Letters to the Editor: Nov. 23, 2018

Same ol’, same ol’

I’ve heard and observed some pretty horrific stuff going on with Oregon’s child welfare system. It borders on crimes against humanity.

The county wants to reform delivery of child welfare services and the state responds with the usual rhetoric: Let’s hold a meeting with stakeholders and discuss it.

In a recent article, the county says the system is broken and needs rebuilding. The state, however, puts the problem on foster homes.

How many stakeholders are going to reform themselves out of a paycheck? What child welfare services unit is going to reform itself out of FTEs?

What’s needed is for the system to hire competent professional masters-level social workers and provide the support those social workers need to do a best-efforts job. In other words, make it a bottom-up organization instead of top-down.

Like that’s going to happen!

The ones at the top (Silas and so forth) are too comfortable in their positions, and too removed, to know what’s needed. After all, they arrived there the hard way — by kissing up.

The Legislature knows nothing at all — nothing, zero, zip — about social work. We need to get the state and the “steak-holders” out of the process, invite the public and disinterested third parties to analyze the needs, and recommend patches to fix the good o’l boy system.

As it is today, the child welfare system is abusive to children and their foster parents. Get the state out of the mix!

Sheila Hunter



City not doing enough

As described in Jeff Knapp’s Oct. 26 Viewpoints cover piece, “Booming tourism spells economic opportunity,” the Visit McMinnville group Mr. Knapp leads has done an excellent job in promoting tourism in McMinnville. However, while this sounds like a good thing for the community, and generally is, it’s exacerbating the affordable housing crisis we are facing.

Most of the tourists are housed in traditional commercial lodgings, but a number of houses in the community have been converted to vacation rentals and some apartments have been upgraded to serve the tourist trade. That serves to displace community residents with visitors willing to pay more. And replacing these residences with new housing stock is always more expensive, thus less affordable to those displaced.

In Mr. Knapp’s May 22 presentation to the city council, he said 1,700 tourism-related jobs had generated $36 million in employee earnings in 2017.

This represents about $21,000 a year per job, about the same number the McMinnville Economic Opportunities Analysis came up with five years ago for this type of employment. At that income level, no one can find an affordable rental, let alone start down the path to home ownership.

During the past two city budget cycles, I have unsuccessfully requested the city allocate its share of lodging tax proceeds — 70 percent is dedicated to funding Visit McMinnville and 30 percent goes into the city’s general fund — to affordable housing. If we are going to promote the tourism industry in McMinnville, we also need to do something to promote the construction of housing for the hard-working people who service the tourism industry.

Mark Davis




Sheila Hunter is absolutely correct. Oregon's child welfare system is an outrage.

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