Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 1, 2007)
voice letters to the editor
Readers Lend Their Voices...
To the Editor:
Had enough division?
It is time for a breather. The only Vernonians who
don’t understand that the publishers of The Indepen-
dent don’t like Dick Kline must be either small chil-
dren or blind, deaf and dumb. We all get their points.
The City Council blew the hiring process. The city
staff, including Kline, is not perfect. There are people
in Kline’s past that definitely do not wish him well (or
so the rumor mill runs.) At this point, with Kline run
out of town, the only thing missing from this story is
the tar and feathers.
Personally, I try to talk with everyone who will share
their opinion on civic matters, particularly when we
disagree. In that spirit, I have had a couple of frank
talks with Noni Andersen, Clark and Rebecca Mc-
Gaugh about Dick Kline. I believe that they genuinely
feel a weight of responsibility as newspaper people to
probe, explore and explain to the public the real work-
ings of their city government. I welcome such vigor on
the part of Vernonia’s Fourth Estate – we could have
used more of that during the last several years.
Nevertheless, there comes a time when all those who
are paying attention have already been thoroughly sen-
sitized to the issue(s) at hand. Once that has happened,
the press has done its job, and it is time to move on
to different news. I believe that we passed that point
some time ago. Unfortunately, The Independent con-
tinues to look for fault, any possible fault, with Kline
and his administration.
In fairness to The Independent, I think the City Gov-
ernment (lock, stock and barrel) has clammed up in
response to the barrage of criticism leveled by The In-
dependent, in person and in the paper. I believe this
strategic error has inflamed The Independent; however,
I certainly understand the City’s frustrated response.
What do the Vernonia Community Learning Center,
the OA Hill Bike/Pedestrian Project, our historically
pathetic budgeting system, and the $15 million sewer
project proposed in May of 2006, all have in common?
They are projects and systems started by previous ad-
ministrators that have become lightning rods for deliv-
ering criticism against Dick Kline. With this kind of
political memory at work, Vernonia will surely join the
rest of America in blaming the next President for los-
ing in Iraq.
The latest example is the “Dumpster Scandal.” Appar-
ently, a dumpster overflowed at Anderson Park during
Jamboree. It was a topic of considerable finger wag-
ging at a recent City Council meeting and was a lead
story in The Independent. Surely, miscommunications
and staff oversights in any organization are never a
good thing. However, one of our Council members
said it best, “If this is all there is to complain about, we
must be doing pretty well.” Hear, hear!
I believe that Kline has worked very hard for Vernonia.
My support for him is actually a reaction to what has
seemed like an attempt to railroad him out of his job.
Sadly, that train has left the station.
It is now a little late to ask what caliber of person is
likely to apply for Kline’s job. City Administrator/
Manager positions are notoriously insecure and hard to
fill. Why would someone risk coming to a community
where the press drove the predecessor from office?
The saddest part of this story is the profound discon-
nect between the staff of The Independent and those
who object to its focus on finding fault with the admin-
istration. It was truly sad to see Noni, Clark and Re-
becca make the case that they are only the messenger in
this saga. Frankly, that argument rings false when one
compares the litany of negative press with the complete
absence of any serious error or wrong-doing. Holding
our leaders accountable is an essential role of the press.
However, it must be leavened with wisdom, something
that has been conspicuously absent this last year. The
focus was on the trees, not the forest, like so much of
our public debate this year.
Vernonia’s staff, its volunteer Council and committee
members work hard to make our town a better place.
They all deserve to be treated with respect even when
they are wrong. Occasionally, according that respect
will involve looking past the occasional overflowing
dumpster to the larger work that staff and volunteers
are trying to do on our behalf. I will always opt for a
free press with full access even if it leads to the absurd
negativity we have recently seen in Vernonia. How-
ever, a little forbearance in calling out imperfections
can go a long way toward building community.
To the Editor:
Dick Kline--A Fine City Manager
I wanted you folks in Vernonia to know that Dick Kline
has a whole army of support and I am one of them. Mr.
Kline came to our economically disadvantaged town,
Cornelius, in 2001. He fired up everyone’s confidence
and enthusiasm. He streamlined city staff, organized
the budget and turned business and civic leadership to-
ward a healthy future. He earned respect and invest-
ment for this town and help us pick ourselves up by our
Dick oversaw a staff team that raised over $10 million
in federal, state and county grants for public improve-
ments. He supported planning and strong partnerships
with neighboring jurisdictions, Metro and the State.
Dick and Mary, his wife, helped rejuvenate the Cham-
ber of Commerce, Booster Club, Nut’n Berry Festi-
val, and even a visitors center. He trained city staff
in business friendly customer service and succeeded in
attracting commitments of over $100 million in private
Like hundreds of people in Cornelius, I count Dick as a
good friend. I was very sorry to see him go as a result
of our political turmoil in 2005.
our local rivers and streams, while raising money to
give back to local charities.
Salmon Festival makes money from the following ac-
tivities: T-shirt sales, Knee Deep In Salmon Auction,
Vendor Fees, and the traditional trout pond, scarecrow
stuffing, and pumpkin carving.
Salmon Festival proceeds go to: Pay expenses; trout for
fishing pond, scarecrow making supplies, live musical
acts, tent rental, Scout Cabin rental, electricity, and
advertising. We set aside contingency money for next
year’s festival, and the remainder is given back to local
charities. Past recipients of Vernonia Salmon Festival
- Vernonia Cares Food Bank
- Hands On Art
- VHS Boosters
FYI: Knee Deep In Salmon Auction
In the Knee Deep In Salmon Artist Competition, artists
pay an entry fee to enter the competition; they pay for
all materials/supplies used to decorate their fish. Then
they graciously donate/hand back their completed fish
(in its entirety, no artists rights retained) to the Vernonia
Salmon Festival for auction. All reserve price decisions
on fish to be auctioned are made by Vernonia Salmon
Festival Committee. Many artists have many hours and
dollars into their pieces.
All fish entered in the competition start with a 50.00
reserve price, some fish were previously bid upon at
the “Knee Deep In Salmon Fish Opening” held at the
VCLC on September 28th. So fish come to the auction
on Saturday with reserve price already attached. How-
ever there was a misunderstanding during this year’s
auction, the bidding on “My Old Chum” should have
started at the 350.00 reserve price placed on it by Ver-
nonia Salmon Festival Committee. The bidding began
at the base reserve of 50.00, we realize this caused frus-
tration in our community, we apologize. In all further
auctions, all bidding will start at set reserve price (Re-
serve price set by pre-bid/ KDIS Committee).
We are working to remedy issues that came up this year.
However we can’t know all issues and are looking for
suggestions for next year. Please join us for a Salmon
Festival Solutions Meeting, Tuesday, November 6th, at
VCLC, at 7pm. Many thanks for your participation in
this local festival.
-- Salmon Festival Committee
Keep him if you can. Dick Kline will help Vernonia
become healthy and sustainable.
-- Steve Heinrich
Cornelius City Council and Former Mayor
Also supported by:
Mayor Bill Bash, Former Mayor Ralph Brown, and
Former Mayor Norbie Chartrey
Many questions have arose as to just what is Salmon
Festival and where does the money go, for your infor-
Salmon Festival started 5 years ago, when a small
group of Vernonians had an idea. The idea was to have
a harvest type festival that our community could enjoy,
that celebrates the magnificent return of the salmon to
To the Editor:
My name is Sue Jenkins. On September 11th, 2007.
Helping Hands came into my house and gave it a much
needed face lift! My family and I would like to thank
everyone who lent a hand. We do not know who all of
you are, what we do know is that a lot of time, energy,
devotion and kindness was poured into our house and
we bless each and every one of you who stopped by at
1139 Birch street. Thank you so much.
-- Sue, Sara, and Michael Jenkins
HOW TO SEND LETTERS
Vernonia’s Voice welcomes and requests your thoughts, opinions, and ideas. Please include your name, address, and phone number; limit your letters
to 300 words or less. Vernonia’s Voice reserves the right to edit, omit, respond, or ask for a response to letters submitted. We will print letters, space
permitting. Deadline is the 15th of the month.
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to: Letters, PO Box 55, Vernonia 97064.