By News-Register staff • 

Starrett declares 'showdown" for Thursday's commissioners' meeting

Yamhill County Commission President Mary Starrett is threatening to withhold a letter of accreditation for the county Health Department in order to get her way regarding posting what she believes are COVID-19 treatment and prevention methods.

"This Thursday, we're going to have what I call a showdown," Starrett told a gathering of the group Free Oregon on Friday, Jan. 24, referring to the Thursday, Jan. 27 Board of Commissioners meeting.

The Free Oregon meeting, held in Canby, was livestreamed with a live audience present.

"That is, uh, we're going to say this is what we want on the website, and we also have what, and I think God is so amazing because in this timing, there is a letter, where the Board of Commissioners has to sign, to submit a letter of support to the Public Health Board to be able to accredit your Public Health Department," Starrett said in a four-minute speech.

She continued, "It just came on the agenda last week. We pulled it off and said, let's talk about it next week. So we're going to make sure they either say, yes, we're going to put this stuff on the website, which talks about some of the early treatments and talks about how these numbers are completely and utterly false, or you're not going to get your letter."

The accreditation matter is scheduled under old business, as it was continued from the Jan. 20 session, when it was introduced. The board meets at 10 a.m., in virtual session; for access visit

Accreditation is an optional certification issued by the nonprofit Public Health Accreditation Board, which describes it on its website as "a measurement of health department performance against a set of nationally recognized, practice-focused and evidence-based standards, and development, revision and distribution of public health standards." Yamhill County first achieved accreditation in 2016, one of 11 agencies nationwide. In 2021, PHAB issued 13.

Neither Starrett nor County Administrator Ken Huffer could be reached for comment before the print deadline for Tuesday's paper.


In her Free Oregon speech, Starrett criticized the Oregon Health Authority in addition to her own county's health department, and questioned the need for pandemic regulations. She asked, "What's the point at which this no longer is an emergency? What's the point at which we don't have to do the masking and all that?"

Without citing specifics, Starrett in her Free Oregon remarks claimed, "I think when we take a look at the data that's coming out of the Oregon Health Authority, it is absolutely based in a narrative that can no longer stand up."

The action, she said, will result in one of two things: "That will either mean I don't get reelected, at which point it's fine. If I do get reelected, it's fine. But what we're going to say is 'you pick, you got a letter of approval to do your public health work or you don't.' So, I don't know. This is a really difficult decision to make because it's suicidal, could be suicidal, but I also think it's time we start doing stuff like this."

She both referred to "the variant of the week" and noted that "there a lot of variants out there, and, uh, as many letters as there are in the Greek alphabet. So what we did was we went in, I said to our Public Health director (Lindsey Manfrin), 'we need to see some balance on this website.' And she pushed back and pushed back. I said, 'okay, we're going to go to the full board.' And we went to the full board. And we said, 'we want to see some data that shows early treatment, prevention and these numbers are completely and utterly untrue.'"

Starrett and fellow commissioner Lindsey Berschauer in early January renewed their efforts to try to require County Health to post information on its website about unproven home treatment regimens and questionable data, a goal the two elected officials have periodically addressed for months.

In response, the commissioners earlier this month convened the County Health Board to review the suggestion of adding data and health information. No action was taken.

Starrett urged the Free Oregon audience to "strike at the root. Your (state) Health and Human Services Department gets millions and millions of dollars from the Oregon Health Authority. They're all earmarked. You have to do certain things with all of these dollars. So they, that you know, the Golden Rule, he who has the gold makes the rules. Just make sure that you are going to your Commissioners, and you're telling them that you do not want to be an accomplice to what's happening to people's lives because they're not getting a true story. And then go to your public health departments and then make a stink and get the name of your health, your public health director, and your and their Health and Human Services director. And then start a campaign, start writing letters, start just putting their name out there and asking for some clear true data. Because if we don't strike at the root, this is going to continue."

Free Oregon, Inc. is a 501c4 public benefit company whose website states is "focused on the preservation of American Civil Liberties. The United States Bill of Rights, which protects citizens from government tyranny, is under attack by elected officials and government operatives driven by radical political ideologies."





Mac Grizzly

More drama, more wasted time and money, more political hyperbole, more from B&S. Once again, what has Mary or Lindsey done to actually help the citizens of the county productively deal with the pandemic? NOTHING! They seem to think that because they are elected officials they know more than the professionals. For her to attack the credibility of Lindsey Manfrin is an absolute disgrace. Every citizen in Yamhill County should be outraged!!!


OMG, it is obvious that Starrett stays up late to devise new and ever more sinister ways to endanger and humiliate our county. There must be SOMETHING we can do to defang this dangerous demagogue. Ideas?

David Bates

More than 3,800 new cases of Covid have been recorded in Yamhill County just this month, half of which have been posted in the last WEEK, and it's this moment that Commissioner Starrett thinks "we should start doing stuff" like adopting a "suicidal" approach to public policy by going after your own public health department's accreditation? In a pandemic? Do I have that right?


I used to be a supporter of Starrett. After seeing her reckless and, quite frankly, insane approach to COVID-19, I cannot imagine a scenario where I will ever vote for her again. Do they not realize they are telling their supporters information that could potentially kill them? Not smart. Very disappointed in this.


This is so alarming. Mary Starrett is a crackpot who is holding our county hostage. VOTE HER OUT!!!


Two "elected official[s] ...driven by radical political ideologies" in our County are B&S. They are a danger to the citizens of this county and seem to have no interest in actually doing the job they were elected to do. They need to go ASAP.


The pearl-clutching is strong with this one.


Demagogues like Starrett and Berschauer are only giving people like Rotwang what they want: empty, overheated, scientifically ignorant, paranoid drivel. Natural selection will take care of their followers, but it’s a shame the rest of us have to accept a lower quality of life to accommodate their childish worldview.

Mac Grizzly

aesquire - To me the bigger issue is that while all this wasted time is taking place, the core business of the county is being ignored. The place is a hot mess while BS are cavorting around with their cronies forwarding their extremist political platforms. What I strongly felt would happen when Berschauer was elected has indeed come to pass - she simply enabled Starrett by being the second vote necessary to forward her agenda. This is a Lewis/George replay on steroids.


So now the false idol Starrett is dragging God over to her shrewish side. I don't believe He will follow her.


Mary "MacGruber" Starrett

Erin C.

@treefarmer: I believe Doris Towery has announced a run for Starrett's Commissioner seat.


Mary Starrett has opted for the nuclear option when she should just allow the prevailing science and the Health Department to serve the communities of Yamhill County's best interest. Instead she has resorted to playing the part of a terrorist and is trying to hold an already overwhelmed Public Health Department as her hostage. She no longer represents Yamhill County, but is the pawn of fringe organization that like to disseminate false information or even go so far as to storm the US Capitol.
The only good thing to come of this will be that the voters of Yamhill County will finally see what a tyrannical despot Mary Starrett is and opt to NOT vote for her when that time comes about. Starrett needs to find another hobby where she is best suited: like joining the Jihadists determined to overthrow all that is good and natural.


30% of ALL the Covid Cases ever reported in Yamhill County have happened since January 1st. Just because we haven’t heard of many deaths yet doesn’t mean people aren’t hospitalized and dying. Starrett’s actions are putting our neighbors at risk… and Berschauer is enabling her. It’s appalling, and I hope voters remember this in the coming months.


I hope everyone remembers how Lindsay is facilitating Mary in her insanity when the recall gets here. We can,t get rid of her fast enough. These two ‘witches’ have to go! Neither of them is working in the best interest for the majority of Yamhill county residents, they only care about themselves and the fringe COVID deniers.


I think she likens herself to "Mother Carmody" in that Stephen King movie "The Mist". It feels like we're all trapped in the grocery store with Mary right now.


It appears someone is in need of a relaxing, soothing, lengthy rest at Whispering Pines or Happy Acres.


Here is a site compiling studies of both new treatments and studies of existing meds from all over the world that updates regularly as more data comes in. It is run by doctors and links directly to the published study. I am still in shock how those in the Left have 100% faith in Big Pharma. I'd rather trust a big bank. I am glad for their treatments and vaccines but also choose not going to wholesale ignore the 20,000 existing drugs and their countless combinations. Isn't that what government is for? Why isn't our government doing more large-scale double-blind studies on cheap generics? Why do we pay taxes? Big Pharma will always develop new treatments for which they make billions. Shouldn't government lead the charge in research into generics, especially at the beginning of any new pandemic since by definition knowledge regarding risks and interactions is well known? Do the large studies and let the chips fall where they may, but please, someone in government, do the LARGE-scale double-blind controlled trials.


Guess the threat was just a political stunt for the base....Yamhill county deserves better....

Mac Runner

Wishing we had gone for the 2-for-1 recall effort vs. just recalling LB. Talk about ridiculous political maneuvering. I wonder if the attorney Tyler Smith that taxpayer's are paying for provided her some advice that not signing the letter until demanded changes were made is the legal definition of extortion? Meanwhile, in other news we surpassed the 6,000th death here in Oregon today - which includes "a 26-year-old woman from Yamhill County who tested positive Dec. 16, 2021, and died Dec. 25, 2021, at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed." We need to remove these two radical extremists to protect our county, rather than continue to let these two commissioners blindly follow right-wing PACs and organizations like Free Oregon, OFF, Parents Rights in Education, Oregonians for Medical Freedom. While they have their political "showdowns" we foot the bill and all of us suffer because they aren't doing the work of county commissioners - this includes collaboration with their own staff, as well as city and state leaders. Hopefully folks who voted for them are seeing that their reckless behavior is causing death, division and destruction. What a train wreck!

Erin C.

@Mac Runner. Actually, Tyler Smith is the registered agent and attorney for Free Oregon the group Mary Starrett was speaking to when she made these threats. (And he's also Commissioner Berschauer's relative through her ex husband).


In today's meeting, Commissioner Starrett made sure to call out that she had seen inappropriate comments submitted in the public comment.

I just scanned all 290 pages of public comment, and I found nothing that approached a threat, or even name calling, unless you consider ""honestly you sound a lot like a bully" to be name calling.

It's not surprising, but it is really disappointing that in backing down from her threats, Starrett felt it would be appropriate to insinuate that people who disagreed with her would not be able to do so in an appropriate manner.
Read for yourself:


Megan, tried your link but cannot find the comments you mention?

Joel R

After reading this article and all of these comments it seems to me like this whole obsession with Starrett and Berschauer is just a great big middle school lunchroom drama Llama free for all. Good Lord people let it go. Grow up and go find something constructive to do. At the bare minimum get off your screen and get out for a walk. The sunrises have been beautiful.


Malfeasance & dishonesty should never be Ignored.....


Mary Starrett is obviously flat-out jealous of Lindsey Manfrin, which appears to be the motivation behind her irrational, personal diatribes.


Joel R - not if Mary Starrett has her way they won't be. :)

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable