By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: New reporter gets a happy reception

We didn’t throw a party when Scott Unger joined the News-Register reporting staff last week. But we thought about it.

Unger, an experienced reporter, hit the newsroom floor running after a few deep-dives into our digital archives. He brings our editor/reporter staff back to full strength after two long, pandemic-scorched years.

No one is happier than Managing Editor Kirby Neumann-Rea, who lost his city government reporter one month after joining us in April 2021. He now can focus on the job he took on, while Unger picks up multiple reporting beats.

Before Neumann-Rea arrived, Associate Publisher Ossie Bladine filled in as managing editor for six months, with help from Associate Editor Racheal Winter and a seasoned reporting staff of Starla Pointer, Paul Daquilante and Nicole Montesano. They also appreciate the addition of a fourth full-time reporter, giving them more time for their established reporting and feature story beats.

Throughout those times, all-purpose staffer Rusty Rae has filled in whenever and wherever asked, and vintage photo Editor Michael Hafner and proofreader Jennifer Bladine kept doing what they do best.

Celebrations for Unger’s arrival were slightly muted because two other valued newsroom members have left (Photographer Marcus Larsen) or soon will (Sports Editor Logan Brandon) for other job pursuits. Ossie Bladine and Neumann-Rea are busy trying to fill those positions.

That leaves one more very happy camper – yours truly, getting ready to hand over some of the “story-finder” role I’ve played in recent times. Tuesday provided a good example:

Being naturally curious about the latest city efforts to manage McMinnville’s controversial homeless camping sites, I took a quick drive down McDaniel Lane and out to Marsh Lane. Both were cleared of long-standing, junk-filled camp sites, apparently the result of new McMinnville Police Department initiatives to enforce the city’s ordinance on streetside camping.

My route, however, dropped me into Joe Dancer Park, now home to multiple groupings of trailers. The camps were more orderly than others I’ve seen, but it remains to be seen how the community will respond to new homeless locales in Joe Dancer parking lots.

A few short weeks ago, that experience would have sent me scurrying for more information so I could help an under-staffed newsroom. But this week, it only required a brief stop by Reporter Scott Unger’s desk, and this parting line as I walked away to finish other things needing attention:

Welcome, Scott, to your first McMinnville homelessness story!

Jeb Bladine is editor and publisher of the News-Register. He can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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