By editorial board • 

Four local issues made headlines all decade long

On Tuesday, the News-Register will publish its Top 10 Stories of 2019. Each year, the news staff decides the list by gauging reader interest, number of stories, largest impact and other factors.

With the advent of a new decade next week, we considered what top stories of the 2010s might look like. While it would be tricky to determine a list of 10, there were four issues that clearly would appear at the top of the list:

n The decade began on a high note at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. The Wings & Waves Waterpark opened in 2011, and further expansion, including an adventure park, chapel and hotel, were announced soon after. 

Then Del Smith’s for-profit empire across the highway came crashing down. The demise of Evergreen International Aviation resulted in years of bankruptcy proceedings and legal quagmires involving the nonprofit museum’s landlords. It seemed in 2016 the museum could finally focus on its future when two separate entities purchased parts of the campus. However, it turned out one of the new landlords, Steve Downs’ Falls Event Center, was not the knight and shining armor as he first appeared. His company’s own string of bankruptcies led to more uncertainty about the future of the museum. 

Late this year, a new buyer emerged and met with museum approval. The purchase has yet to be finalized. 

Together, all the angles of the Evergreen saga made eight Top 10 appearances in the decade.

n Also making eight Top 10s in the decade was stories tied to the fallout of the Great Recession. “Hard times ripple through economy” and “Bad economy likely to linger” were our top stories of 2010 and 2011, respectively. Improvements were seen as the decade continued, jobs were added and local construction returned to normal, at times increased rates. 

But the effects of the Great Recession continued. Any positive signs of economic growth continued to be matched with terms like “shaky” or “uncertainty.” 

And then the homeless crises reached a public pinning throughout the West Coast. In McMinnville, it started with downtown “behavior,” then RV clusters on the outskirts of town, before a huge encampment in the industrial park caused both massive public uproar and calls for sympathy and solutions.

n At one point, the idea of the Newberg-Dundee Bypass seemed like a pipe dream. But in 2012, as scaled back version of the bypass, called Phase 1, finally got the green light. The bypass consistently made headlines throughout its constructions process. In early 2017, locals finally got to celebrate and then drive on Oregon’s largest new highway project in decades. By that time advocates were already hard at work  securing support and finances for Phases 2 and 3. 

n A decade-plus of Texas-based Waste Management’s bid to expand Riverbend Landfill may be seen as a David v. Goliath scenario. But David never had such a tool like the Oregon land-use process. 

Landfill opponents battled big business with court appeals. Waste Management many neighborly olive branches throughout the decade, but what local support it had for expansion slowly dwindled. The City of McMinnville said, “not in my backyard,” and diverted its waste to another state instead of the landfill next door. As 2010s concludes, odds of an expansion seem to be a very long shot, at best. 


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