Letters to the Editor: May 29, 2015

Remember our other crops

Wine grapes are a welcome recent addition to Yamhill County agriculture, but it’s important to remember this area’s very long and productive agricultural history.

Northern Yamhill County was one of the breadbaskets of the nation, beginning in 1832 when a group of fur trappers petitioned the Hudson Bay Company through John McLaughlin for wheat seed. French Prairie, outside Newberg near the site of present-day Woodburn, still bears this history.

Fast forward to settlers who traveled the Oregon Trail. Ewing Young built a large ranch outside Newberg on Chehalem Road, leading to statehood from a vote at Champoeg. Cattle and crops were the early necessities provided by the early Yamhill County farmers

By 1950, the area was in full production. The McMinnville area became the proclaimed turkey capital. The Berriens, a Newberg civic group, promoted that area’s many acres of cherries and berries.

Hazelnut and walnut production included a significant processing plant in Dundee; Brooks Prunes were produced by the John Brooks family nursery dating to 1890 in Lafayette.

Strawberries, boysenberries, corn, beans and other crops were produced on vast holdings of the Alderman farms, Kreder farm, Kauer farms and others, and many still remember working on summer picking crews. For many years, Carlton was the hub of the Coast Range lumber harvest.

All around McMinnville, cover crops of vetch and clover were grown for seed sold heavily in the Southeast, and barley was grown for beer breweries in the Midwest. Grass seed, with worldwide sales, was especially prized in Japan, and grain stored with McDaniel Grain Co. was shipped to India during a famine at mid-century.

The list goes on. So, while welcoming wine grapes and the industry built around them, we should not forget the rich history — and current diversity — of Yamhill County agriculture.

Donna Jean and Jim McDaniel


Other ways to help

Service work is often defined as going abroad and serving in another country or volunteering with an organization in town, but what most people do not realize is that service work can be done a little closer to home.

A family of seven recently moved to our valley from California. Together, they have had to adjust and adapt to a new job, new schools and to Oregon’s ever-changing weather. In addition, they are no longer close to friends and family.

To give the parents a chance to relax, I offered to watch the kids for a night so they could go out for dinner by themselves. Upon returning, I asked them how their dinner was, to which the mom replied “It was nice to not have to constantly be taking the kids to the bathroom.”

It really is the little things in life that make us the happiest.

We often forget just how much our parents have done for us. Oftentimes, we take all they do for granted. Doing something in return can mean a lot, even if it’s something small and minor.

In light of Mother’s Day just passed and Father’s Day coming up, be thankful for your parents and help them out.

Hayley DeHaan


Give us all facts

Planning how to use available land and resources to build permanent structures is a challenging, often divisive process, especially in a democracy.

Oregonians are justly proud of how our laws contain the growth of cities and still keep open land in the country. To work effectively, these laws need citizen participation and news outlets informing the affected public about all sides of a proposed plan before any construction is approved.

The local planning department has done a disservice to McMinnville residents on Northwest Hill Road by not informing them of the ramifications of a proposed plan to annex a 20-acre parcel of farmland there into the city limits.

The applicant is proposing to build a 165,000-square-foot building the size of the McMinnville hospital and a large amphitheater. The latter “would be for large-scale events, drawing visitors ... to McMinnville year-round.”

I wonder if the residents of Northwest Hill Road are willing to accept such an addition to their neighborhood. I wonder how many are even aware of the details of this proposal. I also wonder why the See Ya Later Foundation intends to compete with the Yamhill County Fairgrounds for outdoor events, now that the property is finally operating in the black.

The planning process for any city or town becomes more divisive and complex when important details of a proposal are not provided by the responsible planning agency and when local news outlets report only the feel-good parts of the proposal.

Local residents deserve all the pertinent facts of any application to annex property to the city limits. To thrive, an active functioning democracy needs this much.

Jim Parker


Immigrants deserve praise

As executive director of Unidos Bridging Community, I offer congratulations to a very special group of 26 hardworking and motivated new graduates.

These students, immigrants from five different countries, just completed the 12-session course on U.S. History and Government. As part of their journey to become naturalized citizens of the United States, they must pass an oral exam taken from a list of 100 questions.

Can you answer these questions? Name one of the authors of the Federalist Papers. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful? How many amendments to the Constitution have been added?

Since 2012, two nonprofit organizations in Yamhill County have collaborated to provide these classes, free of charge, at least three times a year. Unidos Bridging Community and Lutheran Community Services have engaged 80 volunteers to teach and assist in 11 courses, reaching more than 320 students. We are grateful to Chemeketa Community College, McMinnville Cooperative Ministries, Newberg Friends Church, Dayton Baptist Church, St. James Catholic Church, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, and San Martin Catholic Church for hosting our classes.

We are proud of our students, most of whom are also working full time and raising families. We are thrilled when our graduates report they have navigated the path to citizenship and are now voting members of our communities.

Immigrants have been the backbone of our county’s economy. We also look forward to the evolving leadership of immigrant citizens in the civic affairs of Yamhill County’s communities.

Sally L. Godard


Schools right to exclude kids

The Yamhill County Health Department was right to exclude six students from the Yamhill-Carlton School District from school for 21 days after a case of pertussis (whooping cough) was diagnosed at the school. None of the excluded children had been vaccinated.

Excluding children from school at any time is a matter to be avoided whenever possible. However, the safety of our children must always be paramount. Whooping cough can be a serious, occasionally fatal, disease. To allow unvaccinated children to attend school where pertussis was diagnosed would be to irresponsibly expose them to significant risk. The responsibility for this exclusion from school rests with the parents who chose not to vaccinate, not with the health department.

The effectiveness of pertussis vaccine does wane over time, so after five years, only seven of 10 children will be fully immune. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the remaining three will be protected from serious disease. Unvaccinated children are 100 percent susceptible and have zero protection from serious disease. For their safety and the safety of all, temporary exclusion is necessary.

The anti-vaccine crowd can sit astride their sanctimonious high horse and decry the risks of vaccines, real and imagined, precisely because the rest of us protect their kids from disease by immunizing our own children. I wonder if they want all of us to abandon vaccinations and let childhood diseases again ravage the population, or if they prefer for us to continue to shield their kids by keeping epidemics at bay.

In the early 20th century, the Anti-Vaccination League howled at the “medical tyranny” of immunizations against smallpox. Fortunately, the Supreme Court disagreed and upheld mandatory vaccines “for the common good.” Today, smallpox does not exist.

For the common good, and common sense, let’s continue to prevent preventable diseases.

Scott Gibson



I am glad to hear that Mr. Parker is seeking all the facts regarding the development of certain property, because he needs them. Unless I missed something in the earlier reporting on this, there has been no application, yet, to annex this property into the city limits. What was requested was consideration of expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary; they are two very different things.



I also wonder if Jim resides in the measure 37 complex that was only made possible by the SYL plot being purchased. (not by SYL, it was donated to them) It's always nice to see a group of individuals taking full advantaged of city services (minus water) while paying county tax rates.

one could argue M37 Complex is one of the greatest non paying benficiares of the recent passed transportation bond. Get to skip the city tax increase, avoided the city SDC rates on building, an all the while will enjoy a fully redesigned county to city standard road development.

Their was plenty of Res zoned land inside the UGB when the country estates slipped through a short gap in land use laws. Not the case for Commerical, an for the last 30 years I've been around its been a basic grass seed field, far from "prime farm land" 1 + 1 = 2 so if SYL is prime farm land wouldnt the housing complex be as well?

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