Letters to the Editor: July 1, 2022

Keep the trees!

Thank you for publishing the excellent article regarding the trees lining McMinnville’s Third Street. Charles Hillestad makes a clear and compelling case for retaining our lovely maples.

As a vineyard owner in Amity, I love to bring out-of-town visitors to wander the shops, tasting rooms and restaurants whose entrances are graced by those elegant trees.

As a property owner in McMinnville, I thoroughly appreciate the old-world village charm those trees impart to the town, especially when they are lit in holiday seasons.

There is nothing about the effort to maintain the trees and sidewalks that comes close to the cost of a bare and shadeless vista on a steaming hot summer afternoon.

What are Mac’s planners thinking? Please keep those trees!

David Beck



State religion

So, according to the Supreme Court, it’s OK today in the United States of America for the government to enslave women.

I thought slavery had been outlawed by the 13th Amendment. I thought liberty was guaranteed by the 14th. I thought the First Amendment prevented the government from imposing a particular religion on the rest of us. Turns out I was wrong.

The government can now legally seize the bodies of women and force them to do whatever it wants. These women will have no say in what happens. Their voices, their lives, don’t count.

The Pilgrims emigrated to the New World in part to escape a government that tried to tell them how to worship. That tradition led to the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which prohibits government from setting up a state religion. But that is exactly what the Supreme Court has now allowed the states to do.

It’s possible you believe that life begins at conception. Under a religion-neutral government, you should be able to act on that belief.

But those of us who believe life begins at birth should have the equal right to act on our beliefs. Government should not, and under the Constitution legally cannot, force Americans to adopt any particular religious creed.

Roe v. Wade recognized that individual Americans, not state or federal governments, were the best decisionmakers when it comes to family planning and personal health. Any other outcome runs afoul of the personal liberty we Americans hold dear.

Susan Watkins



Go with Kotek 

Until the Republican Party purges itself of cultists, crackpots, conspiracists and MAGA thugs, no one still willing to accept Republican branding should be trusted with elected office.

Like it or not, we have a winner-take-all two party political system.

Third-party candidates, particularly in a general election, typically end up as spoilers. They allow a candidate to win without a majority of votes.

Betsy Johnson, with support from sugar daddy Phil Knight, is a prime example. Johnson’s candidacy only increases the chance of  forced-birth proponent Christine Drazan capturing Oregon’s governorship.

Think voting doesn’t matter? Think both major political parties are equally bad? Think again.

Recent Supreme Court decisions have shown us what anti-democracy minority rule looks like: second class citizenship for women. Who will be next to lose protections?

Democracy itself and other vital issues are on the ballot this November.

Choose carefully. Choose Tina Kotek.

Alisa Owen



Rebalance court

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that we have to have nine Supreme Court Justices.

Nor would it require a constitutional amendment to add more seats. In fact, Congress has already expanded the Supreme Court five times.

Congress should use its constitutional authority to rebalance the Supreme Court, which has been taken over by a supermajority that holds extreme views — views outside of the mainstream of legal thought and out of step with most Americans.

The Judiciary Act would add four seats and thus help stem the right-wing supermajority’s attacks on our fundamental freedoms, including the right to access abortion care.

There’s nothing stopping Congress — except for the political will to do it, of course. In fact, recent polling shows the majority of American voters support expanding the court. That’s why I’m urging Congress to pass the Judiciary Act, adding four seats to the Supreme Court.

Lisa Anderson



Save the trees

I attended the last meeting on the renovation of Third Street. The speaker was optimistic about the street’s future.

I had not attended any other meetings, so I was pretty excited about all of this, including taking down trees whose roots interfere with walkways.

But after Saturday, when the street was closed, I realized we just cannot remove those trees. They shade the street as well as add ambiance to our lovely and historic downtown.

Please, everyone, attend the city council Meeting on July 12 and voice your views.

We can work around the trees. Let’s make Third Street pedestrian-only, with no curbs.

Protect the trees. Do not remove them, as they are healthy.

Judy Buchholz



No more denial

OK, it’s decided. Roe v. Wade is reversed.

Now we get busy and get the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize abortion on constitutional grounds. Apparently the last case was based more on emotion and public opinion than on the Constitution.

Cases need to be brought to trial in a lower court, then any adverse decisions need to be appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Once there, the judges can try again.

There may be martyrs along the way, if the only way to be heard in court is a woman getting criminally prosecuted for having an abortion. Time may be shortened if the wife of a red state representative has an abortion and bleeds out on the bathroom floor at home.

The work ahead of us may be costly. It may be tragic. It may be time-consuming. But sanity and reason will eventually prevail.

Let’s stay calm and persistent. Let’s hit ‘em with lawsuits until they get woke.

Sheila Hunter



Make it plant-based

When we think about our independence and freedom in the United States, I wonder how many of us consider our farmed animals. There are currently 1.6 billion animals in our nation’s 25,000 factory farms, and they may never see the light of day.

Cows, chickens, pigs and more are subjected to unnecessary breeding, overfeeding, abuse and slaughter each and every day. The majority of these animals are raised in environments unfit for any beings, and there seems no end in sight.

But releasing animals from cages, crates, slaughterhouses and the psychological torment of Big Ag is possible. And it would truly represent a step toward independence for all.

When we stop treating animals as commodities, overall suffering in the world eases, the Earth heals, pandemic and antibiotic-resistance risks subside and human health improves.

Luckily, there are options. Browse any grocery store or food co-op and you’ll find a variety of delicious, nutritious, plant-based burgers and more.

Companies like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Gardein and Field Roast are showing up at cookouts across the country. They are  proving this Fourth of July that there can be freedom for all.

Milo Nakamura




Susan Watkins: “The government can now legally seize the bodies of women and force them to do whatever it wants. These women will have no say in what happens. Their voices, their lives, don’t count.”

Sorry, Susan, but I think your tin foil hat may be on a little too tight. At least be thankful you live in Oregon, where “the bodies of women” can’t be “ legally seized”.


Make 3rd Street pedestrian-only. Install pavers and plant new trees in the CENTER of the street. As they mature, the trees in the sidewalk can be removed so their roots no longer destroy the sidewalks. Look at what Charlottesville, VA has for a walking mall.

Don Dix

Jean is correct -- close 3rd to traffic and allow the N/S streets carry the downtown load.

Don Dix

Alisa Owen -- so vote for Kotek because????? Instead of running down opponents, why not provide something positive Kotek has accomplished (besides being able to ram through any legislation with a complicit super majority in her chamber)? By the way, who will she owe if elected (I think it's clear to most)?

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