By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: A busy week with too many major issues

This week has been enough to make a pundit’s head explode.

The coronavirus scare wiped out two years of stock market gains, and threatens to inflict public health and economic devastation nationwide. It spreads like flu, but reportedly is 20 times more deadly with 2% mortality rates.

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

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In Oregon, Republican legislators abandoned their posts in Salem to stop imposition of untested cap and trade laws. Climate change alarmists, lacking any serious national commitment, are promoting disjointed state government actions with unintended financial consequences. Meanwhile, global warming deniers protest with levels of stridency I’ve never quite understood.

Democratic presidential candidates used their last debate this week to savage one another on the eve of an open primary in South Carolina. This week, at least, their overriding goal to defeat President Donald Trump melted away from the acidic power of egos run amok.

Locally, Oregon’s 1000 Friends organization became the epitome of reason and cooperation in wanting to help misguided McMinnville leaders take the right path to UGB expansion. It’s almost enough to make us forget about decades of radical actions that often drew scorching backlash from the public and in this newspaper.

One of our kinder commentaries came in 2011: “We don’t denigrate the group for pursuing its organizational philosophy in challenging land use decisions. We do, however, criticize a system that allows one-sided citizen groups to dominate the land use process.”

McMinnville city councilors are discussing how to approach 2020 urban growth boundary expansion strategies, and here’s some relevant information from city Planning Director Heather Richards: If the entire 1,200 acres needed for McMinnville to facilitate growth came solely from exclusive farm use lands, it would reduce the county’s inventory of EFU lands by just 0.6% -- that’s 6/10ths of 1%.

As Richards pointed out, Oregon’s UGB process “is complex, multi-layered, case law-rich, and not necessarily intuitive” … a system that favors appellants. Opposition, she told the council, “is focused on selective ideology to save farm and forest lands, and urban planning for livability is secondary.”

All told, it’s been a difficult and challenging week. There was another mass shooting, this time in Wisconsin. However, that barely qualifies as big news these days in an America with spiraling death rates from drugs, alcohol and suicide.

It was the kind of week in which you hope there is some inherent truth in these words from author/songwriter Charlotte Eriksson:

“When you think your life is falling apart, it’s usually falling together in disguise.”

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

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