Letters to the editor: May 6, 2022

Losing our rights

I moved to McMinnville in October 2014 from Philadelphia, where I volunteered as a patient escort at a reproductive health clinic for 18 years, showing up every Saturday morning at 6 a.m.

The escort’s role was to see that patients were able to get from their cars to the door of the clinic without being accosted or harassed by protesters. And there were plenty of protesters.

They brought vile pictures of dismembered fetuses, begging the question of where they even got such pictures. They used bullhorns to amplify their voices, screaming at patients and escorts that we were “murderers” and “feminazis.”

They were aggressive. The escorts took the bulk of their venom in order to shield and protect the patients.

Now, when we are on the verge of losing the right to safe and legal abortion, I fear what comes next.

Abortion will never end of course. Rich women will always have a way to access safe abortion.

Women of color or women of limited means will not, and that means women will die.

All this ruling does is ensure that women become property of the state, and thereby property of a religious minority in this country. We absolutely must not allow this to happen.

If it means setting up a network for women to access states which  have made safe and legal abortions a priority, then that is what we will do. I hope it does not come to that, but we must be ready in case it does.

We must also organize and vote, because the right to safe and legal abortion will not be the end of what the right-wing minority is trying to do through this illegitimate Supreme Court.

Peggy Kneller



Out of the shadows

My birth was not planned. It was an “accident.”

I am certain that my mother would have opted to abort me if she had the choice. However, she did not have a choice.

Everything was against my coming into the world — multiple health issues, a rocky marriage and the already perfect mix of one boy and one girl in the family. But here I am, pulling your ear to defend women’s rights to make their own choices about their bodies and their future.

I like to think that I’m a survivor. My birth is a good example of just how tenacious I can be. I will tenaciously defend the rights of any woman, including my daughter and granddaughter, to maintain personal control over her body and her future.

Decisions are made in the unpredictable, seemingly random situation that we are in at the time. No one knows the heart and the situation that a woman may find herself in at the time of an unwanted pregnancy.

No woman wants to have an abortion without thinking the decision through. It is a deeply personal choice. It’s her choice, not mine, not yours and certainly not that of the Supreme Court.

I urge you to vote only for candidates who are pro-choice. Force this issue out into the light.

Women no longer hide in the shadows in our country. Politicians shouldn’t either.

Kris Bledsoe



Can’t be trusted

Over the years, the Republican Party has devolved into a group willing to embrace and elevate bullies. One example of their bullying is the relentless attempt to control women.

Some individual Republicans may hold reasonable opinions regarding other issues. However, most if not all would eagerly insert themselves into a woman’s most private decision by forcing continuation of an unwanted pregnancy.

The phrase “pro-life” was co-opted from the anti-death penalty movement. The people who want to control women’s bodies are not pro-life, they are pro-forced birth.

Republicans cannot be trusted when it comes to the issue of women’s health care.

Alisa Owen



No one can stop it

In response to Henry Evers’ letter of April 16:

You would murder a woman, or even a 12-year-old girl, to save a fetus whose survival en utero or post-partum is unknown?

We will soon be back to illegal abortions on the kitchen table, performed in unsanitary conditions by neighbors with no medical training, using coat hangers. This was the norm until Roe v. Wade.

Women will get abortions, law or no law. That’s already proven.

You and no one else can stop it. All you will be doing is murdering a girl or woman over a fetus with or without a heartbeat — one that could be the result of Daddy raping his 12-year-old daughter.

Partner? How about little girls raped by uncles, fathers, brothers or neighbors? How does a young girl plan for pregnancy with her perp?

How about little boys raped by the same kind of perps? The death penalty needs to apply to these men, yet I see no arrests in the newspaper.

In summary, you are saying you approve of killing a living, breathing girl or woman to save a fetus that may or may not reach term, and just because you want women to do what you say.

Sheila Hunter



Right to procreate

The letter “Crime against women” of April 14 disregards the crime against the fetus. The woman and the fetus both have rights.

The fetus isn’t able to speak, but does move and feel pain, so has the right to live. A woman’s right is to procreate or not.

Abortion amounts to murder of a human being. Wouldn’t the logical answer be, don’t procreate if you don’t want a child?

None of us would be here if we had been aborted. 

Mary Novak



Honesty and integrity

It’s been my pleasure to know and work with Ron Noble as the chief of police for McMinnville and as my representative in House District 24 for the past 10 years.

I’ve always been impressed with his honesty, integrity, knowledge, and leadership. He has shown the ability to build consensus within government.

During this time of political division, we need more than ever an individual that can work with his peers in Congress to accomplish the needs of the people. He has shown this in the Legislature over the past six years.

He has worked in local government where the rubber meets the road, and would bring that experience and expertise to Congress. Ron is a visionary, yet has the ability to implement needed directions.

He has a focus in his run for Congress on the following critical issues: jobs and opportunity, better rather than bigger government, safe communities, quality education, securing our borders, protecting lives and defending the Second Amendment.

We need an individual in Congress who brings a proven track record of leadership from the state level, not an individual just getting a start in government.

As one who has served McMinnville for the past 29 years, I know what it takes to represent our community. Ron exhibits the traits of listening and being an effective communicator.

I urge you to join me in voting Ron Noble for Congress.

Mayor Scott Hill



Checks every box

As a former long-time resident and three-term county commissioner, I still care deeply about Yamhill County. That is why I am so excited that Beth Wytoski is running for the Position 1 commissioner seat.

When you consider the attributes you want in a commissioner, Beth checks every box!

Community Dedication: For 15 years, Beth has served the citizens of Dayton, first for seven years as a city councilor and then for eight years as mayor. As a member of YCAP’s Board of Directors for six years, three as chair, Beth helped the most vulnerable in the community and developed potential solutions for addressing hunger and homelessness.

Relevant Experience: Through her local government service, Beth has been involved in property acquisitions, park developments, major infrastructure projects, state and federal agency partnerships, policy and ordinance updates, emergency planning and contract negotiation. Through her involvement as a member and president in the Oregon Mayors Association, Beth knows how to unify diverse voices to accomplish shared goals — skills necessary for a successful commissioner.

Broad Background: Beth is from a local farming family, so understands Oregon’s complex land use system and the importance of balancing protecting precious farmland with meeting the needs of cities.

Beth holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Oregon. As a government and economics teacher at Dayton High, she provides her students with real world perspectives and opportunities to network with public and private sector leaders and experts.

Most importantly, Beth is raising her three daughters in Dayton with her husband, so she has a personal stake in seeing this county thrive.

Beth is an exceptional leader, and is recognized as such by both local and statewide organizations. How fortunate you all are that this force of nature is ready to now serve as your county commissioner.

Vote Beth Wytoski!

Mary Stern

Milburn, New Jersey

New mandate

If you believe the government destroyed our freedoms by requiring masks and lockdowns, how do you feel about that same government requiring us to have children?

Susan Watkins



Do the math

For those interested in strengthening Yamhill County, the math is simple. We need two county commissioners working to move beyond the current regime of partisan squabbling.

Harry Noah and Doris Towery will map a path through differences in our county to work for all of us.

Noah is a plain-spoken farmer committed to making our tax dollars work locally to strengthen Yamhill County. That way, when we send our tax dollars to Salem or Washington, he will win back our share and keep our county moving forward.

His experience as Alaska Commissioner of Natural Resources, helping huge corporations act responsibly, proves he can bring communities together.

Harry Noah will help get us back to work locally so we have housing we can afford, roads that are safe and jobs that pay enough to live in Yamhill County.

Current commissioners focus on patronage and personal power.

They undermine fair process and accountability, substituting personal privilege for the advice of those who live and work in our county. In the process, they cost all of us money rather than putting our fair share of available funding to work.

Doris Towery has an opponent who fails to listen to most of us. To make sure all our voices are heard, on farms, in towns, and in cities, we need new leaders.

Things happen when Doris Towery is on the job. Her leadership skills bring people together.

She seeks solutions by encouraging diverse perspectives and fostering community. She will unite the cities to build a better future for our county.

On the Lane County Transit District Board, she helped win more than $95 million to improve county transportation. 

Vote Noah and Towery. Two new commissioners can restore good county government.

Michael Perri



Broader vision

Vote for Doris Towery and Beth Wytoski if you like the idea of county commissioners working hard for the benefit of all county voters.

By throwing out the established criteria for ranking grant applications and substituting their own judgment, Commissioners Lindsay Berschauer and Mary Starrett facilitate corruption without the need to cover up what they do. They can simply give money to their friends because they wish to.

They devalue and waste the substantial efforts of the county staff to evaluate the applications of the nonprofit applicants. For taxpayers who had not been paying attention, the commissioners’ rejection of cultural and arts applications highlights their ignorance for what inspires many of us.

Commissioner Starrett’s remark, “We need to wean ourselves off grants, because what government gives, government holds conditions on,” ignores a basic fact: Grants represent the means whereby jurisdictions like Yamhill County can receive their share of the return of our federally collected taxes.

The commissioner receives a substantial salary from all of us. She should agree to the stated conditions for accepting a grant. The rest of us do this all the time when we borrow for a house or car.

Commissioner Starrett’s efforts these past few years have focused on benefiting just a few of us — the conspiracy-driven anti-vaxers and gun rights crazies. Read her statement of achievements and endorsers in the Voters’ Pamphlet for many reasons to vote for someone else this time.

She simply is very ill-suited to the role of public servant or custodian of the public trust.

Peter Gladhart



More for mental health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As a volunteer and advocate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I am asking everyone to join us this month to demand #MoreForMentalHealth.

I lost my son to suicide in 2014, so I went to Washington, D.C., to support legislation establishing the new three-digit 988 suicide hotline number. After speaking with my local representatives about this bill, I and other advocates  were very pleased to see it passed.

I am now calling on my legislators, at both the state and federal levels, to help support and fund implementation of the new national hotline number for its scheduled July 16 rollout. I am also asking them to support suicide and mental health crisis systems across our nation, particularly for those in underserved communities.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can currently be reached at 1-800-273-8255. It de-escalates the crises of tens of thousands of callers each day.

On July 16, those in distress and those that support them will be able to reach the lifeline by simply dialing 988. By making it more accessible, call, text and chat connections to network call centers can more easily be facilitated.

It is vital that the federal government work with states to ensure callers in distress will have: 1) Someone to call; 2) Someone who can come help; and 3) Somewhere safe to go.

We must act now to secure funding to equip call centers and community crisis response services throughout the country with the staff and resources to respond.

Join me this month in urging our federal and state public officials to do #MoreForMentalHealth. You can start by visiting www.moreformentalhealth.org.

Together, we can help #StopSuicide.

Christie McKee



Democratic mentality

Like Sam Sweeney, I look forward to reading the letters to the editor each Friday. I’m prompted many times to respond, and sometimes do.

Recently, a letter ended with, “Vote Democratic.”

That bothered me, because it wasn’t long ago that our Democratic-dominated Legislature wanted to vote in a huge tax increase for cap and trade, but the Republicans wanted to put it on the ballot. Evidently the Democrats didn’t think they could convince us to pay.

This mentality is the reason I will not vote for a Democrat. It hurts me, because I prefer to study the candidates and vote for the one I found the best.

I believe we need to protect our environment, but since the warming and cooling have happened many times in the past, we need to find out what causes the cycles first. Then maybe we can do something, or not.

In the meantime, let’s thin our forests to reduce the fuel load and do a better job of fighting fires. We spend millions that could be invested in better tools, like the 747.

Environmentalists want us to reduce burning of fossil fuels. Well, wildfires are also burning a fossil fuel — at least a future fossil fuel.

We have made great strides with use of fossil fuels. Our coal plants have developed methods to clean their exhaust, and our vehicle fuels burn much cleaner and more efficiently.

To me, hybrid technology seems like our best option. With the hybrid, we get the good mileage without having to build more power plants.

The lithium for batteries needs to be mined someplace, though; we need better range and recharge time; and we need a whole new charging infrastructure. 

Henry Evers



Pre-qualify candidates

I read an article discussing mandatory voting. It said that more than 30 countries currently require citizens to vote and speculated how that might affect elections in the U.S.

If we’re going to start tossing mandates around, then a much better way to increase turnout would be to mandate better quality candidates.

There’s no shortage of organizations, both public and private, that have some form of requirement for membership. Something similar should be established as the first step to running for office.

The freedom to vote would seem to include the freedom not to, just as freedom of religion allows you to choose none. It would be better we establish a new freedom – the freedom from poor choices at election time.

Fred Fawcett



Peace now

It seems the world has discarded the idea of peace and goodwill.

We must not let the situation in Ukraine escalate to a worldwide conflict, as the consequences could be catastrophic.

A commentator on CNN suggested we view the war over Ukraine much as we viewed World War II. That seems to me a very scary prospect.

Let’s do what we can to negotiate a meaningful peace now and stop the suffering so many are enduring.

Janet DeWith


The one we love

When I came to McMinnville in 1979 for a job interview, I went to a T-shirt shop to buy a shirt for my 2-year-old. I told the owner I was going back to Indiana and needed one.

He said, “I have the perfect shirt.” He came back with a yellow T-shirt that said in black lettering, “Where the hell is McMinnville.”

Well, eventually word got out about wine country.

I have always worried that Mac would end up like Beaverton, where there are stop lights everywhere.

I think of the efforts of Marilyn Dell and others to help get the national historical rating for Third Street. What would happen to that effort?

I remember replying to a letter that Merilyn Reeves had on the then Newberg-Dundee Bypass in 2017 in which she called it a Trojan Horse. She stated it would only move the congestion down the road.

I pointed out that I was at an ODOT meeting at the Community Center in the mid-1980s when ODOT officials stated Highway 18 was one of the most traveled highways in Oregon.

In the 1980s, Oregon’s population was roughly 2.7 million. The 2020 census puts Oregon’s population at 4.2 million, and there are now two casinos on the way to the coast.

Today’s Three Mile Area Plan would add to the congestion problem with more traffic and lights. That makes no sense unless it’s about cents.

We need housing for the workers who would work in the industrial zones that have already been proposed. Industrial sites wouldn’t add to the congestion like big box stores would.

I live on the northeast side of Mac and shop at Albertsons.

One would think that I would take Highway 99W, which is the shortest route.

But I don’t. I take the McMinnville Bypass, which loops around all the traffic lights in McMinnville proper that I would have to take, joining all the other idling vehicles in causing more pollution.

My current route saves time and money, and most definitely eases pollution. What would I do if there were big boxes stores drawing more traffic to it? 

Let’s take a page from longtime Speaker of the U.S. House, Tip O’Neill. When asked why he campaigned so hard when his district was a sure thing, he said, “All politics is local.” 

There is and will be development in the Willamette Valley. Let’s keep this to a locally accepted development, not one that would be done by the powers that be. Lets keep Mac as the little town that could, the one we love.

Mike Sullivan



Tweedle dee, tweedle dum

I enjoyed Mr. Bladine’s wry commentary on the Alice in Wonderland nature of local politics, but also viewed it with trepidation.

There is an interesting group of candidates for county commissioner this time, some with good ideas that are long overdue, such as Harry Noah’s idea for a technical education center. My intuition tells me, however, that the county’s post-election board will be the best one Timber Unity could buy with its cash from dark sources.

Operatives working in the dark want their pound of flesh. So instead of meaningful dialog and viable solutions, we’ll likely continue being treated to the political equivalent of a pre-school sandbox fight.

We’ll get meetings full of pigtail pulling, sand kicking and sand bucket bludgeoning. My grandchildren would struggle with this sort of behavior.

I don’t know how I managed to make it more than 70 years without clutching Commissioner Mary Starrett’s “advice” lectures close to my heart.

The problem is, they feature all the character of somebody dragging fingernails over a chalk board. They rival the VD lecture my unfortunate basketball coach had to give us back in high school.

Then there’s Lindsay Berschauer, the political equivalent of a chunk of dry ice tossed into a bucket of cold water — anger, angst, conspiracy theories and massive ego all wrapped up in the best package dark money can buy.

I saw a recent rant of hers about Marxism creeping into the local schools. Considering the source, I wonder if she was worried about  Groucho or Harpo.

The old saying about politics and sausage-making is a truism. However, some of us can remember when Oregon politics focused on finding common ground on pragmatic solutions. Some were out of the mainstream, but came to be admired and emulated by others.

Mark Hatfield must be rolling in his grave.

F.B. Skinner



Mothers in spirit

This Mother’s Day, please don’t forget all the women who will never get to fulfill their desire to become mothers. Infertility and miscarriage steal dreams of motherhood every day, and on this day, it can be a painful reminder to the unfulfilled.

On this day that celebrates motherhood, many women will never get to hear the words, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy,” and share the joy.

They will never feel their baby growing inside, the warmth of a newborn on the chest, or the sleepless nights up nursing; never witness a first smile, first steps or candles blown out on a first birthday.

They will never teach a child how to read, ride a bike or drive a car;  see a child graduate from high school or college, marry or have children of their own; hear the words, “I love you, Grandma.”

On this day to celebrate motherhood, there are women who will only be mothers in their heart. To all of those women, I stand with you.

Jill Payne




Kris Bledsoe –I agree that no one should rush into a choice like abortion without thinking it through, but that is exactly what happens in our society.

My daughter got pregnant about 2 years ago, she was 22. There were already struggles with drinking and depression. She and her boyfriend were all but broken up when she got pregnant, she was terrified. Too terrified to talk to us about it. She turned to planned parenthood. They told her that she needed to make a quick decision before the baby’s brain and heart developed and started beating. Both already had, they lied. They did not look into her mental health, or look into the depression, suicidal thoughts or addiction, or how a decision like abortion may effect those conditions. They also glossed over the side effects she would develop, severe pain and persistent bleeding. They had to hurry and schedule the abortion, there was no time to waste.

She has nightmares from her experience. Nightmares where the baby, she calls him Theodore, talks to her. The depression, suicidal thoughts, and addiction have taken over and spiraled. She has lost jobs, friends, her car when she got a DUI, etc. She can no longer hold a job, drinking and taking drugs takes up her evenings and nights and she sleeps it off during the day and I don't want to know how she makes money. She doesn’t come around any more or call or text back. I don’t know where she lives although I hear her new boyfriend is a known drug dealer.

Yes, she had problems before the abortion. And also yes, PP glossed them over to make the sale.

Its been devastating to my wife and I. I blame myself, it wasn’t my choice, but I’m the Dad. There is typically not a day I don’t think about it or the baby, I almost cried writing this. I don’t have nightmares, but close.

How long does the trauma of abortion last? I don’t know, I hope to one day put an end date to it and answer that question. Not much of choice, is it.


Post #2

I wasn't going to tell that story, its too personnel. Its not hard to find some of my other comments and see that I get fired up over this topic and tend to go on a rant. I deleted three other posts before I posted that one.

But for every one person who shares a story like this, there are thousands and thousands of people and families who swallow the pain and don't say a word. I'm tired of swallowing the pain.


Susan Watkins, “…government requiring us to have children?” Seriously? This is the kind of illogical inanity that undermines any attempt toward civil discourse on hot button public policy issues. This kind of knee-jerk hyperbole may play to the emotional extremists, but runs counter to any effort to honestly speak reasonably together. Maybe this is an accurate indication of the state of ‘reason’ in our public square. If so , all is truly lost.


Bigfoot, I am deeply saddened by your daughter's experience. I have a daughter and I can only imagine what your family has going through in the last two years. I hope that you somehow get reconnected and that she will allow you to get her some help.


While some teenage boy is occupied (wink-wink, nudge, nudge) sowing his wild oats, the female partner is branded a slut, tramp, punchboard, easy, maybe with her name and number scrawled on a men's room filthy wall.
Consider the prodigal son--he left home for some racy raucous forays into alcoholic blackouts and patronizing brothels. But he returned to the barbecued fatted calf and a swell ring. Had he been the daughter, he would have been buried up to his neck and stoned to death--by the way, smaller stones require more time to shame someone to death, which is why they are recommended.
Don't consider abortion if the idea appalls you. And quit telling others what to do to make you sleep better at night.


Bigfoot-I have tremendous empathy for your pain. Let me tell you my deeply personal story. When I was 25 I was kidnapped, raped and robbed. I was not impregnated. I cannot fathom the trauma that would have been inflicted on me if I had and I woulld have been forced to have the baby. Because every situation is different, I am pro-choice.

Mac Runner

BigfootLives I am sorry for the pain you and your family experienced. But, in answer to your last question, there are answers from the Turnaway study: "The research team regularly interviewed each of nearly 1,000 women for five years and found those who'd been denied abortion experienced worse economic and mental health outcomes than the cohort that received care. And 95% of study participants who received an abortion said they made the right decision." I think when relationship instability, MH struggles and addiction are a part of the picture unwanted pregnancy is going to be challenging regardless of whether the child is brought to term or aborted. In reading your comments it highlights the importance of access to MH services as MH and substance-used related disorders can both increase risk for unwanted pregnancy. Here is a recent article about the study results: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/05/15/1098347992/a-landmark-study-tracks-the-lasting-effect-of-having-an-abortion-or-being-denied

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