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1984: Editor responds to newspaper critics


1974

The new Estacada Water Works Plant was completed. The plant cost $300,000 to build. The filtering system and chlorination mixing apparatus were housed in a new building below the Estacada Bridge on the Clackamas River.

by: ARCHIVE PHOTO - A 1984 Dick's Logging Supply ad.

1984

As the Estacada School Board debated banning the showing of R-rated movies in classrooms, Christine Bierman wrote a passionate signed editorial titled “Life isn’t a Bambi movie” on the subject published in the May 16, 1984 paper.

“Censorship of sensitive literature has become a sad phenomenon around the country as religious fundamentalists and conservative reactionaries try to foist their beliefs on others,” Bierman wrote. “Book bans conjure up images of Adoph Hitler’s book burning and of the government in “1984” destroying books portraying ideas harmful to it and rewriting history.”

“Film bans are no different than book bans,” Bierman continued. “Censorship, by any other name, is censorship.”

The issue spurred heated comments, which Bierman decided to take on in a signed editorial published June 13, 1984.

Bierman noted that a school board member had said that readers believe anything they read in the newspaper.

Likening the newspaper to the gospel set it up for failure, Bierman responded.

“It’s often forgotten that journalists, along with school board members, city mayors and garbage company owners, are human,” she wrote. “Mistakes are part of our nature, the imperfect creatures that we are.”

“And human beings — that includes reporters — are capable of fairness but incapable of pure objectivity,” Bierman acknowledged. “No story can be completely objective. One cannot escape the personal frame of reference. A news event is interpreted, not recorded like a cassette tape or computer.”

The school board member also apparently alluded that readers could not distinguish news from editorials and advertisements — an allegation Bierman likened to insulting the intelligence of the readers.

Bierman went on to mention a local businesswoman who publicly stated that she didn’t believe anything she read in the paper.

“To the other critic, who indicated that she reads the newspaper but doesn’t believe a word of it, I wonder why she bothers at all,” Bierman wrote. “It can’t be for entertainment; there are no comics, crossword puzzles or syndicated columns.”

Bierman went on to reflect on the negative image of journalists in a post-Watergate world.

“But snide remarks and even press restrictions won’t make the problem of media credibility go away,” she concluded. “Could you truly believe a report about a controversial war that the Pentagon approved, or a story about the federal deficit, which has the government’s blessing? What will disappear is democracy.”

1994

Students staged a walk-out following news that fourth-grade Eagle Creek Elementary teacher Mark Meyer’s contract was not going to be renewed.

Most of Meyer’s students participated in a 30 minute protest on June 6, 1994.

Some left campus and their parents were called.

Principal Jan Jaqua said that Meyer’s dismissal was not due to budget cuts but would not comment further.

Meyer filed a grievance alleging violations of both the district’s personnel policy and the Estacada teachers’ contracted and asked for a hearing allowed by state law.

2004

Ten dogs died of smoke inhalation during a house fire on Clausen Road in George.

A lamp cord had short-circuited under the leg of the couch, starting the fire.

While the homeowner and his roommate weren’t home, the two lost many of their possessions in the fire.




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