Letters to the Editor: February 9, 2024

Working together

As a long-time resident of Newberg, I’m supportive of the various public and private ways we in Yamhill county can come together to support fellow residents in times of need.

In particular, I have known and appreciated the work Elise Yarnell does building bridges to support this kind of work wherever and however she can. A rare individual, she is ethical, driven by purpose and capable of working across the deep political divides our county suffers from.

Imagine my surprise when I learned the executive director of YCAP, an organization whose mission I completely support, sent a nine-page letter targeting Elise for asking an important question about warming shelters during the recent ice storms.

Freezing weather like we had in January means life-threatening situations for houseless folks in our community. Those charged with and responsible for grant and government funds to provide safe spaces for those experiencing homelessness must communicate clearly and coordinate efforts.

In this time of need, with YCAP’s shelter closed for remodeling and YCAP not coordinating with other organizations, Elise asked YCAP board member Mary Starrett what was happening.

It seems Starrett was ousted from the board for taking this question to the director. This all seems like a very out-sized response to something that could have been simple.

I have had the experience of having a supervisor come down hard on me for asking a question. It was a big red-flag to me about the leadership.

When someone is honestly trying to get something done, and a question they have creates an extremely defensive reaction — in this case a punitive response, literally smearing the question-asker — I wonder what’s going on.

Why the ousting of a board member, why the attack? Surely it’s not too much to ask that leaders work together non-defensively when legitimate questions are asked.

Elaine Koskela


Vibrant, fully functional

Any proposed improvements to McMinnville’s Third Street will, of course, change the historic character of the downtown. The unsafe, non-accessible sidewalks will be gone, there will no longer be standing water in the gutters and street intersections, and unhealthy street trees will be eliminated.

My comments are in response to “Cherish the character” written by Phyllice Bradner. They are informed through degrees in landscape architecture from Iowa State University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, augmented by ensuing practice in the field.

I am grateful to all those who have shown vision in the current conceptualization, planning and design to restore Third Street to a safe, accessible, vibrant and fully functional environment for residents and visitors. I believe the city’s consultants have been fully briefed on the importance of McMinnville’s “old-fashioned character” and encouraged to propose improvements, as appropriate, to complement and blend with the existing fabric of the city.

Citizens of McMinnville should continue to be involved in completion of the final design. The details of the highly visible elements of the project will influence, if not dictate, the future character of Third Street.

However, I don’t accept that urban restorations of this type are obligated to always utilize “slick, modern attributes” in an attempt to appear historic. Thoughtful quality design, guided by local direction, will not sacrifice character but rather complement it.

Let us provide open-minded and realistic critique, including praise, as the final design is completed.

Peter Weher


Benefits for all

I’m offering a comment about more funding and possible sources of such funding for the Oregon Department of Forestry to combat wildland fires. Regarding a Jan. 3 Oregon Capital Chronicle article, I believe Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, D-Portland, to be correct in her statement that fighting wildland fires “is an all-Oregon Problem.”

Gifford Pinchot, first head of the U.S. Forest Service, once said, “Of all the foes which attack the woodlands of North America, no other is so terrible as fire.” As a forest manager who makes a family living from our timberland (Tripletree LLC since 1964), fire is our largest risk factor, followed by government regulations.
I have given thought to this particular article, and two legislators with differing ideas to increase and stabilize funding for ODF.

One would put the burden on timberland owners. But not all timberland owners, only the big rich guys. Little guys like me would be spared, of course.

This idea is wrong-headed. But it’s not at all surprising, as divide and conquer is a tried-and-true winning strategy.

The other idea, from Sen. Steiner, would spread the burden on all Oregonians. If taxes are to be increased, that makes common sense to me, because:
Fire knows no boundaries. It destroys wildlife habitat and kills wildlife that belong to all Oregonians, benefiting us all.

Fire pollutes the air we all share. It also damages the water quality we all share.

Fire destroys public property. It has burned whole towns to the ground, as with Detroit. And it damages or interrupts transportation lanes on public highways.
There are public benefits derived from funding firefighting costs for all Oregonians and all Oregon forests, both public and private.

Jim LeTourneux


Clear thinking needed

Mr. Currier seems to think his observation in Yamhill County of “now hiring” signs posted “on at least every other business” defeats Mr. Forve’s observation, “More people are working in America today than at any other time in our history.”

Mr. Currier is wrong on at least two counts.

First, what is true of the whole (America) is not necessarily true of one of its parts (one county in Oregon). To reason from a part to the whole is to fall into the fallacy of composition. To reason from the whole to one of its parts is to fall into the fallacy of division.

Second, the claim that more people are working in America today than at any other time in our history and the claim that every other business now has a hiring sign up are not contradictory. They both may be true at the same time. Perhaps employers are simply creating jobs faster than the labor market is growing.

Thus, as a matter of logic, Mr. Currier fails to make his case.

Coming down from the rarified heights of logic, let’s consider a little recognized reason why folks are not working: It costs too much.

Responsible parents with young children are paying $1,000 per child per month for quality daycare. Add to this the cost of appropriate clothing for work and transportation to and from work, both formidable obstacles.

We need to take to heart what British philosopher L. Susan Stebbing wrote in 1939: “I am convinced of the urgent need for a democratic people to think clearly without the distortions due to unconscious bias and unrecognized ignorance.”

Robert Mason


Keep it up

Thank you to the Bladine family and the News-Register team for finding creative ways to continue providing a local newspaper for Yamhill County, including the digital offer and News-Register Press Club offers.

I’m enjoying getting the digital copy three times a week, followed by the Friday edition in my mailbox. Holding and reading the newspaper on Friday night, or over the weekend, gives me a sense of place and bookends my week.

I have so many wonderful memories connected to the News-Register, including stories and photos of my grandparents, my parents, myself and my children.

The writing in the paper is excellent, from those who have passed through and made their mark. I include Carly Dubois, Karl Klooster, longtime local writer Starla Pointer, recent addition of Kirby Neumann-Rea with his Barrel Roll and Calendar of Quirk, Jeb Bladine with his weekly Whatchamacolumn, and more great contributors.

Keep writing! Keep publishing!

Travis Johnson


A third way

According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office, the largest number of registered voters in Oregon are not Democrats or Republicans but non-affiliateds.

Those of us who are non-affiliated are not beholden to party politics. We have chosen to opt out of the red versus blue war that is crippling our country domestically and weakening it internationally. So we can work on complicated governance problems freely without fear of stepping over party lines.

If you are interested in helping our country move beyond a duopoly, I urge you to look into independent candidates such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who represent values such as personal freedom, peace from wars, and equal justice for all. I challenge you to take a look beyond the catchy headlines about candidates and see what it is they truly believe.

When we leave the left versus right narrative behind, we help create a practical path forward for America.

Will you join other free-thinking Oregonians on this path? Our ability to keep our democratic system of governance may depend on it.

Ursa Shaw


Pricing us out

I treasure the News-Register for its epic effort to report news and opinion in a pluralistic fashion.

Not so much for Phil Forve, agribusiness executive with a degree in international economics (Viewpoints, Jan. 12), who apparently failed to notice that many of us now are shopping not only for groceries, but for gas.

For his information — I doubt he still buys diesel for his tractors — at Salem Costco the gas is $3, and in McMinnville the average is $3.80 per gallon. And it seems cheap.

The cost of a dozen eggs would encourage everyone to start a small live hen house in the backyard. Thanks to who? Modern economics?
Thank you for bringing your point to all the News-Register readers.

Stefano Perer


Lost its spark?

I’ve been enjoying the new digital format of the paper.

I appreciate the ease of downloading and reading it, but am stumped about how to use it to light my fireplace, as I have with previous editions.

Jim Gullo


The real danger

Attention has been focused on immigration and our southern border lately.

There’s no question that a nation should control who comes and goes through its borders, for the same basic reasons that I lock the door on my house. But our law allows immigration, and we benefit from it when it is done correctly.

U.S. agriculture depends on immigrant labor, and our population benefits because immigrants work hard for low pay, doing jobs that no citizen wants and keeping our grocery prices from multiplying even further.

On the other hand, you have immigrants like the bunch that attacked NYPD officers in broad daylight, then hopped a bus for California. Those guys should be met by the law, and deported after their prison sentences have been served.

While we fixate on poverty-stricken immigrants, there’s a more dangerous group that seems to escape our notice. We’ve all been hurt by members of this group, usually far more than by any immigrant.

These would be the men and women in $5,000 suits that inhabit corporate boardrooms, where they decide how badly they can gouge consumers and still get away with it. Whoever decided to double and sometimes triple the prices of necessities has done far greater harm to most of our lives than any border-crossing immigrant.

Fred Fawcett


The wannabe dictator

Several psychiatrists were interviewed in a documentary regarding Trump’s mental state. One of the psychiatrists said that when he examines human behavior, he always goes back to the chimps.

Jane Goodall researched chimps in the wild. She was accepted into the tribe; they trusted her.

That tribe, which I will call Camp One, grew large. Eventually, part of the tribe split off and started Camp Two somewhere else in the jungle.

One day an alpha male in Camp Two beat his chest and made loud noises. He proceeded to lead the males of Camp Two on a journey toward Camp One.

Along the way, they saw a male chimp and the males from Camp Two killed him. They then attacked Camp One, killed all the males, and took all the females and land.

The psychiatrists talked about the profile of dictators. They’re like the alpha male.

Putin, Hitler and the leaders of the Huns, Mongolians and Romans. So many, so much needless destruction and bloodshed.

The psychiatrists likened Trump’s mental state and behaviors to those of such dictators, concluding he’s a dangerous man.

A CIA officer, also interviewed, said Trump is too impulsive to be around the nuclear button. He said the military doesn’t allow anyone like him to be around nukes.

If elected, Trump wants total immunity for his actions. That’s a dictator talking.

He can do whatever he wants without ever being held accountable? That’s a dangerous position for someone with zero empathy and consensus diagnoses of psychopath and malicious narcissist.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to find out what he’s capable of.

It’s almost midnight. Let’s not allow him to push the clock hands forward another second.

Sheila Hunter



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