Letters to the Editor: December 24, 2021

Just the beginning

After reading, “Commissioners decline to address marijuana processing restrictions,” I felt it was important to note affected citizens have been meeting with commissioners to discuss the importance of regulating marijuana. We are advocating sensible safety guidelines being adopted in nearly every Oregon county.

Our Chehalem Mountain community has been impacted by approval of a massive refinery proposing to subject 45 tons of marijuana or hemp per cycle to a flammable extraction process. Yamhill County chose rely solely on its site design review process in allowing siting of this industrial facility in a rural area devoted to residential, agricultural and forestry uses.

From 2012 to 2019, more than 45 cannabis-related fires were documented in Oregon media accounts. And the state fire marshal says that's severely understated, because there’s no code in the system to separate them out.

The commissioners didn’t actually decline to address marijuana processing. Chair Mary Starrett simply felt it was important enough to warrant a work session of its own.

We were stunned by comments made by other commissioners, however.

Commissioner Kulla opposed requiring fire inspections in agricultural buildings. This was alarming, because there are no hydrants on the mountain, terrain and access are challenging, water has to be trucked in or dropped from above, and chemical fires can require foam available only at PDX.

Farm buildings often store flammable or hazardous herbicides, rodenticides, pesticides, fuels and paints. They are not, as Kulla claimed, "just shells to park tractors or implements.”

Through HB 3400, the Legislature authorized counties to regulate marijuana operations as to "time, place and manner." That includes limiting processing to industrial zones, where fire suppression and safety inspection are routinely available.

Such a provision should be a top priority for Yamhill County as Oregon continues to face historic drought and firest. In our view, this conversation is just beginning.

Lindsey Noss



Tough questions

As a national advocate, I consult with citizens regarding the impacts of marijuana.

The majority of Yamhill County citizens voted in opposition to legalization and are having to advocate for change with their county commissioners. They have proposed three options:

1 — Review expanding conditions of the site design review process to help incorporate reasonable regulations.

2 — Implement provisions of HB3400, Section 134, giving jurisdictions authority to adopt a time, place and order ordinances  requiring odor filters, setbacks, minimum lot sizes, fire safety checks, easement use authorizations, security monitoring and annual compliance checks; limiting licensing to one per parcel and flammable processing to industrial zones; and regulating lighting, noise, water usage and fencing heights.

3 — Implement provisions of HB3400, Section 134, allowing jurisdictions to establish industry categories, such as marijuana processing and production, for referral to voters for possible "opt-out" bans.

So far in 2021, Oregon law enforcement agencies have confiscated almost 2 million illegal marijuana plants in hundreds of greenhouses, and more than 567,000 pounds of processed marijuana in 17 of Oregon's 36 Counties. Many led them to foreign cartels engaged in human trafficking, illegal water use and other abuses.

Unless marijuana is legalized at the federal level, it cannot be treated like any other crop under the “right to farm” statute. Thus, it does not share the same status as other crops.

Pretending it does will not work, as it has already faced federal lawsuits from affected neighbors.

Thanks go to Chair Mary Starrett and her fellow commissioners for holding a work session to begin the discussion.

They have some tough questions to answer related to public health and safety. These questions are being raised by alarmed citizens, and they aren't going away any time soon.

Shirley Morgan

Founder, Citizens for Public Safety, Quality of Life, Property Values



Questionable claims

The opinion piece by Les Howsden uses an array of questionable statistics and claims to justify the continuation of unrestricted abortions in our country.

I have to ask: Who can put a value on a human life, let alone the 62 million innocent lives lost to abortion since Roe V Wade?

Despite the promises of the proponents, dating back to the 70s, abortions have not eliminated crime, child abuse or poverty. So the mantra of "every child a wanted child" rings hollow.

The fact is that we cannot improve our society by selectively eliminating some group of individuals. The practice of eugenics in the late 1800s to early 1900s, and the later Nazi purges, were horribly failed experiments that should have taught us our lessons.

No one can possibly know what a pre-born or young person might achieve in their lifetime. Some of our greatest people have pulled themselves up from poverty or worse to achieve greatness. Even the most dependent individuals have great worth according to our God.

If attempts such as the Texas Heartbeat law and the Supreme Court abortion challenges are successful, it is not because of statistical analysis, but because of morality. Humans can conceive, but God provides the life from which we grow.

If you doubt this, please Google "fetal development by week" at the babycenter. It is an absolute miracle how the tiny seed made during conception can become an embryo with a beating heart at five weeks and have toes and fingers by 10 weeks.

At 13 weeks, a baby girl has 2 million eggs in her ovaries, in preparation for the next generation. And that's only at the end of the first trimester.

At what point could an honest person say the this developing child has no worth?

Steve Wozniak



Join with the angels

I wish for cheaper gas and U.S. energy self-sufficiency.

We are all using it. Why unnecessarily beg other countries for it?

I wish for legal immigration only. Letting in 1 million undocumented unvaccinated unvetted non-citizens this year has not helped our country.

I wish for more street crime control in big cities. It really hurts small businesses, which used to be the core of our economy.

I wish for an emphasis on character, not color. I wish for anti-inflation policies, as 7% inflation hurts everyone’s pocketbook. I long for free speech and the Bill of Rights.

I wish to break bread with those who might consider themselves on the “other side of the aisle.” Surely, we have more in common than not.

Perhaps we will sing “Silent Night” together. Or pray for each other. Or solve a local problem together.

This season, let's join with the angels saying “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

Tod Butterfield



Christmas wish list

I have two wishes for Christmas.

First, for peace on earth. And let it begin with me.

Second, Santa, can we please have a bottle drop outlet in McMinnville.

You see, Santa, us baby boomers have a hard time standing in long lines. It’s either too cold or too hot.

What’s more, we have to have our own purified water for our breathing machine and air purifier. It’s really a necessity. And we need those bottle deposit returns to buy more purified water.

Whoever thought that living in Oregon, we would have to buy water? But we can’t use our own well water.

Thank you, Santa. Merry Christmas to all.

Ruth Noble







> I wish for legal immigration only. Letting in 1 million undocumented unvaccinated unvetted non-citizens this year has not helped our country.

This is a HUGE underestimate. The number is closer to two and a half million. 1.9 million contacts plus a half a million got-aways. See story below. For reference, that is MORE than the population of 13 states. All this in the middle of a pandemic.


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