Letters to the editor: Feb. 22, 2019

Lamenting a big loss

Our community will soon lose a remarkable medical resource. We are saying good-bye with sadness and gratitude to a surgeon who set the bar for top-quality care in his work with patients.

Dr. Michael Vessely contributed immeasurably to development of the Willamette Valley Medical Center’s Joint Replacement Institute. For those fortunate enough to count ourselves among his patients or their families, the institute has restored hope and mobility under his guidance.

Dr. Vessely became known for his medical expertise as well as his down-to-earth style of relating. Both local and out of the area patients benefited from his preparation, surgery and aftercare.

Whenever meeting someone fortunate enough to have been one of Dr. Vessely’s patients, spontaneous positive exchanges about the experience are common  Many are now hoping to follow Dr. Vessely wherever he may next land, while wishing he could, instead, have been able to continue in our own community.  

Jeff Dale & Diane Roelandt


Anne Reid & Peggy Miller


Greg & Michele Warner



Cap and invest a boon to all

I’ve appreciated recent letters to the editor about changing climate and the Clean Energy Jobs Bill presently before the state Legislature.

All of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest are affected by rising temperatures. To name just one effect, our consecutively hot, dry summers exacerbate forest fires and multiply the incidence of smoke-laden days. Add smoke to the toxic emissions coming from the major polluting industries and our health is compromised, especially for those of us with breathing problems.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival was shut down for a time last summer because of all the wildfire smoke, resulting in lost wages for the actors and workers and lost income from visitors and ticketholders.

Pollution costs us money, so why should polluters get away with paying nothing? We pay, but they don’t.

The money gained from the polluters will help foster new jobs and job training in the clean energy industry. It will be used to invest in solutions.

That’s written into the bill. This is not some new way to put money into the treasury.

California has a cap-and-invest strategy in place, and its agriculture economy has more than doubled. California leads the nation in manufacturing output, and its gasoline prices have actually decreased since cap and invest was implemented.

The Clean Energy Jobs Bill is good for you, me and all of Oregon.

Janet Langenwalter



A hand up, not a handout

The recent Hendricks Road and YCAP challenges showcase the dangerous situations the homeless can pose.

I was in Carlton the night of the Hendricks Road shooting incident. The number of first responders heading out that way indicated the situation was dangerous.

Now we have people fearing to go to YCAP because their personal health and safety will be in peril. What this means to me is both the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners and McMinnville City Council need to change their approach.

Clearly, there are not adequate laws or ordinances to protect the community from development of dangerous situations. Either that or the commissioners and councilors need to stop making bad decisions.

For example, the Westsider Trail concept is great, but it poses a danger to the community. Vagrants will camp along the trail, creating garbage dumps, open toilets and potentially hazing of trail walkers.

This is already happening in McMinnville and other parts of the county. We all see it.

All projects attractive to vagrants should be stopped until proven solutions are in place. That means the city and county both need to figure out how to get the vagrants out.

One key element commissioners and councilors need to establish is this: When people use YCAP or other government-funded homeless services, they perform work in return. If they receive free food, clothing or shelter, they mop the floor, clean the toilets, wash the sheets, clean up debris, wash windows and dispose of garbage in return, as payment for the service they received. Only the small group of people who truly can’t contribute get a pass.

We all need to remember that society exists because people contribute. The number of takers or freeloaders will be reduced only if they are also expected to contribute.

Commissioners and councilors, you need to show responsibility in your actions by demanded responsibility of others.

Steve Caldwell



Unruly dogs ruining park

We loved the McMinnville Dog Park, and had enjoyed meeting dogs and their owners there for years.

But after our wonderful dog Lexi died, a year passed before we had another dog and visited the park again. And we found it had changed dramatically.

Always before, owners were very careful about their dogs’ behavior. Now it seems there are many bringing unsocialized and potentially dangerous dogs.

No wonder we haven’t seen the usual crowd.

What can be done about this sad situation? How can we enforce the rules of the park without risking personal safety?

Nancy Isenburg



Immigration crisis

Consider this warning from President Nixon, issued July 18, 1969:

“One of the most serious challenges to human destiny in the last third of this century will be the growth of the population. Whether man’s response to that challenge will be a cause for pride or for despair in the year 2000 will depend very much on what we do today. If we now begin our work in an appropriate manner, and if we continue to devote a considerable amount of attention and energy to this problem, then mankind will be able to surmount this challenge as it has surmounted so many during the long march of civilization.

“When future generations evaluate the record of our time, one of the most important factors in their judgment will be the way in which we responded to population growth. Let us act in such a way that those who come after us — even as they lift their eyes beyond earth’s bounds — can do so with pride in the planet on which they live, with gratitude to those who lived on it in the past, and with continuing confidence in its future.

World population stood then at 3.5 billion. It stands now at 7.7 billion, and we are in crisis over mass immigration, both legal and illegal.

That was a primary factor in the election of President Trump, who said on Aug. 31, 2016: “This election ... is our last chance to secure the border, stop illegal immigration and reform our laws to make your life better.”

Last week, a spending bill was passed by supermajorities in both houses. It effectively legalizes previously illegal immigration.

Predictably, Oregon Sens. Merkley and Wyden and Reps. Blumenauer, Bonamici, DeFazio, Schrader and Walden all voted for this disgraceful bill.

It should have been vetoed and returned to Congress. It wasn’t, so we’re on our own.

Dan Katz



No easy out in housing crisis

Kudos to the News-Register for information on housing affordability. But it’s disappointing to see Randall Pozena’s one-sided guest commentary contending anti-sprawl land-use policy caused the crisis.

Pozdena presents a conclusion looking for validation, not a genuine study.

Oregon’s land-use program requires cities to provide adequate land for all types of housing, while limiting sprawl onto the farm and forestland that supports our local economy. He ignores the importance of maintaining these jobs and ignores the issue of wage stagnation, a key reason so many are stretched to afford housing.

ECONorthwest’s recent study, “Housing Underproduction in Oregon,” concludes infrastructure cost for more compact residential development is far less expensive than more land-consumptive development. But most of McMinnville’s residential land is zoned for detached single-family housing.

Allowing duplexes, triplexes and cottage clusters to share this land would allow older people to downsize in their own neighborhoods and younger people to use rental income to offset mortgage payments.

Affordable housing is a critical and complex problem. The relationship between planning and affordability is important, and should be part of any effort to address the current crisis. But there are multiple causes, defying simple solution.

Pozdena suggests responding with more sprawl and revamped transportation finance. In that, he is defining the solution as narrowly as he did the problem.

Simplistic answers don’t give this topic the respect it deserves.

Our land-use planning has made a meaningful difference. We grow while protecting farms and forestland. After all, Yamhill County’s wine industry wouldn’t exist were it not for the Oregon land-use program.

Good planning helps provide affordable housing, but it’s just one of many factors. Finding real solutions requires an intelligent analysis of all the causes.

This commentary didn’t do justice to either planning or affordable housing.

Marilyn Worrix




I can only echo those comments in the letter lamenting the loss of Dr. Vessely. He was fellowship trained and a pioneer in many of the modern techniques in taking care of total joint patients. Not only did he elevate the level of patient care in McMinnville, Dr. Vessely also cared deeply about his patients and the staff that worked with him at the hospital. I felt honored to be part of the team taking care of his patients at the hospital.

Don Dix

Marilyn Worrix -- I don't know when you became involved with the friends of YC, but the history of the group has been appeal after appeal to Mac's UGB proposal. The state mandated a 20 year inventory of buildable land. Those 20 years had nearly expired during all those appeals, which not only cost considerable city funds (to defend the city's plan), but also raised the price of available, buildable land (inflation factor, supply and demand).

The 'multiple causes' of the housing crisis do include land use laws, no way around it. The law of unintended consequences has found it's way to the friend's doorstep, and it was predicted. Take credit where it applies, but also own the negative effects.

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