By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: All of your stories become ‘our story’

Late-night images of downtown McMinnville this week were spectacular and eerie.


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

> See his column

Third Street was bathed in brightness and shadows from street lamps and striking arrays of tree lights. From railroad tracks to the library, the urban roadway scene contained no people, no vehicles, no sign of life whatsoever.

My reaction was awe mixed with sadness at the huge impact of this pandemic-induced crisis. A peaceful scene put a brief pause to overwhelming events of the day.

Images of the week flew through my mind like a View-Master slide show. Face-timing with grandkids; night visits to a deserted office to collect mail and scan documents; talking to my neighbor from 15 feet away; hours of mind-numbing television news; comforting talks with family and friends; difficult times with co-workers as we all struggle for answers, or even to understand the questions; thinking about frailties and wonders of life.

That was my story this week: Like sitting on a desert island with tons of technology and a tsunami headed your way, hoping some kind of Moses will divide the seas in your favor.

You can share your own story through a new feature at, prominently displayed as “Tell us your Story.” Here’s the opening language on that page:

“Some normal communications channels are faltering or overloaded during the COVID-19 outbreak. Your reports — your stories — can help us better inform, and better connect, our community.

“Send us your stories about real experiences with the COVID-19 crisis; tell us how you are coping with the immediate life changes; tell us how things are working, or not working. Tell us human-interest stories about the support and kindnesses of others. Give us, and others, your advice.”

All submissions will be read and considered as we continue publication of our community newspaper. We will call to confirm newsworthy information and vignettes, and treat all stories as confidential pending permission to publish.

The greater value might be your personal experience of writing it down, crystallizing your own thoughts and priorities, fears and strengths.

For now, the newspaper continues both in print and online. A federal stimulus program offers hope, even as immediate realities bode ill for so many.

It’s said, repeatedly, that we are all in this together. One thing I know is that everyone will forever remember how they responded to the COVID-19 crisis.

And that, in absolutely, will be our story.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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