Letters to the editor: July 26, 2019

Global reforestation

Now that the threat of cap and trade for a non-industrial state like Oregon is over — for now — I propose something our state could do to measurably reduce global atmospheric CO2.

A recent story in Scientific American, titled “Massive Forest Restoration Could Greatly Slow Global Warming,” described how a global reforestation effort could absorb two-thirds of all the CO2 humans have generated since the Industrial Revolution in 100 years or less.

My understanding is that state law forces landowners to leave many burn areas fallow and refuses to engage in thinning and other tools to manage forests in a manner preventing them from becoming tinderboxes in the summer.

If human-caused global warming is a real threat, this makes little sense in regard to atmospheric CO2. These environmental rules should be re-evaluated with global CO2 levels in mind.

When forests burn, they release CO2 back into air. With no replanting, there are no trees to then pull CO2 back out of the atmosphere for decades to come.

The amount of global carbon is actually a constant, as chemical equations must balance. What we are talking about is how much is in the atmosphere, in the form of CO2, at any one time.

We need to replant in these and other viable areas, while maintaining our forests with climate change in mind, to guard against out-of-control forest fires in the summer. Unless the wood decomposes or burns, the carbon remains sequestered, even after harvest.

The proposed cap and trade bill was designed in a manner that dramatically increased Oregonian’s tax burden. It could have been made revenue-neutral, but was not. And it would have done little to nothing to actually reduce global CO2.

We should leverage our state’s strength, its forestry potential, benefiting the planet while also boosting our economy.

Robert Wilson



Nothing to celebrate

Tuesday’s News-Register featured a front-page headline, “June completes a banner building year in McMinnville,” as if this were a proud accomplishment. In my opinion, this is a tragedy, perhaps even a scandal.

McMinnville’s city council and planning commission have essentially sold out our community to developers, giving them carte  blanche to inflict unfettered construction on us in the name of progress. Their operating philosophy seems to be, “We have space; we need to fill it.”

Growth and change are good, but only when accomplished slowly, thoughtfully, and in moderation. There is nothing slow or moderate about the level of growth and change being inflicted on McMinnville today. As for thoughtful, the logic used seems inexplicable. 

Hotels build downtown without adequate provision for parking. Developments ripple through neighborhoods without regard to residents.

Row upon row of new homes -- affordable only for those with jobs outside McMinnville, thus catering to commuters -- sprawl across farm fields and wetlands. And the city is spending large amounts of tax money for the infrastructure required to enable such rapid growth.

At this rate, McMinnville will quickly resemble growth-bloated Hillsboro, which lacks charm and livability.

I make no charges and have no evidence, but have to wonder if individuals in city government might be benefiting personally from the staggering amount of development and construction they are authorizing.

Perhaps the best type of change for our community would be one in city leadership. More sanity and restraint might save us from ourselves.

Ken Dollinger



It’s your money

At the last city council meeting, I was again effectively barred from making any public comments.

This time, they scheduled the public comments after the public hearings and ordinance readings. So the meeting, held in front of a packed house, dragged on into the witching hour.

By 11:45, I had had enough and left the scene of the crime. By then, most others had also left.

I wanted to comment on the city’s implementation of a sewer rate hike feeding into the general fund, which is rally a tax on all of us. I wanted to argue the legality of taxes levied without the consent of the governed. 

Apparently, we left the back door open, and the city brazenly seized the opportunity to impose this back-door tax. I responded by sending a letter to Rep. Ron Noble asking that he seek a ruling from Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on its legality.

Whether or not she responds in a timely fashion is not important, as it now seems moot.

In 2011, two utility ratepayers retained prominent Portland attorney John DiLorenzo to file suit against the city of Portland for doing the same thing. A settlement reached in 2017 cost the city $10 million, plus $3.3 million to cover fees incurred by DiLoenzo’s law firm. 

If the city of McMinnville continues on its current reckless course, it too will be held liable. It too will incur legal damages.

But heck, what do our city officials care? After all, it’s not their money. It’s your money.

Dan Hilbert



Don Dix

Robert Wilson -- The Oregon government is constantly looking for more money, not simple and effective solutions -- trees don't pay taxes. With all the 'best and brightest' so involved in finding new reasons to raise taxes and fees, glaringly, there's little room for common sense.

Next election, remember 'who' has perennially been making 'snatch and run' attempts on your wallet. The 'who' won't stop or go away unless Oregon voters send a message and force them off the government dole.