By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: First, ‘loose ends,’ then August hiatus

Nothing really special today — just a few “loose ends.” That seems appropriate, this being a last column before my first-ever hiatus from this space. More on that below ... meanwhile:

A three-part July series on racism published here — now combined on the newspaper website — drew disappointment from one reader for neglecting local history of racism.

Whatchamacolumn

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

> See his column

As I responded to him, I hadn’t found much documentation of local racism from limited research or in my own memories of growing up here in the ‘50s and ‘60s. There are anecdotal stories of local discrimination involving Chinese and Hispanic workers, and, of course, historic treatment of Native Americans, but not much quotable literature.

I did write about Oregon joining the Union in 1859 under a Black exclusion law, explaining why generations of Oregonian didn’t experience the same challenges of population diversity faced elsewhere. Looking more deeply, a few U.S. Census statistics are enlightening:

In 1860 — in words of that day — Yamhill County’s population numbered 3,244 White, 1 Colored, 0 Chinese and 0 Indians. In 1880, those numbers were 7,734 White, 5 Negro, 127 Chinese and 79 Indians. The Native American population influx occurred in 1900 with 236, but that year’s Yamhill County census reported just 1 Black and 12 Chinese people living among 13,165 White residents.

Two years before I entered McMinnville High School, our town had 9,648 White and 14 Black citizens. Racism was a reality of our history, but little of our personal experience.

Moving on to another way-too-loose end: As congressional power brokers negotiate the extension of pandemic-related benefits, we see this report from Wednesday, “One person involved told CNN last night, ‘We’re in different universes right now.’”

Perhaps, but I predict the pressures for resolution of those differences will suffocate our Congress into action long before I return to this space. However, I also predict that final decision will supply plenty of fodder for commentary about federal foibles.

Finally, about that hiatus:

Writing this weekly column has dominated a small corner of my work week and vacation time for so long that I can hardly imagine what else I might do with that time. I’ll find that out during four weeks of August, then return knowing what it’s like to change a 46-year habit, at least temporarily.

The space, however, isn’t being left to loose ends. We’ve invited four local people to fill in, hoping readers will enjoy some diversity of viewpoints and different inset photographs.

So, I’ll “see” you in September … maybe with a different photo of my own!

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

Comments

Don Dix

About that different picture -- a side profile -- man-bun included!