Letters to the editor: July 31, 2020

Missing an opportunity

We have recently adopted McMinnville, after living in Minnesota for more than 30 years. This is an extraordinary part of the country and we feel so blessed to now call it home.

Yet, we are truly at a loss over the current argument regarding the Yamhelas Westsider Trail.

In Minnesota, there are many miles of dedicated biking, jogging and walking trails along converted rail lines. Many converted rail trails in Minnesota run through farmland, providing benefits to the local communities.

They attract tourists. They promote economic growth. They promote a healthy lifestyle.

They take cars off the road. More than half of Minnesota is agricultural. Trail users weave through the bread basket of America and get along well with farmers.

We expected a similar experience here in Oregon. With national attention as a bike-friendly state, we were excited to learn about the pending trail.

Converted trails provide a safe space for transportation alternatives. They can be used for commuting, for promoting healthy living, for promoting business and economic development, for lowering the carbon footprint, for fostering community beautification, and more. We envision this happening here in Yamhill County.

The fear-based argument that the Yamhelas Westsider Trail would inhibit farmers from usual farming practices creates concern about transparency. What is more harmful to people and the environment, trail users or pesticides?

Farmers have an opportunity to engage with those on the path: Educate those passers-by, sell products from their farms and enjoy the bounty of community beautification. Community and inclusion. It can be a wonderful thing.

Yamhill County, you are missing a terrific opportunity to bring enormous good fortune and community involvement to our backyard. We hope you’ll recognize the chance to enhance an already beautiful area.

Liesl & Phil Forve



Drawing the line            

I am now a one-issue voter.

The issue? Freedom from unwanted vaccination.

That means adults being free to accept or reject any vaccination. And it includes the freedom to accept or reject any vaccination for minor children.

If you’re running for office, you must proclaim freedom from unwanted vaccination, or else I won’t vote for you. It’s that simple.

Dan Katz



Moral relativism

It is difficult for a nation which has embraced moral relativism to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil. 

And without such boundaries in place, evil can subtly take over.

One of the worst of national evils occurs when a country embraces the unscientific belief that a certain segment of the human race is less than human, and therefore it’s all right to kill them. 

This mindset prevailed in Hitler’s Germany during the last century, and it resulted in the extermination of 6 million Jews. In this country, it has resulted in the extermination of 60 million unborn children. 

The killing continues at the rate of 2,300 a day. Our collective conscience has yet to comprehend the enormity of this crime against humanity.

The Bible says, “Plead for those who have no voice and deliver those who are destined to destruction.”

Susan Paz



Justice and liberty

I want to take us back to 1797.

England is at war with France again, and the authorities are cracking down on domestic dissent. Alarmed at their heavy-handed tactics, renowned poet William Wordsworth wrote these lines:

“In their weapons and their warfare base/

As vermin working out of reach, they leagued/

Their strength perfidiously, to undermine/

Justice, and make an end of Liberty”

These words came to mind when President Trump deployed camouflaged border patrol agents to Portland.

Their heavy-handed tactics — teargassing a peaceful crowd of demonstrators and yanking folks off the street into unmarked cars — are the methods of a police state. That cannot stand.

I agree heartily with Preston Henry’s call to vote Trump out of office. It may be the only peaceful way to preserve justice and liberty in our land.

Robert Mason



Mayhem must stop

I am becoming more outraged by the day.

The anarchists have co-opted public outcry over the murder of George Floyd. Now they are even using lasers against law enforcement officers protecting public property.

You can see the lasers being directed at the officers in a lot of the videos of the so-called peaceful protests. Sadly, it appears some of the officers protecting our federal buildings in Portland have suffered eye injuries. Many seem to forget that federal officers are people with families.

It’s not just federal law enforcement that is taking a beating, either. In last Saturday’s protests in Seattle, 59 officers were injured from thrown projectiles, including explosive fireworks powerful enough to put holes in plywood covering windows.

The weekend prior, an ambush of police officers protecting the Christopher Columbus statue at Chicago’s Grant Park sent 18 of them to the hospital. The nationwide tally, so far, is over a thousand officers injured or tragically, like Patrick Underwood and David Dorn, dead.

As I hear calls by some public leaders to remove protective fencing around federal buildings and protective gear from police officers, I can’t help but wonder about the world in which these people reside. The fencing protects the building from being set ablaze, now routinely attempted against federal buildings and police stations, and the gear protects our sworn officers from the many countless projectiles flung their way.

This must stop. This mayhem has no place in a civilized society.

Rob Wilson



Shut it down

I am furious with state Department of Environmental Quality and you should be, too. So should our county board of commissioners.

Rightly or wrongly, the county relies on the DEQ to police the local Riverbend Landfill — that is, let us know if landfill management is following the laws and regulations that keep our water and air safe. But as the News-Register reported last week, the landfill has been skirting those laws for years.

Since at least 2015, Riverbend has failed to comply with basic monitoring requirements in its DEQ permits, wholly ignoring one important gas well and allowing other wells to flood with water. It has also allowed fill dirt to erode and plastic tarps to crack and deteriorate, defeating their purpose of keeping noxious gases out of the atmosphere.

As a result, methane, a highly damaging greenhouse gas, has escaped into the air we all have to breathe. So have other smelly and toxic gases.

But DEQ didn’t uncover Riverbend’s misconduct.

The notice of violation was issued by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which investigated only after citizens filed dozens of complaints aimed at compelling the DEQ to study the stench emanating from the landfill.

We don’t know how Riverbend responded to the EPA notice. But we do know that, during the same five years it was flaunting the law, the landfill was assuring the public of its full compliance with the terms of its permits.

Now Riverbend is back asking the county once again to let it expand its footprint.

Given Riverbend’s deceitful behavior and  the DEQ’s grossly inadequate monitoring of that behavior, the county should order Riverbend to close instead.

Contrary to comments from landfill supporters, as reported in Tuesday’s paper, the DEQ is not going to protect us. We have to do that ourselves.

Susan Watkins



Promises trashed

Camels and Waste Management have a lot in common. This particular camel poked its nose into the Yamhill County tent in 1982 with lots of promises, then moved in. 

It promised much of the Riverbend Landfill site would be kept under cultivation. But none of the site’s 86 acres can ever be farmed again.

It promised the floodplain would be protected. But the floodplain has been excavated to provide soil for landfill cover. 

It promised there would be no odor. But an Environmental Protection Agency odor study triggered an extensive notice of violation.

It promised there would be no leaks. But Riverbend has been cited multiple times for leachate spills.

It promised good buffers would be maintained. But the current application would expand the landfill within 50 feet of Highway 18. 

It said surrounding landowners didn’t object. But that was a flat-out lie.

It said nothing would be visible to passersby. But it’s hard to miss a garbage mountain taller than the state Capitol.

It said the total capacity would be about 4 million tons. But to date, around 14 million tons have been dumped there.

It claims there isn’t any litter problem on adjacent farms. But if you believe you can truck in 500,000 tons of garbage every year for dumping, and find no more than the occasional plastic bag flying around, I have a camel I want to sell you.

If you think this proposed expansion is the last, think again. If our county commissioners keep believing Waste Management’s promises, the company will keep coming back.

The commissioners need to be reminded that words are cheap, but the citizens have to live with the consequences of broken promises. Their motto seems to be: Yamhill County — home to 14 million tons of garbage and still welcoming more.

Margaret Cross



Building bridges

This letter is in reference to the July 24 feature about the Unidos Bridging Community and its executive director, Miriam Vargas Corona. I cannot thank you enough for highlighting the work Ms. Vargas Corona and all the Unidos volunteers and staff are doing to improve the lives of our Latinx neighbors.

Nine years ago, four insightful members of our community — Sally Godard, Mari Sandoval, Jennifer Richter and Phil Newman — invited all who were interested to attend a gathering in Dayton to learn about and discuss issues facing Latino immigrants in our county. I remember many of them sharing touching personal stories.

It was from this meeting that Unidos Bridging Community was born, with a mission to “build bridges of understanding and support among Latinos and non-Latinos.” And over the nine years since, it has grown and prospered.

I encourage everyone to go to the Unidos website at https://www.unidosyamhillcounty.org and learn about some of the ways you can help our Latinx neighbors, especially during the COVID crisis we are experiencing.

Liz Marlia-Stein




So Dan, you’re a big fan of Polio? Or tetanus? Rabies, measles, tuberculosis?
Pertussis,Rubella,mumps are ok for kids?
You may have trouble finding a candidate that has a platform supporting the reemergence of these and many other diseases that are controlled by vaccines......


Mr Kat already has the right to refuse vaccinations as far as I know, but as a consequence his children may not be able to attend public schools. He may choose to home school instead. Maybe he wants freedom from the consequences of his preferred choices. If only...


Dan, It's a shame you bred as your ignorance puts their lives at great risk!

Leisl and Phil: HEAR! HEAR! Another example is the Centennial Trail in Washington, Idaho and Montana! It's a great asset to that area. The arguments against are ridiculous!


Dan Katz - You just put a whole lot of ignorance in print. Holy cow.....it's just ridiculous!

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