By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: No bets, Bernie, on Clinton-Trump vote

I missed Sunday’s party, when McMinnville Area Habitat for Humanity celebrated the organization’s new Aspire subdivision and 25 years of contributions to Habitat by co-founder Bernie Turner.

News about the event prompted a few “episodic memories” about Bernie. That kind of thing seems to happen to me more often in recent years — you know, when you can’t remember what you had for breakfast yesterday while accessing detailed recollections of experiences decades ago.

We supposedly have infinite storage capacity for long-term memory, which can be procedural (how to do things), declarative (facts and knowledge) or episodic (events and personal experiences). Here are just a few of my episodic memories involving Bernie Turner:


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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During a time about 40 years ago, I fell into a regular series of handball games at Linfield College with Bernie, Ad Rutschman and the late Ted Wilson. And yes, as I recall, the presumably mild-mannered Baptist pastor was a terror on the handball court.

Skip forward about 15 years to Bernie’s fair-handed organization of a volatile community meeting related to the local school strike. He wasn’t exactly a fan of our editorial position at the time, but I remember him recognizing that some of the local rancor toward our newspaper coverage was misdirected.

Then there was the time Bernie and I made a friendly bet on a certain high-passioned presidential election. The loser, we decided, would donate $100 to the winner’s favorite charity. Someone, who shall remain nameless, formally accused me of illegal betting on elections, leading to an investigation by the state Elections Division.

Bernie, as I recall, considered it all somewhat amusing that his old handball partner temporarily was twisting in the wind, but I still refused to divulge his identity to state officials.

So what, you might ask, does any of this have to do with Habitat for Humanity creating Turner Way as the roadway alongside its latest affordable housing project? Well, nothing, I suppose — except, perhaps, that many people in the community have cherished episodic memories that involve Bernie Turner, and I suspect more than a few of those memories were recalled after this week’s story.

As luck would have it, next week Bernie and I will join a small breakfast meeting that has nothing to do with handball or Habitat. I won’t be surprised, however, if talk turns to yet another high-passioned presidential election — but no betting this time!

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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