By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: 2019: That was the year that is!

Highlights of 2019 will become their own Year in Review, merge into stories about the end of a decade, and slowly fade into extended histories of a generation and more.

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Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Midway through the year, we can begin to see how 2019 will be remembered.

This year could start a final chapter of the storied Evergreen saga that opened with a small, 1950s crop-dusting operation. The spectacular crash of that international airline company left a legacy museum that became the backdrop for an equally stunning series of bankruptcies. As 2019 advances toward closure, a mysterious “Buyer X” is rumored to have altruistic plans to rescue and expand the once magnificent museum campus.

2019 became the year when burgeoning homeless camping collided with the end of McMinnville community tolerance for that unsightly version of urban sprawl. Time will determine if the lives of street people improve or are merely swept away to other locations.

It has been a year of changing leadership.

Linfield and Chemeketa Community colleges have new presidents. Yamhill County has a new commissioner, administrator and judge. We see new principals at McMinnville and Yamhill-Carlton high schools, a new Amity city administrator, a new director of the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership, and a leadership shakeup in Dayton schools on the heels of voter approval for an $11 million bond.

The year has been marked by political chaos at all levels: Congressional gridlock and talk of presidential impeachment; the controversial Oregon Senate walkout that achieved one goal before submitting to the tyranny of a super majority; a turbulent year for McMinnville government as residents reacted to actions involving growth, homelessness, land use and building codes.

McMinnville completed the Hill Road development, started work on Northwest Neighborhood Park and launched its 2032 Economic Development Strategic Plan. District 40 nears completion of its huge renovation/expansion program. Mac Water & Light moved forward on a tri-city water agreement with Carlton and Lafayette. The West Valley Visioning Project is underway. Countywide, fire district consolidation is either reality or in various stages of discussion.

Mingled with all the upheavals, we have experienced a tragic continuation of violent and sexual crimes and convictions. Drug-driven or otherwise spawned, the prevalence of vicious human behavior is a regrettable local trend. Still, the Yamhill Valley endures as a dynamic and fulfilling place to live, work, play and raise families.

And so, that was the year that was … and still is.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

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