Letters to the editor: Feb. 14, 2020

Clearing up misconceptions

I was the person who contacted the News-Register about the listing for a property that had been used to produce child pornography. I read the article’s online comments and wanted to respond to misperceptions.

First, I’m not suing the listing agent, nor am I suing to recover the cost of my trip. I decided to go public because Windermere West LLC refused to disclose material facts as required under ORS 93.275(1)(b). If a property is involved in criminal activity adversely affecting the title, it must be disclosed.

The property is listed on Zillow as a foreclosure. At $684,805, it’s not a steal, but is below market.

I assumed a bank had taken possession and was selling to recover unpaid debt. I was unaware the federal government had seized the property and obtained title in a criminal forfeiture.

The listing agent did not disclose that. He did disclose the well was underperforming, but I decided it was still worth the trip.

On arrival, my agent and I discovered the caption of a federal case posted on the door. I used to be a federal prosecutor, so recognized it was criminal in nature.

I searched the U.S. District Court database and found the case. The property was forfeited because it had been used for sexual exploitation of minors and production of child pornography.

When I Googled the prior owner, I found he had allegedly drugged, raped and abused women and children there. Had the listing agent disclosed this, I would not have considered the property.

When I e-mailed Windermere to complain, the principal broker responded that by posting a caption on the front door, Windermere had provided notice, that it was my agent’s responsibility to research the case and notify the client.

I realize some people might be willing to buy a home where women and children had been raped and abused, but I’m not one of them.

Bob Scales

Bainbridge Island, WA


Job-destroying legislation

Thank you, state legislators.

I am seeing massive bills being introduced in a short session, which was only supposed to be utilized for budgetary fixes and bills that needed tweaks.

These are bills that need robust conversations, have 90 pages of amendments, lack bi-partisanship, affect many families and companies. They should not be limited to one or two hearings, nor should some of our state legislators be shut out of these discussions.

I applaud Sen. Brian Boquist and Rep. Ron Noble for standing up for us for their constituents and saying NO to partisan and aggressive legislation — legislation that will destroy thousands of jobs and potentially kick 36,000 children out of school.

I applaud them as well for being one of few introducing bipartisan legislation addressing issues of true crisis in our state — foster care, family reunification and housing. Our family is grateful to them for their work.

Brittany Ruiz



Too tightly packed

As someone who has lived in McMinnville all his life and cares about our town, I am concerned about the direction the planning department is taking.

The department has approved a development of 280 houses and 120 apartments called Baker Creek North. But according to McMinnville’s comprehensive plan, the highest density should be close to the downtown core, whereas this planned development is two miles out.

If this development is approved as it stands, and built out over the next five to six years, it will increase the traffic on Baker Creek Road by more than 80%. People living on Baker Creek will have difficulty making a left turn onto the road during peak traffic hours.

The McMinnville Transportation System Plan clearly states density should be reduced on the west side because there are only three arterials connecting to Highway 99W. But the developer wants to build densely-packed cookie-cutter houses like those presently being built in Baker Creek West, at Baker Creek’s intersection with Hill Road.

I know the city councilors care about our town. That’s why they are giving so much of their personal time.

However, I think they are being pressured by the developer and planning department to approve this high-density plan.

If you care about our town as much as I do, please call, visit or e-mail our councilors, mayor or city manager before the scheduled March 10 vote. Let them know your thoughts on this development.

As a team, we can make this a better-thought-out project for McMinnville.

Scott Larsen



All about community

I’m writing to express my gratitude to the 400 people who attended TEDxMcMinnville Jan. 25, and to the executive committee, sponsors and volunteers.

I moved to McMinnville with my husband and our two kids last summer. On our first trip to Roth’s, I spotted a flier on the bulletin board soliciting speaker applications for TEDxMcMinnville, due that night.

I worked into the wee hours on my application and was excited to be accepted a few weeks later. The real prize, however, was the chance not just to take the stage, but to be part of the TEDxMcMinnville community.

The executive committee, led by the Visit McMinnville team, convened us early and often — for a potluck dinner, a full-day workshop and rehearsals. The cohort and resources for preparation were invaluable, and far exceeded the support available for my previous TED and TEDx talks. But I was even more grateful for the chance to connect with my fellow speakers about their “ideas worth spreading,” as TED’s tagline goes, because they helped me get to know my new hometown.

In hearing about Matt Brisbin’s experiment eliminating grades in his McMinnville High School classes, I came to appreciate the challenges that Mac students and educators face. In getting to know Cinthia Manuel and her powerful lessons about mentoring, I learned about the Latino community in Woodburn. And so on for the rest of our stellar line-up.

At the event itself, the energy from the audience was like a giant hug.

Check out the talks on TEDxMcMinnville.com when they’re posted in the coming weeks. You’ll find 10 ideas truly worth spreading.

But what I will cherish most about the experience is the glue between the presentations — this wonderful community that I am now proud to call home.

Christine Bader



Taking personal responsibility

I attended the Feb. 7 presentation by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof, wherein they discussed their newly published book, “Tightrope.” I only recently read their earlier book, “Half the Sky,” and it was wonderful.

Obviously, we in Yamhill County can be proud of Nicholas, and the fact he and Sheryl have not forgotten us. They are highly educated, intelligent and compassionate world travelers, and very gifted speakers.

Did anyone notice their solutions to problems in America, among them substance abuse, the dropout rate, teen pregnancy, a high imprisonment rate, child neglect and abuse, homelessness and lack of early childhood education?

Almost every one involved government or government-subsidized programs. They recommended new programs in support services and education, almost all dependent on government funding.

I personally agreed with almost every solution they suggested. It did, however, surprise me that they failed to mention available solutions, supported by statistical data, that would not cost the government or taxpayer any money.

Unequivocal Christian and non-Christian research shows social ills are less prevalent in homes where both parents are present, regular church attendance, prayer and/or Bible-reading are practiced, meals are regularly eaten around a dinner table, and all people are valued. Reading to children from birth to age 5 also shows great benefit in reducing social ills, and education tends to be valued and encouraged in such homes.

Sometimes solutions to social problems lie in each of us personally taking responsibility for our own sphere of living.

Byron Shenk, Ph.D

Retired teacher, McMinnville


Repeating history?

In the twentieth century, China, Russia and Germany killed more than 125 million of their own citizens. All three were socialist governments and all three disarmed their citizens first.

Considering the liberal goals of socialism and disarmament in the U.S., remember this: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Rich Roberts


Not our way forward

Under current law, legal aliens must be deported if they commit an “aggravated felony” or “crime of moral turpitude.” That provides a prison-to-deportation pipeline for legal aliens convicted of heinous crimes.

For all the faults of our immigration system, this is a positive feature. It supports public safety.

Who would argue that aliens convicted of heinous crimes should be immune from deportation? And that aliens previously deported for crimes, no matter how outrageously evil, should be returned at taxpayer expense? And that illegal entry into our country should be decriminalized. And that even those guilty of falsifying a passport should be exempt from deportation?

Who, indeed? Well, for starters, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the Democrat from Oregon’s 3rd District — one of 43 co-sponsors of HR 5383, dubbed The New Way Forward Act.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia, Democrat from Illinois. All 43 of his cosponsors are fellow Democrats, including the so-called squad of four — freshman Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

The New Way Forward Act mandates a U-turn in the prison-to-deportation pipeline. That means, by law, redirecting the full-on pipeline of criminal aliens now flowing out of our country back in.

In fact, no crime would require deportation, not even rape or murder. That reflects an utter contempt for public safety.

Public safety is the supreme law by which we judge all other laws. Therefore, by any measure, The New Way Forward Act is a bad bill.

I don’t know whether this bill will become law. And I don’t know whether it enjoys the support of our own 1st District congresswoman, Democrat Suzanne Bonamici.

But the record shows that Blumenauer is a cosponsor. And that’s sufficient for Oregonians in District 3 to vote their supercilious representative out of office.

Dan Katz



Local flotilla

For more than 40 years, there has been a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla active in McMinnville.

Members consist of volunteers who undergo training to provide many types of support to the active duty Coast Guard. Members do all the things active duty Coast Guardsmen do, with the exception of law enforcement and combat.

You may say, why have a Coast Guard auxiliary so far from the coast? In fact, the Coast Guard has active stations all over the United States, not just on ocean fronts.

We are a uniformed service, operating within the Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security.

Members teach boating safety, navigation, GPS use, communications and so forth. They work with the Oregon Marine Board and other agencies, assisting with their programs.

The McMinnville flotilla patrols the upper Willamette River and Henry Hagg Lake. It assists other flotillas, teaches water safety in the schools and conducts vessel safety checks.

Dean Wimer  

McMinnville Commodore