A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Why this father is demonstrating

Written September 29th, 2015 by Hasso Hering
Joal Traynor, on Lyon Street in downtown Albany one day last week,

Joal Traynor, on Lyon Street in downtown Albany one day last week,

For weeks now, Joal Traynor has spent part of most days standing on street corners in downtown Albany, holding up a sign complaining about the state Department of Human Services. I’ve talked with him at his house and scanned some of the mountain of paperwork he has collected. And it looks to me that he got a raw deal.

The story is sad and highly personal, and while the details are important, I won’t dwell on them here to honor the privacy of others involved. Suffice it to say that Traynor, 37, has had custody of his children since 2005, and the court removed their mother’s visitation rights a few years later.

He has expectations for how children should behave. Last November, he twice spanked his then 13-year-old daughter with a belt, once because of inappropriate attire he had told her not to wear and once over a cell phone he had forbidden her to have. He and his present wife were summoned to her school, where two Albany police officers arrested him and took him to jail for assault and criminal mistreatment. But the Linn County district attorney dropped the case because, DA Doug Marteeny told me, “we did not believe we could prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Officials of DHS, however, after two reviews, persisted in a finding of physical abuse. They also placed the girl with the mother who had lost visitation rights before.

For 16 years Traynor worked in corrections for the Oregon Youth Authority, and as a result of the DHS conclusions, he lost his job. He says he’s filed a tort claim against DHS and intends to sue. He believes he did not get a fair hearing, and what I saw of the written record bears him out. (hh)

33 responses to “Why this father is demonstrating”

  1. Sarah says:

    So sorry, Joal, keep fighting the good fight! Albany DHS can be unprofessional to say the least. Prayers for you.

  2. Karen Smith Retired L&D RN says:

    I’ve known Joal Traynor, as he is friends with my son, since high school. He is a good man, and he cares deeply for his children. There are many parents out there who are sorely lacking in good parenting skills. The caseload of the Department of Human Services is extremely heavy, and there is definitely a need for their services. But, it’s a sorry day when you cannot discipline your own children without the fear of them being taken away from you! Each case should be reviewed on its own merit. I know the Department is swamped, but look what it has done to this young man and his family’s life! As a result of this action, Joal no longer has a job. Will he and his family now have to be on the state’s assistance to support themselves?
    I hope for Joal and his family that this situation is resolved. But, there will always be questions about Joal because of this. Even if it is made public, in the paper, that the accusations were unfounded, there will always be some people wondering if he went overboard disciplining his daughter and what kind of man is he. It is difficult enough raising children, especially teenagers, without the fear of State taking custody of them! So what do we as parents do, let our children do as they please without consequences? That is not being a responsible parent. If there were more parents like Joal, who loved their children enough to teach and discipline them to become responsible adults, the caseload of the Department of Human Services would be a lot less.

    • Kerry says:


  3. Melissa says:

    So beating your child with a belt and leaving bruises is ok? I think not!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is sad to believe it would come down to getting the belt, but definitely not unheard of. If you don’t believe that sometimes kids need to realize that their actions will have physical consequences than you are naive. Not to mention judgmental, even the author felt that some details are none of his business. Who knows if she physically harmed someone else or harming herself. I really don’t think Joal and his family deserved the punishment they got either especially when it had already gone to court once. Isn’t that considered double jeopardy.

    • Leo says:

      Spanking your child twice is not beating….

    • Danielle says:

      BEATING a child with a belt is definitely not ok… SPANKING is another story, which is clearly what they said. And does I miss the part that said the child had bruises? GENERATIONS of families used the belt for discipline.

    • Mamasita says:

      While I am NOT a person who believes in abuse I find it ridiculous that Joal has lost his rights. I have been an acquaintance of Joal & his daughter. His daughter always came to school clean, groomed, fed & demonstrated true love of her father. Even tho Joal’s job was in corrections he was a gentle, kind man when I saw him at school.

      There is a point in life where a spanking is needed to prove a point! To spank twice is NOT abuse & I am positive he would not be an abuser,

      DHS – I find it ridiculous that you take this man’s child away yet when my co-workers
      have called you (as mandatory reporters) Nothing, not one thing was done for the children that were reported! Children that were obviously not in a stable places.
      Please check out ALL the details & help the chronic needed children out there. Children who are left for hours being neglected, children whose parents are obvious smokers, drinkers & drug abusers. Parents who repeatedly get arrested for these things but still retain custody. That is what I see where I am daily.

      Joal I am sorry this has happened to you & your family. I am hoping things return to normal soon.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      And your evidence he left bruises is from WHAT?

    • ANGELA ALLEN says:

      i survived getting spanked with a belt many many times! its parents and people like you which is why kids are so out of control now a days!

    • Rhonda says:

      Where does it say he beat her and left bruises?
      “Last November, he twice spanked his then 13-year-old daughter with a belt” He spanked her, not beat her.
      DHS holds way to much authority and power, and likes to fabricate lies — making mountains out of mole hills. I feel for him, and my heart breaks.

      Fight the fight Joal!

    • janice encke says:

      Your retarded to think that. My parents spanked me and my brother. Well desereved too most of the time. A spanking is different from abuse get it straight. None of you older folks would have been raised by your parents if they took you away from a simple spanking. I know most had a worse thank a spanking so get over it. Let your kids runs wild without proper discipline, see how long they can go before making into the system themselves. Its not like its a sick pleasure as a parent to spank their beloved child, but a little fear to prevent worse things later on from happening is important, it kept me together growingnup ccause it made it so I never wanted to mess up.

    • Kevin says:

      A lot off us were spanked with a belt and we turned out fine. Instead of passing judgment get a life!

  4. Penny says:

    I have known Joal for many, many years. He is the best father, husband and person you will ever know. It breaks my heart that the family has to go through this “stuff.” DHS needs to get their act together

  5. Michael says:

    Children need to do as they’re told. I got the belt few times. That’s the problem with
    Kids these days. Run and tell, get parents in trouble. I smell foul play.

  6. Bob Woods says:

    His suit is appropriate in lieu of other avenues. Then the courts can decide on the basis of the law.

  7. Heath says:

    There is a big difference between “beating” a child and “punishment”. Obviously DHS hasn’t seemed to figure this out. And why are they above the law? And why can their punishment be unjust and so severe? Who regulates DHS? They obviously need a spanking.

  8. Denis nunya says:

    getting the belt keeps them inline if you don’t they just run wild and cause problems till it gets the law involved and who gets the worst of it the parents do. Then you get to answer to a putz that sits behind bench and tell him I told them to stop it.. Hell that didn’t work did it.I remember growing up in the late 60s on and it was a lot more peaceful back then when a spanking is something you tried to avoid by doing the wright thing. Tell me I’m wrong. abuse is abuse we all get it and watch for it, but a spanking be it a belt or wooden spoon is not abuse you goody two shoe.

  9. tom cordier says:

    Does Joal have legal counsel?

  10. ANGELA ALLEN says:

    Good for you Joal! I think maybe after working in Oregon Youth Authority maybe Joal has seen a lot of troubled youth and is trying to set his children on the right path. Kids are out of control anymore because we are not allowed to discipline our children. I spanked my kids, and popped them on the mouth when they would talk over me when they were in trouble. Butting into families without problems is just job security. There is nothing wrong with spanking your child, even with a belt, that is NOT child abuse.

  11. Dean McCrea says:

    it is never appropriate for an adult to strike a child. Someone who would beat a 13-year old child with a belt should be held accountable.

  12. STEVE GEDDES says:

    Thanks so much for your work answering those questions many of us have about the town we live in. Your website does much to preserve the small town “feel” that caused me to move here many years ago. I hope you have a good set of rain gear so you can keep it up in the months ahead.

  13. Jill Morgan says:

    Sad for all involved….do not understand how DHS could place the daughter with a mother who’s visitation rights had been lost? Unfortunately there are no winners in this case…I fail to understand why DHS did not work with the father instead of taking the actions they did? I agree with Bob Woods about filing a suit and letting the Court decide after hearing from all parties.

  14. Sharon Griffin says:

    Thank you for writing this story, Mr. Hering and for writing it with the sensitivity and accuracy that you did.

  15. Nicole Stoddard says:

    Joal and Carmen are great regulars of mine and good people..bad things happen to good people! Don’t let our societys faults get you down when you know you have the best of intentions! Love you guys!

  16. tom cordier says:

    I spoke to Joal today. He does have legal counsel. He will meet with Rep. Olson tomorrow and Geltser when she returns from travel. Legislators must keep unelected bureaucrats from this kind of abuse.

  17. Jannetta K. says:

    Sounds like the usual bureaucratic b.s. I feel sorry for this father. My mother spanked my brother and me. We were not abused. We were punished for breaking the rules. This sounds similar to me. It seems to me he deserves to have the case reviewed, especially since he lost his job.

  18. Leroy says:

    Spare the rod and spoil a child. DHS is not about family it is about disrupting court orders.

  19. Bob Woods says:

    I’m willing to bet that the folks who say that physical punishment of children is necessary, were all physically punished as children. Some here say just that.

    That does not mean that children cannot be raised perfectly fine without physical punishment; it just means that you have no personal experience of a family that is able to raise children that way.

    Each family has their own dynamics. The vast majority of parents only want their kids to turn out well. If that can be achieved without hitting, wouldn’t that be preferable?

    And don’t we as a society need to be concerned for those few families that truly damage and even kill their children? Like the woman who threw her kids off the Yaquina Bay Bridge? Or the baby who is shook so hard when crying it dies of brain damage?

    We have laws in place to address the extremes. We also get angry at the people in DHS when a kid is attacked, starved or killed “for not doing their job”.

    As I said before, this appears to be going to a court to be determined whether the situation is a violation of the law. That’s how it is supposed to work.

  20. S. Smith says:


    Thanks for the story. I have been waiting for the D-H to prints something about this man who I’ve seen on my morning commute for weeks. I’m still waiting.

  21. joyce becktold says:

    Worked with Joal at Oregon Youth Authority. He was a wonderful father and employee. He treated all including some mouthy, rude and disrespectful youth with compassion and care. I feel if he was taken to the level of spanking it was really called for. … Joel you have my sympathy and god bless you for trying to instill some control over your daughter’s bad behavior. You tried whether accepted by some or not. This society has way too many that do not.

  22. joyce becktold says:

    On a note of DHS, This article about Joal makes me want to ask why Joal gets this when two weeks ago, a young man (who I have dealt with personally) was arrested his second time, panhandling with his three children. Each time police called his sister who has children removed from her to come and get the kids. Last week I myself called the police, because he was sleeping in our community with no blankets nor food with the kids (it appears that he went to his sister and got the kids, which she had no permanent home for them either). In talking with the sister and police, DHS was contacted, reports filed on the filth and lack of care these kids were getting…. and yes I saw him in Salem panhandling on Market on freeway exit just yesterday. His three kids jumping around on and off curbs, heavy traffic. One is old enough for school. I was standing right there when the officer asked him about school for the oldest. His response was, “I home school him.” How come, DHS, it is because you can work in air conditioned places to hassle the parents who do raise their kids properly, you got time to hassle Joal and not one who many times you been contacted about. His 3 children are 7,5 and 3.

  23. Joal says:

    Thank you Hasso!
    Spanking and beating are two very different things.
    Unfortunately our system is influenced by badge heavy DHS workers that will lie, falsify documents, “lose files”, and neglect facts just to get a victory. We all have the right to our opinion, just as we have the right to parent our children. Hold on to that because you never know when that will be taken away. I have been a parent/ father for 19yrs straight, not a some time dad, but a full time father! DHS does have great polices to protect children, but it is when people choose to stray away from them and lose the professional aspect of their job when families are destroyed and children are endangered. DHS made a mistake, but they do not want to take ownership, but in due time they will be exposed, the truth will come out!
    Thanks to all!


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