Letters to the editor: Feb. 15, 2019

State control not the answer

About a year ago, three of my tenants came to me with concerns about one of the other apartments.

Cars would drive up. Someone would get out, go in for a few minutes, come out and leave. This would happen over and over.

They all knew what was going on: The tenants in that apartment were selling drugs.

One of the complaining tenants was a retired and widowed schoolteacher. The other two had families with young children. They were all good people who just wanted a quiet, safe place to live without having to worry about drug dealers.

No one could prove what was going on in that apartment, but everyone knew. The solution was simple — a no-cause eviction.

You have to protect your good tenants or they will leave and you will be left with nothing but the drug dealers.

When I took over these apartments some years ago, the police were in there every week. Over time, I got rid of the problems, leaving with a tenant list I can be proud of.

But Oregon’s Democrat-controlled Legislature is now pushing through SB 608, which would institute a statewide rent control system. It would eliminate no-cause eviction, the only tool we have for getting rid of drug dealers.

Rent control is not new. It forces landlords out of the business, creating a housing shortage serving to drive rents higher and pressure units of governments into becoming landlords themselves.

The price of housing is set by the demand. If you want affordable housing, tell your Democratic leaders to ease off on their restrictive land use laws and exorbitant building and development fees.

That way, the problem will take care of itself. Otherwise, Oregon may someday look like New York City.

Craig Pubols



Greening our schools

As a member of Zero Waste McMinnville, I recently had the opportunity to tour three certified green schools in Corvallis. They are among more than 200 recognized by the Oregon Green Schools organization, and it was an inspiring experience.

The Corvallis School District has made a commitment to its schools and community by including sustainability in its master plan.

The district is paying one staff member at each school to serve as a sustainability steward. The steward assists with green efforts on campus and functions as a liaison with district headquarters.

Each school also has a green team in place. It consists of students taking turns at the decidedly unglamorous job of helping others correctly dispose of waste and positively engaging those resisting direction.

These are leaders in the making. They are part of a growing awareness that needs to be encouraged.

We contacted the McMinnville District 40 office to see what we could do to certify some green schools here. We were told the district would consider instituting a program in the spring of 2020.

Let’s do what we can to ensure this happens.

Interested parents, teachers or other citizens can voice their support to administrators at either the neighborhood school or district office level. We believe our future, and our children’s feature, depends on it. 

June Coe



Modeling good behavior

In reading Corena Killian’s Viewpoints cover piece in the Feb. 2 News Register, I was struck by a couple of points. Foremost is the desensitization of our society to trash and the other is a concern for the children now growing up in that environment.

In thinking about being an example for our next generation, I remember a parenting researcher saying that modeling is the most powerful tool parents have. We can all lead by example, because those little eyes voraciously watch.

Do we always pick up our wrappers and recycle cans when on the go? Using cloth napkins at home, bringing that personal water bottle or coffee cup with us when we are traveling seem achievable steps to deal with trash. These actions demonstrate our commitment more than any words can do.

About not seeing trash anymore, again modeling and participation can do wonders. When I was teaching, I remember a regular clean-up day.

One Friday each month — we all hoped for a sunny one — teachers, students, aides, custodians and the principal all dragged black plastic bags outside. We collected the drifting debris and observed the improvement.

Students raced around to find the largest pieces of litter, and we challenged them to find the smallest as well. I had good feelings those days, as the kids saw adults demonstrate our beliefs in taking care of our school community.

Let’s all step up with Ms. Killian and take our place as we model healthy attitudes toward our shared home of McMinnville.

Pat Angland



Justice not served

The sentencing of Jennifer Weathers  to five days in jail for her role in the death of her daughter, Meighan Cordie, is almost certainly inadequate given the circumstances. The most innocent crimes that can be inferred from the provable facts are gross criminal negligence in driving drunk and then failing to promptly report Cordie missing. The simple fact that the perpetrator led people to believe her daughter had disappeared on Grand Island rather than Foster Road in Dayton suggests she was trying to conceal evidence of more serious crimes. There is ample evidence to question Weathers’ allegation that Cordie fell or jumped from the backseat of a moving car.

All modern cars have child safety locks on the rear doors to prevent young children from opening the door from the inside. Most parents and grandparents of young children activate those locks and routinely leave them activated. How could Cordie, riding beside a young daughter strapped into a car seat, have fallen or jumped when it probably would have been necessary for her to roll down the window to reach the external latch? There is also ample physical evidence, primarily clumps of hair in the car, to confirm the argument between the two drunken women had become a physical fight.

When and where did that fight occur, on Grand Island or in Dayton? Did it escalate to threats involving weapons? Is it possible Cordie felt compelled to jump from the car, abandoning her daughter, because her mother was threatening her with a gun or threatening to crash the car? None of the answers to these questions are knowable. What is knowable is that the bizarre circumstances of this case prevented the judge from imposing a sentence appropriate for the crime.

James Crawford



Save the deferrals

HB 2152, now under consideration in Salem, would sunset tax deferrals on timberland, making the land and timber subject to full taxation annually instead of  deferring payment until harvest.

We own 45 acres of two- to 25-year-old fir under forest deferral outside McMinnville. The oldest of our trees won’t be ready for harvest for 20 to 40 years.

Under existing law, we can afford to maintain our forest in good health and earn enough at harvest to pay the deferred taxes. If we must pay the full tax each year, we will have less money to manage our timber properly.

Well-managed forests provide clean air, water and habitat, serve as carbon sinks for greenhouse gases, and become more resistant to massive wildland fires.

Landowners who must pay taxes decades before they earn any money for their efforts may lack enough cash for essential equipment and expertise. They may conclude keeping the land in forest isn’t worth the cost.

I served on the Committee for Family Forestlands, tasked with advising the Board of Forestry about small woodland matters. I currently serve on the board of our local Oregon Small Woodlands Association chapter.

I have talked to many of Oregon’s 44,000 small forest landowners, and many are only one illness or divorce or big tax bill away from having to sell. If Oregon’s small forest owners are forced to sell, the pressure to convert the land to housing, strip malls and industrial uses will intensify.

Our small forests sit at the edges of towns and fields, where they are often available to the public for hiking, hunting and other recreation. If we lose these lands, something great and wonderful will be lost to all of us.

Please ask your representative to save the deferral program.

Susan Watkins



Don Dix

Susan Watkins -- Oregon's legislature is simply described as thus -- A super majority of Ds, whose only focus is to find any avenue to extract more money from the public. Gov. Brown hid her agenda until the election was complete, obviously because exposure of the plan could cause Oregonians to vote against her party's entrants.

There is a good chance (by election totals) that many voters simply voted party lines, and now that strategy comes back to bite those asses that did so.

Sooner or later, all politics become local. Small woodland owners are just another 'victim' of the state's declared desire to spend aimlessly. And if one voted D down the ballot, the obvious reminder is -- elections matter!

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