By News-Register staff • 

Allen Springer injured by gunshot

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Comments

BOC

Dear Jeb, Ossie and Steve,

When I was told of former commissioner Allen Springer’s injuries by a close friend of his family on Sunday afternoon I was saddened and began to hope and pray for his recovery and for his family.

When I read your front page story on Allen my heart sank again. I immediately thought of the meeting several years ago at your office where our former HHS Director Silas Halloran- Steiner and I visited with you about the importance of sensitivity surrounding the coverage of stories of suicide or suspected suicides. At that meeting Mr. Halloran- Steiner suggested you agree to a contract of sorts not to report on such events. I held a different view and was not in favor of asking the News Register to sign it. I held that media ought to make their own decisions based on their own code of conduct and responsibility to the community. At that meeting you agreed that sensitivity was paramount.

Our HHS team has worked to reduce the numbers of suicide attempts with aggressive programs and therapies and outreach programs.

I have spoken to therapists here who have literally saved lives precariously close to completing acts born of their desperation.
I sit on the Yamhill County Mental Health and Developmental Disability Advisory Board with members of our community who represent the very population we try so hard to serve.
.
Suicides are occurring more and more frequently and we know that those tragedies can sometimes result in others’ copying that behavior.
I never thought I’d be writing to you to about something so painfully egregious as your coverage of this story. And if the very coverage itself wasn’t in poor taste, there was a mean-spiritedness about it that was shocking.

This is a new low for your paper.
I ask others to pray for Allen and his family and resist the temptation to gossip and speculate.

Mary Starrett
Yamhill County Commissioner

Kmosi

I strongly second Commissioner Starret's sentiments. Why on earth would you highlight a persons suicide?

Allen's parents where like my grandparents growing up. I am so glad they are not around to see you throw Allen's personal struggles on your front page. How distasteful!

Allen has a wife and childern that are no doubt overwhelmed with grief and worry. This is the last thing they need. Please reconsider publishing about any future suicide attempts, and a public apology sure seems fitting.

Kim Mosiman

kstearns

The News Register did a great disservice to our community by sharing this tragedy as they did.

YES... educate about prevention, give out resources!

BUT do NOT make these events news. The family and friends need space and grace to process.

He has a family they deserve no less from us! This is their story to tell in the manon they wish.

You cause undue stress to a generation we are trying to protect right now. His parents were outstanding members of our community. They have many friends still living here and reading your paper. These people woke up this morning to not only hear the latest on the pandemic that has change there daily life BUT also to learned in a very harsh way their friends son had a PRIVATE traumatic event.

My morning started by take a call from one of these friends. This person was worried about others in their circle finding out in the paper. Many of these friend have under lying health issues...

This was not your story to tell! It's the family's!

Grace and space... and a little common curiosity would have gone a lone ways in this situation.

During this time in our history you have the opportunity to educate and build up our community or create stress and fear.

Think before they print!

kstearns

The News Register did a great disservice to our community by sharing this tragedy as they did.

YES... educate about prevention, give out resources!

BUT do NOT make these events news. The family and friends need space and grace to process.

He has a family they deserve no less from us! This is their story to tell in the manon they wish.

You cause undue stress to a generation we are trying to protect right now. His parents were outstanding members of our community. They have many friends still living here and reading your paper. These people woke up this morning to not only hear the latest on the pandemic that has change there daily life BUT also to learned in a very harsh way their friends son had a PRIVATE traumatic event.

My morning started by take a call from one of these friends. This person was worried about others in their circle finding out in the paper. Many of these friend have under lying health issues...

This was not your story to tell! It's the family's!

Grace and space... and a little common curiosity would have gone a lone ways in this situation.

During this time in our history you have the opportunity to educate and build up our community or create stress and fear.

Think before they print!

Christmas has Talons

Whenever I see a story published, in most any other media outlet, regarding someone's death or serious injury, and the cause isn't listed, I generally know it's from one of two things: suicide/suicide attempt, or overdose. Why? Because most outlets have the decency not to put a person's deeply personal struggles into print, especially if it goes against the family's wishes. I can't imagine Kerri wanting her husband's issues brought to light for everyone in Yamhill County to see, as if she didn't have enough of a struggle on her hands already. It is disheartening to see a relatively "small town" paper have such disregard for a person's privacy and dignity. I know Allen and Kerri well. I have campaigned with them, broke bread with them, and fellowshipped with them. Whatever was happening in Allen's life, he is a genuine article--someone who takes time to help others. Both of them are wonderful people. And this? I can't help but think that somewhere in this article past biases are playing a part. If that's true it's not just sad in this case, it's pathetic. The first thing I saw when I opened this page was the Covid-19 banner that dominates our new daily lives, seemingly at the top of every media outlet's webpage, with the words "The [NR] is striving to remain a viable community resource and information partner." Is that what this is? Caring about the community you serve and the ethics of information? Much of the rest of the article avoids speaking ill of him, but at that point it doesn't really matter, does it? You dropped the bomb at the very beginning and now all everyone will see is the action, leaving the family unfairly having to answer because of you. "Striving to remain." It should say "Struggling to remain," because that's really what you mean. Petty things like this are the reason why.

Mudstump

I read this article and assumed that this was an accident...UNTIL I read the comments. I don't think it was the News Register that revealed anything about Mr. Springer....thanks to the comments we now know that something more happened here.

myopinion

Yes Mudstump, same here.
So not only did I learn from the COMMENTS, that this was suicide, but am I'm picking up that he didn't survive? (Also from the COMMENTS)

Mudstump

Mary Starrett, Yamhill County Commissioner - As a county official I'm sure you are privy to information that the general public is not. You just inserted your big foot directly in your mouth. If it wasn't for your passionate letter the general public at large would have never known. Like me many would have just assumed this was a dropped gun or a gun cleaning accident. Now you have provided confirmation that this was an attempted suicide. Remember when you point your finger you have at least three pointed right back at you. Good job blowing this up and making everyone aware of this man's tragedy.

m or s

Strange irony at work. In Starrett's (and others) zeal to berate the NewsRegister staff for reporting personal and hurtful news to readers, she did what she blames the NewsRegister for: relaying personal and hurtful news to NR readers. Sometimes it is best to be quiet, or at least think before speaking.

treefarmer

"Mudstump" and "myopinion" - I was scrolling the comments and thinking about a response, I believe you said it well so I will add an "amen." As mentioned previously, I have been advised that the staff at our N/R has "thick skin." I hope that will remain the case as they read the caustic unwarranted (and in the case of Ms. Sterrett - the IRONIC) commentary. Sure seems beyond ill-considered to blame the messenger.

treefarmer

"Mudstump" and "myopinion" - I was scrolling the comments and thinking about a response, I believe you said it well so I will add an "amen." As mentioned previously, I have been advised that the staff at our N/R has "thick skin." I hope that will remain the case as they read the caustic unwarranted (and in the case of Ms. Sterrett - the IRONIC) commentary. Sure seems beyond ill-considered to blame the messenger.

treefarmer

"m or s" You posted while I was typing....amen to you too!

Kat758

Mudstump, treefarmer, myopinion, and m or s - I agree with all of you. I thought it was a gun accident as well until their confirmations were posted.

DG

Accidental shooting was the only thing to come to my mind until I read Ms. Starrett’s comment. I didn’t think anything of the article until you spoke up.

tagup

Seems to me that the circumstances surrounding Alan’s situation are less important than the tragic consequences to him, his family and friends, I spoke with Alan at the grocery store about a week ago and had an upbeat fun conversation...I never agreed with many of Alan’s political positions, but I enjoyed speaking and working with him when he built a house for me 20 years ago.....my thoughts are with his family and I hope he’s not gone.....

Hutch

After reading the NR article we thought Mr. Springer had a gun cleaning or similar accident.
And found the article flattering to his character. Rather glorifying him.

Until reading several of the previous comments we had no idea what had happened.
Tragic he was in such emotional pain!
It always is in these circumstances.
And always so painful for family and friends!

Now knowing the truth, we think the NR did respectful reporting on one of our county residents and civic leaders. The community has a right to know he was injured.
Police Chief is mentioned in the article, "he did not say how or why the incident occurred."




bonnybedlam

I don't know Mr. Springer except by reputation, as reported in the News Register. This article struck me as extremely respectful, and after reading it all the way through I had a sense of a fine, upstanding citizen with many accomplishments and a lot of friends. I hope the very best for him and his family following what sounds like a very unfortunate accident. It crossed my mind that it could have been deliberate, but it also says he's alive and that's good news.

Unfortunately, the first few commenters, in their eagerness to insert themselves in the story and show off their access to inside information, have exposed details the NR either had not confirmed or was unaware of. Now this kind man's own friends, so concerned with securing a place for themselves in the public record, have done the very thing they accuse the paper of, and worse. If this article hurts Mrs. Springer, that will be why.

Billy Jack

Let me try and be respectful and civilized.

I have read the article and I have read Commissioner Starrett's response.

My question is this: since Commissioner Starrett sits on the Yamhill County Mental Health and Developmental Disability Advisory Board, and since is likely bound by and Ethics code and/or privacy laws, did she violate her code of ethics and/or the privacy laws?

Let me take this a step further. If someone who works for the county mental health and/or developmental disability services did the same thing, what would be the outcome?

So, if there was an ethical and/or policy breach, there must be a resolution.

I highly suggest that someone way smarter than me research this.

We all make mistakes, which I am inclined to believe is what happened here, but if the ethical codes and/or laws have been violated, and I strongly believe they both have been, then there must be some kind of resolution.

Note the quote from the article "An investigation determined Springer had shot himself, McMinnville Police Chief Matt Scales said. He did not say why or how the incident occurred". This does not connotate "coverage of stories of suicide or suspected suicides". This only paraphrases the Police Chiefs response. Commissioner Starrett shared personal information by stating " I was told of former commissioner Allen Springer’s injuries by a close friend of his family on Sunday afternoon," and then she connected this to suicide.
Private/personal information was shared without consent.

rosebloomer

I don't know how this could have been reported any better on the News Register's part other than not report it at all which seems contrary to any news media outlet.

A shooting happened in our town, not reporting anything leaves people concerned that a shooter is on the loose. They reported what law enforcement told them and nothing else other than the majority of the article talking about Springer's accomplishments.

Any time you read a news report similar it leaves questions, the main one I was focused on was how someone could accidentally or otherwise shoot themselves "multiple" times.

Starett reporting that it was suicide and she knows it because someone who is a close friend of the family told her. This was indeed rumor spreading, "I heard it from someone who heard it" and then going on about all her experience working with and helping local suicide professionals. I'm sorry she chose to do that and others to reinforce and confirm "suicide". Not appropriate.

Angela

I wish we had the option of liking a comment to weigh in on agreement with what others have said. I thought this was an accidental. I didn't realize it was intentional until Mary's comments. It is unfortunate that she felt it necessary to inform the community of information only she had access to. It concerns me that she has access to so much private knowledge through her position. Do we have a way to limit her access to this kind of information for the client files she may have to review? Do the boards she is involved with have her sign a confidentiality agreement? My best thoughts are with his family. He and I didn't always agree, but he definitely seem to genuinely believe in the positions he took as an elected official.

yamhillbilly2

I have read and re-read the NR article on Mr Springer and don’t understand comments by Mary Starrett. How was this ‘mean spirited’? It was Mary’s comments that confirmed my suspicion that it sounded like a failed suicide. Why did she decide to share information she received through a close friend of the Springer family? Mary’s faux indignation about this is incredibly hypocritical.

jane

My husband read the article, then brought it to me as he was surprised that the NR reported it this way. I agreed with him and thought this was one of the most disgraceful things the NR has printed. We do not have any 'inside information', other than what we read on the Yamco Watch page (which did not name the victim). There are a couple statements in there that are very unnecessary and inexcusable.

Joel

My opinion is that the NR is justified in printing an article about Mr Springer because he is/was a public figure here in Yamhill county. What I didn't like was the tone of the article. It sounded to me like the author(s) of the article were subtly mocking the fact that he is religious and that he has spoken about being attentive to detail etc. It felt like they were saying "ha, fat lot of good his phony religious beliefs did for him".
I may be reading too much into it and I may be a bit oversensitive to that sort of thing. But I've long noticed that people who are not religious seem very gleeful when they "catch" a religious person not living up to their beliefs. I think it helps reduce their own cognitive dissonance about the meaning of life.

point guard

Well, Mother Theresa is at it again. Writing under the tag of BOC (Board of Commissioners). Is she representing a position and/or statement of the Board? Did the Board as a body authorize her comments? She states that when her and Silas met with the paper she was against any censorship. Now that the tides have changed she chastises the NR for doing the very thing that she favored at that meeting - having free rein. I think the NR did a professional job of stating the facts without any details, and honoring Allen for his service to the community over the years. Several comments here indicate that many, including myself, didn't know (or assume)that it was a "self inflicted" event until Mary Starrett opened her mouth. The sad part of her comments is that she portrays herself as someone who has care and concern for Allen and his family when in fact she didn't want anything to do with him when they served together on the Board. Her comments are disingenuous, and only another attempt by her to make some political hay out of what is apparently a tragic event. The "new low" belongs to Mary Starrett.

RobsNewsRegister

I was wondering that too Joel.

madmacs

I too assumed it was a gun accident until reading the comments. It seems to me the article was just stating facts about a public figure, there didn't seem to be anything mean spirited about it.

madmacs

I too assumed it was a gun accident until reading the comments. It seems to me the article was just stating facts about a public figure, there didn't seem to be anything mean spirited about it.

Mudstump

Joel - the religious/faith comments were direct quotes from Mr. Springer himself from previous articles indicating in his own words that God's word is the essential and highest code he lives by. It seems to me that the NR would be damned if they left that out.... and now you criticize them for leaving it in?

Respectfully, I think you may be reading too much into this.

Stay safe out there.

BC

When I read the NR article, I assumed the shooting was a misfire accident with one of his guns, not an attempted suicide. My spouse and I even discussed it as an accident, never considering it was anything but.

Someone must have more knowledge to have called it out in the comments since the NR didn't once hint at it.


hikerboy

Prayers to Allen and his family. I don't know what happened, but that's none of my business. I've known him for many years and although I haven't always agreed with his politics, I knew that he always had the best interests of our county at heart and he was always kind and open to listen to others. Peace and privacy to his family as he recovers.

Joel

Thanks Mudstump. You and I rarely agree on things, but I always appreciate the way you respond in a kind way.

macbeardad

“He applies those qualities to other aspects of his life as well. “If you’re going to do it, do it and do it right,” he said.” This was in reference to Springers meticulous attention to detail. What does this statement apply to if not to an implication that Mr. Springer did something? It implies his action in whatever happened and because it was multiple shots he suffered at his own hand, accidental shooting was certainly not what I thought when I first read this. In addition, of all the things and statements the NR has quoted from Mr Springer over the years, focus on his statements of faith seem out of context unless it is used to belittle his faith in light of him having apparently and intentionally shooting himself.
As to all the invectives aimed at Commissioner Starrett, she didn’t seem to read the article any different than I did or many others as to what it implies. While I do not accuse anyone who read it differently as being disingenuous, using that understanding to make a political point by criticizing Ms. Starrett seems politically motivated, opportunistic and extremely uncharitable.

David S. Wall

I met Allen Springer just a few years ago at an “Informal” BOC meeting in the “white house.” Mr. Springer was genuinely welcoming; cordial, respectful and gave me a short history lesson of his family’s longevity in our great state.

Like many of the previous commentators, I too think this is an accidental shooting.

Mary Starrett’s conduct is predictable.

She successful engineered a Board Order permitting a gate across a public road in her neighborhood. The “gate” would make her immediate neighborhood a “gated community.”

Starrett used her BOC status to “lobby” the legislature for the passage of [HB 3383] in the 2019 Regular Session as seen here:

https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2019R1/Measures/Exhibits/HB3383

Now she uses the moniker “BOC” and her alleged hearsay testimony from “a close family friend of [Mr. Springer]” to produce and publish a written opinion to; paint a picture of personal despair, followed by grandiose pontifications of dubious “mental health” achievements and finally a “dressing down” of the NR for writing and publishing a story that should not have been written.

Commissioner Starrett should have kept her mouth shut but she can’t when a moment under the “public spot-light” presents itself.

And if you think Starrett’s decision making is unacceptable, if “Starrett’s Mini-me” gets elected it is going to be orders of magnitude worse.

Absent any official facts in this matter, Mr. Springer had an accident.

Get well Allen.

Screw Starrett.

David S. Wall

Reason

The article above was factual. It did not suggest anything suspect or derogatory. It is tragic news and we need to be praying for recovery. Period. The below comments from BOC is quite alarming as she herself is promoting the very thing she claims to be against. A tone of gossip actually which is so common as I grew up in McMinnville. Allen is a God fearing man. A tragic accident has happened. Respect please, and stop the hypocrisy. Thank you.

Chris Chenoweth

I concur with Commissioner Starrett and others that have posted their negative reaction to this story. It did not serve to build community, it did the opposite. One commentator said "I don't know how this could have been reported any better", simply put, it could have gone unreported like so many stories in Yamhill County are.

tagup

Mr Chenoweth- had Ms Starrett not posted, most people would not have known the circumstances....it was not apparent from the story....

leo

Any chance of an update on Mr. Springer's condition?

John J. Collins

I read this article in the paper last week. I thought it was factual, respectful, circumspect and appropriate since Allen Springer is absolutely a well-known and well-recognized public figure in Yamhill County. Personally, I figured it was a gun accident. There are many thousands of accidental shootings in USA each year. After reading my wife and I shared our hope that he have a full and speedy recovery. Today (one week later) I read Commissioner Starrett's completely inappropriate comment online (above)! Sorry Mary, you are the one that has unleashed the rumor mill and gossip with your inappropriate and rambling comment, not the N.R!

Kat758

Why does Starret keep getting voted in? Maybe this time she showed her true colors and should be voted out eh?

Tuvey

I agree with Billy Jack. This sounds like an ethical breach by Starrett in her position on the Yamhill County Mental Health and Developmental Disability Advisory Board. Who would be the one to approach on this subject? HIPAA laws are very strict and leave no room for a breach like this. I will have to be content that someone who reads these comments will have the power to take action.
I will also add my comment that after reading this article I believed this to be an accident, didn't think for a moment that Mr. Springer was being ridiculed for his religious beliefs and added my prayers for a swift recovery.

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