By editorial board • 

Hooting and hollering don't solve anything

The last two McMinnville City Council meetings have turned into something like “The Jerry Springer Show,” because some people believe being upset excuses them from basic manners. Anger over the state of homlessness in the city have caused some to forget lessons taught in kindergarten on how to behave in public.

It was particularly disturbing that children were in the audience at the April 23 meeting. Instead of serving as role models, the adults provided them with a very poor civics lesson.

They heckled and interrupted councilors. They took bows after delivering their testimony. Supporters in the audience hooted, cheered and clapped approval, even though they were there to complain about other people’s bad behavior.

The “other people” are those suffering from homelessness, now endemic in McMinnville, as it has throughout the West Coast. They are living visibly in tents along Fourth Street, and tents or RVs along Dustin Court and Marsh Lane. Less visible are the hundreds of homeless people out of sight.

Many of the housed among us have expressed anger and frustration with city officials for not immediately getting the homeless off the street. We agree action is needed, but also recognize councilors are not just sitting on their hands

The council passed an ordinance on Aug. 28 that bans camping on public property. However, it was stymied by a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision declaring such bans unconstitutional.

Amateur attorneys with 30 minutes of legal expertise, courtesy of Google, say there are ways around that ruling. Perhaps that’s true, but there is a mountain of other case law that makes immediate solutions impossible.

Emotions are running high, which is understandable. It’s a serious problem.

However, we need to address the issue as civilized adults who can reason together. Declaration of a public health emergency, proposed by Councilor Sal Peralta, might be a good start.

Hooting and hollering is not. It’s obstreperous and infantile.

The April 9 council meeting was less raucous, but some of the 200 people who packed the chambers still found it hard to maintain decorum.

They applauded vigorously whenever someone demanded the homeless be evicted forthwith. When actual homeless people spoke, silence.

It took a great deal of courage for people already on the margins of society to speak before such a hostile audience.

Residents complain of feeling intimidated. Perhaps they could muster the empathy to imagine how the homeless feel. At a minimum, they should appreciate the difference between a public meeting and a football game.

Yes, homeless people sometimes display troubling and intimidating behavior, disrespecting the rights others.

That’s because they often suffer from mental illness and/or addiction. What’s the excuse for the rest of us?


Bill B

or; "Doin nothing, don't solve anything"


I went through the South in the 1960s. Crowds of "good" people jeering and siccing dogs on innocent people trying to take their children to school. They were "Doin something". Behaving that way doesn't exactly show "goodness" of the folks shouting and egging their dogs to attack. Just as shouting and raising hell in a public meeting doesn't show anything but rudeness.

Bill B

Dear "Editorial Board"; When did you become an expert in the law;

"Perhaps that’s true, but there is a mountain of other case law that makes immediate solutions impossible."

In whose opinion?


Oh boy.

The NR editorial board and their holier than thou attitude again.

I’ll show sympathy when addicts choose treatment. I will support that. But choosing to be vagrants is not okay. Amateur writing from reporters supporting criminal lifestyles is not helpful either. Neither is condescending, hypocritical fluff pieces belittling their subscribers when the vast majority of their subscribers are done with this.

Mike, seriously?

You’re comparing criminal behavior to the civil rights movement?

Um kay.


Hootin' and hollerin' is what good people do when their elected officials are not listenin' and not doin' nothin'.
Where has the Mayor been in all this? We rarely hear anything from him mentioned in these articles in the NR. Time for him to step up and provide some strong leadership.

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