By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Three reminders of local good works

Sometimes we take people for granted – like they will be around, doing good things, forever. We do that despite daily reminders it just isn’t true.

Too often, those reminders result from an unexpected death, followed by an obituary telling us things we never knew but wish we had. Too many personal connections in life aren’t recognized until we read about them in the obituaries.


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

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More often, connections fade because people grow older, retire, move on from long-time community activities, and sometimes leave the community altogether.

Last week I ran into Mary Stern at the supermarket, both of us rushing through a quick, “we should talk” encounter. That’s because after decades hereabouts, she’s headed to New Jersey to be closer to family.

Mary came to town as an attorney for the federal prison at Sheridan. She stayed long enough to be a multi-term, much-respected Yamhill County commissioner, and in recent years, executive director of McMinnville Habitat for Humanity. There’s a good-bye, drive-through parade Friday for those wanting to throw Mary a wave — an event also celebrating recent completion of two more Habitat homes.

There’s no public parade, so far as I know, for Mike Bisset. His last day with the city of McMinnville was Thursday after decades-long tenure as public works director, city engineer and community development director.

You won’t find “Mike Bisset” but a few times in our 21-year online archives. From much personal experiences, I know it’s not a sign of inactivity, but rather a testament to his many years of highly valued and hugely competent public service work without drawing attention to himself.

Said former City Manager Kent Taylor, “Mike has provided a steady hand and successful leadership everywhere he has worked … in his typical humble manner, Mike doesn’t want any fuss over his leaving.”

So, I’ll set this fuss aside.

Two days shy of 19 years ago, Maryalice Russell was named superintendent of School District 40. She’ll retire from that job in June, leaving time for more comment about her accomplishments.

Maryalice will leave behind a great deal of community appreciation for how she instilled local school system excellence the past two decades, and for her last year of navigating District 40 through the most challenging of times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, we’re losing three great local leaders, as always happens eventually. None of them, nor the countless others to follow, should be taken for granted.

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



Thanks for including me in such good company as Mike and Maryalice! It's been a pleasure to work with them, you, and all the wonderful people in our community. I will miss you all but will remember my time here with great love and affection. xoxo

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