Letters to the Editor

Birthplace of Oregon pinot is clearly in Roseburg

I am writing from Roseburg, Oregon which is surrounded by the Umpqua Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area). Being a wine enthusiast I am concerned that the recently reveled slogan, 'Forest Grove: Where Oregon pinot was born,' is misleading, at best.

Everyone should know that this slogan is an attempt to rewrite Oregon wine history. While the city claims to have done 'extensive' research on the topic, none of it actually backs the slogan itself.

Certainly, there is a proud heritage in the area that should be rightfully exploited, but not, I would suggest at the expense of documented Oregon wine history that gives Richard Sommer and his HillCrest Vineyard outside Roseburg the rightful title.

It's odd the city will admit that Richard was the first to plant pinot noir in 1961 in one breath and in the next, completely ignore the fact.

Please refer to the book 'The Winemakers' by Purser and Allen, Harbor House Publishing, 1977. And I quote:

'In 1961, Richard Sommer, who has come to be known as 'the father of the Oregon wine industry,' planted the first vines at HillCrest Vineyards, the first modern day premium winery in Oregon...

'The 20 acres predominate in White Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon, with the rest a combination of Pinot Noir, Gewurztramier, Chardonnay, and other varieties.' (p. 158.)

Can it be any clearer that that?

H. Bruce Smith


City's wine claim should be brought down to size

Forest Grove claims to have the world's tallest barber pole. Then we raised one of the country's biggest flags. Unsatisfied at being tallest and biggest, we're now claiming to have given birth to Oregon pinot noir.

We may have the world's tallest barber pole (who's measuring?), but we clearly did not give birth to - meaning create - Oregon pinot noir; Hillcrest in Roseburg has that honor. In our immodest quest to brand ourselves, what's next?

Forest Grove: Birthplace of George Washington? Cleopatra? The solar system?

Might I suggest a bit of honest modesty? 'Forest Grove: Home to Oregon pinot.'

That is, we raise the grapes and nourish them, as good homes do with children.

We would do well to honor Hillcrest for being the wine's rightful Oregon birth parent, noting that shortly afterwards towns like Dundee and Forest Grove became adoptive parents.

George Evans

Forest Grove

Attorney has served Cornelius well over 17 years

With sadness, I read the article about the action the Cornelius City Council took in firing City Attorney, Paul Elsner. Paul has served Cornelius for the past 17 years. He has worked with several city managers, mayors and council members.

If you look at the City of Cornelius over those 17 years, you will see the City has had very few legal difficulties. Paul provided guidance to the staff and council members to help avoid legal problems. His expertise will be missed.

For those of you who are following the actions of Mayor Neil Knight and his two amigos, they have tried to fire the City Manager. This was stopped after an amazing amount of support from local residents and other elected and appointed officials. Now they fired the city attorney because he did not talk to the Mayor in a nice way.

Who is next? The three new members of the City Council were elected to lead the community, not fire everyone the Mayor did not like!

Ralph Brown


Hoop tournament was fun

Thank you to the Elks for putting on the basketball hoop shooting tournament at Forest Grove High School a couple of weeks ago. The kids had fun.

Nancy Brewster

Forest Grove

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