue is a city problem....I think the responsibility belongs to the businesses to keep their machines in working order and provide the service....but I do agree it's a problem....I can't think of a time that I have returned cans that the machines didn't malfunction.....it's a low priority for the business.


Yes, it is a problem.. Perhaps my wording was not particularly clear - I didn’t mean to imply that bottle redemption is the city’s problem, but that we in the city lack a reasonable means to get rid of the containers and get the deposit back. Mostly I was lamenting the fact that we have no BottleDrop locations when Dallas, Keizer, Salem, Forest Grove, etc. do.

Sal Peralta

Jo Gibson and "Scouring" - Bottledrop is a not-for-profit cooperative that handles bottle returns for local retailers. it replaces existing bottle return locations at individual grocers with a single service center. Both Adam Garvin and I have talked to them about coming to McMinnville. What I can tell you is that they are currently in 24 cities, looking to expand to 45 and that McMinnville is on their list of 45. MEDP is currently working to identify potential locations.

Sal Peralta

Mudstump - Any obstacle is insurmountable if there is no desire to surmount it in the first place. Rails-to-trails programs exist in rural communities all across the United States. If other ag communities solve issues of trail crossings, our county can also. McMinnville, along with the county and every other city in the region has a considerable economic interest in protecting the rights of way that exist on those rail corridors. If you speak with leaders in Willamina, you will find many who lament the fact that the rail rights of way connecting their town to Grand Ronde and to the Oregon coast have been lost because of the lost opportunity for tourism and recreation. Those rights of way were established in the 1800's and would be nearly impossible to recreate today.


Sal I don’t think you City people get it. Farmers and ranchers don’t want anymore interference than they already have from people that live in the city. If you don’t live there you don’t understand the basics of farming and ranching and how city people feel they need to control what they don’t own. City people have tried to shut down dairy’s,feed lots, hog farms,chicken and turkey farms and many more agricultural operations. These people that live along the railroad right of way want to be left alone to farm without gates and fences and city people interfering in their lives and operations. That’s why they live in the country and not the city. I still contend you and a lot of folks in Yamhill County has been blinded by tourism!

Sal Peralta

Jim - An overwhelming majority in YC, just like here in Mac, support the trail. That land is encumbered with a public right of way. Every citizen in this county, especially those who live in YC, have a reasonable expectation for those encumbrances to be honored. Most of the people with the biggest megaphones against it don't even live in Yamhill County and definitely do not live in YC.


Sal my big megaphone has been here since 1951 so I don’t think I’m out of line talking about this. I know that an abandoned rail line in Morrow County was trying to be bought up by one entity to do what you folks are trying to do and the ranchers in that county bought it up to keep from being infringed upon. You can shout out all the socialist propaganda you want but this isn’t a help to the whole county it’s all about a small special interest group. I hope the farmers beat you in court if it goes that far. We don’t need to become part of California we already have enough tourists and Californians.


Sal-"overwhelming majority" support the trail. Give me the stats to support that claim.


Finch-"Obama hated this country" WTF really? Explain.


Finch-to disagree with Obama's stand on issues I can understand. To say he "hated this country" is so out there and so indicative of what has gone so sideways in US politics


Sal after re reading your comments I again think you don’t understand why these railroads to Willamina,Grand Ronde, and the Coast where shut down. It was from out of state Entity’s attacking the loggers, mill owners and lumber brokers that make a living from the land. Some bird deemed more important than the industry that was the heart and soul of our state. When Big Government runs rampant over states rights you ruin entire communities and it seems to me the government in this county is trying to run traditional farming out of this county and cater to out of state wine interests. So when you can prove to me that 75% of this county wants a paved trail thru farm country I’ll back off.

Sal Peralta

Jim - It's unclear to me why you think your comments about the Big Bad Federal government are germane to this conversation. The effort to create a safe bicycle route between Yamhill and Carlton started from people of the business community and tourism community in both of those towns. This is not an issue of Big Government running over states rights. it is an issue of one or two landowners trying to prevent use of a public right of way that the land has been encumbered with for 100+ years. You have lived here since 1961, and while you have an opinion, you do not have the same megaphone that the outside agitators I am referring to have. Shorty, take a look at McMinnville's strategic planning process and what our community members are prioritizing in terms of recreation and trail connectivity. Take a look at the election results of candidates who have run opposing the trail. Jason Yates ran on that -- almost as a single issue -- against Stan and got slaughtered, despite having the endorsement and backing of the local Republicans based on that issue. Any candidate for local or county office that runs on that issue loses big in Y-C. I have spent a lot of time in Y-C and from what I have seen, the trail is hugely supported there.


No you’re right Sal it’s not about Big Government on this issue. I just explained why the railroad to Grand Ronde doesn’t run anymore. It’s about County Government running over farmers for tourism. The safe bike path from Carlton to Yamhill is a joke. You are on the City Council and here’s another issue that hurts the local Farmers. The city in their infinite wisdom put round abouts on Hill Road and small ones to boot. It looks like you have effectively shut down big farm equipment,hay trucks and log trucks from using the road with farm ground at each end of it. Plus you effectively are killing Drapers business by doing the round about at the height of their season. People don’t want to drive through that mess to get there. Plus the mess for 4 million dollars on Alpine Avenue. Two cars can’t even pass on it now and I’ve seen about two people on it in the last two months. You could say I’m a little tired of any kind of government that are for special interest groups and not the majority of the American public. The deepest pockets always seem to win.


Sal Peralta - I am for the trail and will use it if built. I use the Banks Vernonia trail for horseback riding in and around Stub Stewart State Park. I think it would be a great asset for our area. In my earlier comment I was just trying to clarify what I thought a previous commenter was saying. Count me in as a yes for the trail.

Sal Peralta

Mudstump I understand, thank you. Jim - What happened in Willamina and Grand Ronde is a good case-in-point for what happens when a public right-of-way is not protected. Frankly, most of the people I know in Willamina don't want old time nostalgia about timber jobs that are not coming back due to automation. They want jobs that will keep their kids there. They want some kind of opportunity that will help bring their community back. My daughter goes to school with a lot of Sheridan-Willamina kids and we have a lot of friends there and in the local business communities of both towns. Most of the folks I know there would love to have their own rails to trails project to bring in tourism dollars, as is happening now in YC. Regarding Granary District - Your comments about the investment in the granary district are out of step with most of the people I talk to around town. Most adjacent property owners and owners in the adjacent residential area do not appreciate not having dirt roads and crumbling infrastructure in the downtown core. It is a hugely popular project and a huge asset to this city that will increase property values for neighboring homeowners and make McMinnville an even bigger magnet for people to come and visit and spend money here at our local shops and hotels. In any case, folks who are interested in seeing the new Alpine district can settle that debate for themselves by joining us for Free Summer Flix District at the ampitheater. August 17th is Coco. August 24th is Cars. Both shows start at 7:30. Also, thanks for reminding me to go get tomatoes at Drapers. Heading over there now. It's BLT season at our house.


Sal if you want to be a politician you need a reality check. I’ll guarantee you that if Willamina,Sheridan and Grand Ronde had a chance to have a full complement of Timber Industry jobs there would be celebration in the streets. I grew up there in a logging family in one of the most vibrant communities in the Northwest. What the Federal Government did to the Nortwest is atrocious. The reason they would welcome them is because they are jobs with living wage pay and benefits. Your so called “Tourism “ jobs are neither life sustaining or carry benefits except for a few. Alpine Street is and will be a joke till all the industrial property is bought out and that could be 40 years from now. Most of the people that have lived here as long as I have think it’s a waste of taxpayer money also. As far as crumbling roads it was paved right to the doorstep in 1973 when a family business was ran down there. So get your facts straight. If it turned to gravel and dirt the city was responsible. I’m down there doing things on Alpine 3 or 4 days a week and nobody uses it. The design is out of a horror movie and now you can’t pass two vehicles by one another. It was better before.


Seems like the railroad right-of-way would be put to a lot better use as a Hwy 47 bypass of downtown Carlton, rather than a bike path. Carlton has been trying to get rid of truck traffic downtown for years.. here's your sign.

Sal Peralta

As I said, Jim, nostalgia is not going to get rid of automation and what that means for timber, people with a current stake in the future success of the wat valley understand that this is not 1960. They will take what jobs they can get. We all will but you need to stop peddling in fantasies and thinking that communities can plan that way.

Sal Peralta

By the way, tomatoes are coming on at Draper farms. Peaches are excellent. They were very appreciative of the signage and communication from public works. Quit stirring up false controversy.

Sal Peralta

Regarding Alpine, anyone else remember what the ‘yes’ vote was on the bond that paid for it? Jim favors the will of the people scent when it outvotes him 2-1.


Sal does it make you nervous that somebody that has lived here for a long time might have a better pulse on the community than you? I’m not peddling fantasies on timber harvest . The government is going to have do something or the whole West Coast will burn up. As far as Drapers goes a local business owner called me and was concerned for them. I’ve lived here a lot longer than you and I’ve seen the good times and the bad in the county and McMinnville itself and it certainly isn’t the best of times right now. Spending money on Unicorns like a bike trail,flower beds on Hill Road and Alpine Avenue should have been put on hold till the city can figure out how to curb the homeless,the unkept parks, the theft and garbage thrown all over town. I’m done writing on this subject. The City Council of McMinnville and the County Commissioners of Yamhill County need to take care of the taxpayers and general public instead of catering to the special interest groups of small numbers and loud voices.

Sal Peralta

Jim, I think you'd be happier in rural Idaho.


Sal I like living right here. We just need some people to be held accountable. It’s not just here it’s rampant everywhere. Whether it’s business or government people have to make smart descions to keep things going in the right direction and I’m not seeing much of it here right now. If I didn’t want to see my grandchildren grow up safe and happy I probably would be like a lot of people who just don’t care. By the way there’s a lot of great people from Idaho I’ve rodeoed with and I could live there.

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