Letters to the Editor: June 9, 2023

Time to reconnect

I remember reading announcements regarding 55th high school reunions and thinking, “Those people are still with us?”

Well, this summer, our McMinnville Class of 1968 will celebrate its 55th reunion. And while not all of our classmates are still around to celebrate with us, we will toast them anyway, and reminisce about their friendship and influence on our teenage years.

In 1979, one year after graduation, I found myself in Vietnam as a combat sniper. Of the 17 who graduated in our sniper class, only two remain with us today.

The other is my sniper partner, Ron Balti, who will celebrate his 77th birthday this month. And I will be attending his birthday party in Chicago.

It is events like my upcoming trip and our upcoming high school reunion that help put life, aging and the privilege of each new day into perspective for me.

I may not recognize everyone at our reunion, and everyone may not recognize me. But we are now the generation announcing its 55th class reunion, and yes, most of us are still here.

A note to the Class of 2023: Enjoy life, as time knows how to fly. Have a great summer and many more just like it.

Ron Allen



Numbers, please

Thank you for covering the classified employee rally in the paper. I taught for 15 years and know how very important this is to the livelihoods of those involved in our schools.

A suggestion: Add numbers!

You mentioned signs that referenced a living wage. What is a living wage in McMinnville? What is the average classified employee salary after five years, 10 years?

I’ve found that citizens assume educators are paid a living wage with good benefits. The numbers might provide a wakeup call, and it doesn’t take many characters to add them to a story like this.


Lauren Sinclair



Is trail truly dead?

The last LUBA decision regarding the Yamhelas Westsider Trail was sent to Yamhill County on Dec. 30, 2020. In it, the board said, “We are not convinced that the Trail is prohibited by farm impact standards as a matter of law.”

LUBA sent the appeal back to the county for a fix to the remaining issues around the appropriate buffer for spraying chemicals. In that same month, the first phase of the three-phase master plan was presented to the county for commissioner approval.

The master plan was to be the primary avenue of response to LUBA. It would have also provided information on cost and design.

But the 2020 round of elections replaced a commissioner who had been supportive of the trail with one who was not.

When the newly composed board met in January 2021, it voted 2-1 not to continue with the master plan or respond in any other fashion to the LUBA issues. This essentially halted the appeal process, the progress made over decades and actual trail development.

The actions of the current board do not, however, halt the efforts to continue promotion of the Westsider Trail or other trails in Yamhill County.

This has become a highly politicized issue, but it can be addressed with advocacy, public awareness and future elections. So rather than characterize the trail project as defunct, as is often done, I prefer to simply consider it in hiatus.

A future board of commissioners could simply ask LUBA to take up the land use permit again, and take the whole record into account when considering conditions of approval. It’s ultimately up to the voters.

Wayne Wiebke

President, Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail


Sins of the son

Been reading about an incident involving the son of House GOP leader Vikki Breese-Iverson. He posed next to the swastika on a WWII German airplane and gave the Nazi salute.

There are people calling for Ms. Breese-Iverson to resign over this.

Politically, I dislike the Republican Party more than I dislike the Democratic Party, at least in their current incarnations. So I’d be glad to see her seat lost to the GOP.

Not over this incident, though, as she did nothing wrong. She’s no more accountable for her son’s behavior than Biden is for his son’s behavior.

If people want Ms. Breese-Iverson out of office, they need to line up more votes than her come 2024.

Fred Fawcett



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