Our Opinion: How do you measure a year?
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Season's Greetings to all of our readers.
Whether you're a longtime subscriber, a new subscriber or an intermittent reader, we're grateful that you've taken this journey with us. We're about to come to the end of 2019, a very eventful year in Oregon and Washington County, and to the end of the 2010s, a decade that has had no shortage of drama.
You'll find, on the front page of this week's newspaper, a feature story recounting some of the biggest and boldest headlines in the News-Times this year. Some of them were happy, like the long-awaited and hard-fought grand opening of the Cornelius Public Library in March. Some of them were terrible, like the double homicide with which a Gaston resident was charged in June.
A few were very personal for us.
You're reading the News-Times, which covers Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Cornelius, Banks, North Plains, Gaston and the rest of western Washington County. This time last year, you might have read this editorial in the Hillsboro Tribune. But that title no longer exists, discontinued in August, although our commitment to covering community news in Hillsboro is unwavering.
Any recap of 2019, though, is incomplete by nature. It's not possible to condense a full year's worth of news into a single article, or a single editorial. It's certainly not possible to encapsulate what 2019 meant to you — a rhetorical question we like to pose to our readers at the end of each year.
We said goodbye to many well-known community members this year. Among them:
• Tom "T.J." Johnston, longtime member of the Forest Grove City Council, retired police officer and leader within several local community organizations. Johnston passed away in October, months after being diagnosed with leukemia and less than a year after city voters re-elected him to office.
• Pat Yoakum, retired downtown book store owner, city volunteer and former writer for the News-Times. Yoakum died in October.
• Walter V. McKinney, longtime publisher of the Hillsboro Argus, a now-defunct community newspaper in our area. McKinney, who was an occasional contributor to the News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune's opinion section in his emeritus years, also died in October.
• Betty Bode, career public health nurse and manager for the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, as well as longtime city councilor in nearby Beaverton. Bode passed away in August after a lengthy battle with lung disease.
But for every "local celebrity" we lost, hundreds of people we didn't know personally died in 2019, too — and some of them may have been very dear to you. And conversely, as people we grew to know over the years died, surely many people were born in 2019 whom the writers, editors and salespeople of the News-Times will come to know in the future.
That's how it is with the passage of time: Things change, sometimes gradually and sometimes suddenly.
There are many more stories of 2019 we didn't have room to retell in full, from the rise and fall of a plan to build a Dollar General store in Forest Grove to the tragic death of a teenage swimmer in Hillsboro; from a blowout between city officials that rocked tiny Gaston to a bizarre murder trial that captivated the Washington County Courthouse; from President Donald Trump's appointment of a local judge to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to a Hillsboro-area state senator's threats against colleagues and state troopers in Salem.
We published lots of diverse opinions on this page this year, too, if only we had the space to repeat them all. Our own editorial board weighed in on issues from vaccine exemptions to space exploration to sex education. Most recently, we've focused on ways for community members to give back through our "Give Local" campaign, as well as on the importance of subscribing to your local newspaper to support the work we do.
As if trying to recapture the year of 2019 wasn't enough, in next week's issue — the first of 2020, if you can believe it! — we will feature a retrospective on the 2010s, looking back at some of our biggest and most impactful stories of the decade from across western Washington County. Just like our year-in-review feature this week, we know we can't hope to capture everything. But just in the time we've taken sifting through our back issues as we prepare to publish this special New Year's Day issue, we're reminded that every year is different, every year brings changes, and many stories take more than a year — sometimes much more, and sometimes much more than a decade — to play out in full.
Here's to the loose threads, as well as those that were tied up in 2019, as well as those that are just beginning to unspool, as we look on to a new year and a new decade.
Thank you for being with us, and Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.
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