June 18, 2002
Serving Western Deschutes County
Sisters, Oregon

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Sisters, Oregon
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CATS opposes Sisters area land swap

The community Action Team of Sisters (CATS) Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to oppose the proposed Steens Mountain Squaw Creek land swap that would place 690 acres of land near Sisters in private ownership in exchange for 1,240 acres of in-holding in the Steens Mountain area.

David Blair, administrative assistant to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D. OR) offered a presentation on the proposal at a board meeting of the Community Action Team of Sisters

CATS board members were provided with a map of the submitted exchange which, according to a statement from CATS, was the first opportunity the board had to view the actual location of the Squaw Creek land.

Board member Vickie Patterson, a participant of the committee drafting a trail system connecting residential areas of Sisters as well as surrounding recreational areas, argued that privatizing the proposed exchange lands would prevent a major component of the trails project.

CATS member Bill Willitts expressed the opinion that, "to trade a piece of our backyard for remote lands about three hours drive from Sisters would not pass a straw vote in Sisters."

Lorri Craig, CATS advocate, spoke regarding her belief that there would be a negative economic impact on Sisters and Central Oregon and a dangerous precedent set if private individuals could acquire land elsewhere in order to trade away the surrounding public and recreational lands that make Sisters attractive.

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