By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

County commissioners officially end pursuit of Yamhelas Westsider trail

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A demoralizing day for Yamhill County. Thank you Mr. Kulla - it appears you did your best to present facts, logic, and fiscal responsibility. What a shame that fell on deaf ears.

Amity fan

Well imagine that, Mary Starrett accusing Leslie Lewis and Kathy George of "past boards’ malfeasance". Kathy George sounds like Al Gore - I was for it until I was against it. At some point we need to elect some true leadership to the county. The place is a mess. Big money special interests have bought the commissioners. The right wing extremists have taken this county into a deep pit, and there's no hope of it coming out. It's laughable that Berschauer touts her past experience in construction. The facts will show that there's a much different story than what she's portraying. All Starrett and Berschauer have done is drive a wedge into this community with their extremism, and its going to cost a lot of tax dollars. Its a schism that will dog this community for years.


I didn't vote for Kulla, but he had it right on this one. Sad day for Yamhill County.


I hope more great citizens like commissioner Kulla step up to the plate come election time, because the others are absolute garbage and have been destroying Yamhill county with death by a thousand cuts year after year. What a disgrace!


What a sad day for Yamhill County! While dismayed by the outcome of today's meeting regarding the trail, I wasn't surprised by Starrett's and Berschauer's decisions. However, I was horrified to watch Lindsay Berschauer's behavior. Her treatment of county staff is appalling, and her claim that past commissioners' decision were fraudulent is nonsense. The claims and opinions she spouted today throughout the meeting made it clear that she either did not take the time to find out the facts about the situation, or that she doesn't care about facts.

What a shame, what a shame... Shame on you, Commissioners Starrett and Berschauer, for playing to the special interests and not looking at the good for the whole of Yamhill County.


I can not begin to express how disgusted I am with this vote. What a terrible loss for the citizens of Yamhill County.


Mary Starrett and her minion, Berschauer, are clearly NOT pro-business at all! The potential revenue to local businesses has been knee-capped.
Lindsey's behavior today was appalling towards county staff! She is not a leader, she is a bully.


Shocked by the unprofessional lies and theatrics displayed by our newest commissioner. Multiple times after derogating staff and Commissioner Kulla and insinuating that they had lied and/or broken the law, Commissioner Berschauer was gently corrected but then would circle back around again and again. Although I believe that most of Freud's theories are bunk I can't help but think that her outrageous claims of misdeeds and sinister intentions revealed more about the inner workings of her own mind. Commissioner Kulla continued to show professionalism, the desire for collaborative problem solving (which includes an acknowledgement of the need to attend to past mistakes), and optimism despite being patronized ("kumbaya") and attacked by both Starrett and Bershauer. Kudos to effective and elected leaders who aren't bought by special interests and who see the wisdom in investing in our community. Time to roll up our sleeves and get rid of the other two.


Commissioner Berschauer is angry and rude to her colleagues and the staff of the county. She should be removed from office. If she is allowed to continue to abuse our county staff we will lose valuable people. We have dedicated staff who serve our county very well. To cast doubt on their integrity and service is only a tool she is using to make her supporters believe she is fighting for what is right and just. She is not. She is fighting for what her financial donors want her to fight, for their benefit, not the benefit of the county. Commissioner Starrett, as chair, is equally responsible for allowing Commissioner Berschauer to rudely talk about, and to, those who are serving our county as staff. They are not cardboard cutouts put up for her to throw beanbags at, they are real people with careers dedicated to the work that they do. To impugn their reputations with slanderous accusations of fraud is unforgivable and unforgettable. I almost forgot, this is about denying the people a recreational trail that could have served our community for many generations.


Unfortunately I saw this day coming as soon as I heard that Berschauer had won the election. She made her intentions very clear on how she intended to follow the wishes of her financial supporters and kill the trail. The voters of Yamhill county either weren't listening or didn't really care. What a sad day for Yamhill county. A once in a lifetime opportunity just has been thrown away!


Thank you to Commissioner Kulla for his level headedness, polite persistence and even handed representation of all Yamhill Citizens. Commissioners Starrett and Bershauer were an utter disgrace, rude, unprofessional, incompetent and clearly beholden to special interests. I hope all County voters were paying attention.

Bill B

I hope Mary Starrett and Linsey Berschauer enjoy their short time in office. I voted for both of them, but now recognize that was a huge mistake.


If they try to sell sections of the right of way to a few farmers so it could never be re-started would leave the county with a bunch of dis-connected land pieces that would be basically worthless. Can everyone who has land adjacent to the right of way afford to buy it? Is this just Lindsay’s way of paying back the big money supporters? Wake up people, we got screwed and we knew it was coming.


This disastrous vote will burden Yamhill County for years to come. I suggest we henceforth refer to the problems it creates as the Berschauer-Starrett Debt, but we could shorten it to BS.
Thank you, Commissioner Kulla, for trying so patiently to present the facts and produce the result hoped for by the people.


I guess economic growth for business in the McMinnville and Hwy 47 corridor is not a priority for two of our commissioners.
That, along with a big hit to the county budget from this decision, a clear lack of concern for the health of county citizens during a pandemic , and a profound failure to take an ethical stand on a local State Rep should show every county voter exactly the type of “ leadership” we currently have.
Small people with big egos and no vision for the future of the county......


Thank you Mary Starrett and Lindsey Berschauer!!! I am so glad I won't have people hiking through my backyard.


Your backyard?......better check your deed....


This forum, and the responses on Facebook, and no doubt the messages sent to the BOC, appear to indicate the will of the people. The citizens of Yamhill County need to DEMAND that the trail issue is revisited.

We have NOT been represented and this anti-democratic “decision” is an outrage.


This is SUCH a short-sighted decision by Bershauer and Starrett. These trails are very successful in other areas of Oregon and throughout the US. They provide safe recreational opportunities and have bolstered local businesses around them. (The Banks-Vernonia trail is a prime example). Instead, these two are ignoring the needs and wants of the majority of their constituents to please their donors and a few wealthy property owners. Their decision will cost the county dearly in many ways. Shame on them!! Thanks to Comm. Kulla for being a bright spot on this Commission and recognizing the value this trail represents.


Recall BS. There is a process for that if someone has the energy to push it through.

Can You Hear Me?

I really can't believe the commissioners ignored the overwhelming support for the trail by their constituents in favor of their big donors. To think this sort of thing is acceptable to Starrett and Berschauer, is chilling and telling. How about problem solving and supporting a healthy recreational opportunity for families? How about supporting all the local businesses who would benefit economically? Really. What the heck??? I'm utterly dumbfounded. Thank you, Kulla for trying your best on behalf of the People. We remember and we vote.


What a waste, I won't vote for either of them again.


We are in a time of great sadness. Conspiracy theorists are a scourge on our democracy. Many of those who push for “taking back America” including those who stormed the Capitol, also tell us that 9/11 didn’t happen, that the Challenger didn’t happen and man never landed on the moon. They also tell us that Covid is not real and the vaccine will change our DNA. We seriously need to recall Starrett and Berschauer. Casey Kulla is the only logical, intelligent and caring member of the BOC.


Starrett and her minion are an embarrassment to the county.


It was always clear that the trail would be in jeopardy if another “conservative” commissioner got elected. And this is Yamhill County, after all. But Berschauer’s style, aggressive, abusive, disrespectful, uncontaminated by factual knowledge and understanding, seems particularly out of place as we as a country are trying to move on from all that.
And it’s not like this comes as a surprise. It’s disheartening how many of our fellow voters succumbed to the gotcha appeal of this candidate at the last election. Now the bills are starting to come due.


So nice to finally have conservative voice's in the majority. Keep fighting for us Lindsay and Mary


Berschauer & Starrett are cut from the same ideologically rigid, fact-rejecting, conspiracy theory-loving fabric as Trump and his brainwashed cult. Throughout last Thursday's BOC meeting, Berschauer - who was substantively unprepared as she ignorantly waved black & white photos that had no relationship to the point she thought she was making - abused her position as an elected public official by hurling preposterous accusations of "malfeasance" and "fraud" at the County's professional staff and at Commissioner Kulla. Board Chair Starrett should have called Berschauer out of order for her inappropriate & slanderous verbal attacks, but Starrett is clearly happy to allow Berschauer - the kindred extremist zealot she recruited & groomed - to bark & bray to advance their shared interests, while Starrett performs her charade of "reason." This commissioner tag-team majority is bought by special interests, and neither cares about serving all the residents of this county. Neither gave an iota of consideration to the large number of county residents who expressed support for the trail project, and neither commissioner even considered mediation/compromise, as both came to recent BOC meetings with an agenda that mirrors that of their significant campaign donors. The outcome was predetermined, and that is a kick-in-the-face to all the people in this county who support using this publicly-owned (former railroad) land to create a multi-use recreational trail. It is a travesty for two reasons: One, it stops further work to complete the trail; and two, the failure to take up the most recent LUBA remand means Yamhill County - on the taxpayers' dime - is on the hook for about 2 million dollars. And of course, a nearly-completed bridge intended to be part of the trail is now - literally - a trail to nowhere. Way to go, Trumpster commissioners!


This trail was the brainchild of the largest Republican donor in the county and was approved by a majority conservative board from the start. To say this project was a liberal conspiracy is just plain Q fantasyland. Now we have a massive debt to repay the state. How is the good for the county or for the businesses that could have benefitted from this incredible asset? We demand a recall for MS and LB.


I'm not in the know here at all and had just started reading up on this mess. The one thing I thought was odd was that the county started applying for and receiving grants for the trail before all of the land was secured. Was that indeed the case? Maybe I was reading something posted by one side or the other. Was part of the land actually privately owned? Just curious.

M. Lazzeri

This decision is very short sighted and nakedly political in the worst sense.


I'm surprised the history of this land hasn't been mentioned much.

A rail line was in place for decades. Farmers hated it, but knew they had to put up with it. The railroad company decommissioned it, but the rail cars sat in place for years. Farmer hated that too. Finally, the rail cars were removed leaving empty tracks and ties. Farmers hated it. The tracks and ties were finally removed and recycled and farmers rejoiced.

Landowners in the area have enjoyed an absence of activity on the strip of property they don't own. Now, the trail is proposed and they freak out. Whatever the land use laws in Oregon are, it defies common sense for landowners next to the strip of land to act as if their "rights" are being violated. Come on. I don't really care one way or the other if the trail gets built, but I do think it is ridiculous that anyone can fight development of land they don't own, and had a history of not being able to control.


You should never change horses midstream! Oh, well. It seems that we now have a $2,000,000 dead-end trail. By the way, who is going to pay for this trail to nowhere? I'm still puzzling over how any of this places "Yamhill First" ...