|7/23/2013 11:56:00 AM|
Letters to the Editor 07/24/2013
To the Editor:
In response to Jim Anderson's letter concerning fighting fires and having more fire-prone area residents support separate fire protection plans rather than burden the entire community:
It seems to me that we live in shared communities, Central Oregon, Oregon, United States, and share responsibilities, benefits, and costs. Otherwise we become more divisive and less communal.
To follow Anderson's thinking, people might ask, "Why should I pay and support schools when I have no children in schools? Why should I be taxed for libraries when I don't use them? Why should I pay for highways that I don't use?"
Imagine the bureaucracy and costs of having to monitor where you live, what you use and what you don't use.
I would rather see us remain as a total community and share all responsibilities rather than distributing them for different users.
To the Editor:
A comment on your article of the firefighter deaths July 16.
Reference was made to property owners preparing their property for the impingement of wildfire. In the late '60s or early '70s the USFS put out a film on structure defensible space in the wildland-urban-interface. It highlighted the aftermath of the Tollgate fire that occurred in Sisters and showed how proper preparation can prevent the loss of structures from a wildland fire.
To the Editor:
Reading all the pros and cons of the proposed seven-foot paved sidewalk in our woods, many thoughts crowded in.
How many Americans would give their eyeteeth to have a small chunk of the natural beauty in our national forests - and we are determined to lose it a "sidewalk" at a time.
Who gets the money from all the trees which will be cut down to accommodate the equipment to build this "speedway," let alone the pavement itself? What are the proposed economic benefits for Sisters other than a little (darn little) gasoline and oil for some ATVs?
In a previous letter I suggested that Sisters has an unequalled opportunity, speaking of cutting trees, by buying the USFS property, building a year-round first-class theater. Neither this sidewalk in the woods nor a three-month-on/nine-month-off amphitheater will provide full store fronts, eliminate the two-year ownership cycle of many local businesses.
There are buildings there which would modify into dorms to accommodate large theater groups, symphony orchestras, St. Olav's Choir - to become the equal of any cultural center in Oregon on a full-time basis.
Start thinking Sisters Cultural Center - forget sidewalks in the woods.
Russell B. Williams
To the Editor:
Readers may remember the letter I sent to The Nugget's editor a few weeks ago, which reported three men on motorbikes illegally riding along the Park Meadows Trail in the Deschutes National Forest. That trail has dirt tread, which puts a brake on speed.
If the proposed paved trail from Sisters to Black Butte gets built, you can bet that -despite regulations forbidding motorized use - its winding curves and speed-promoting surface will become a magnet for thrill-seeking motorbike riders. The Sisters Ranger District has an insufficient budget for policing the trail.
The Sisters-BBR Trail would be an abomination defiling the natural landscape and shattering peace and quiet in our national forest. If built, it will be bad for the environment, bad for Tollgate property values and bad for taxpayers, who will ultimately be asked to fund a portion of the trail's maintenance.
Don't believe that last point? The Sisters Trails Alliance (STA) initially estimated the cost of the trail to be approximately $1 million. Yet the Multimodal Transportation Program Project Application grant request subsequently made to ODOT was for $2.8 million. You can bet the cost will go even higher, especially if the economy continues to improve, which will boost the cost of raw materials. The STA is in way over their heads on this project.
Joni Mitchell said it best when she sang, "Pave paradise, put up a parking lot." Let's not pave over our national forest. Keep the natural character of Sisters-area forests intact. Tell the STA and Forest Service you oppose the Sisters-BBR Trail.
To the Editor:
Thank you for hosting the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. This was my second year.
I would like to share one observation that was troubling to me. I was unhappy with your decision to allow so many vendors from outside the area on show day. I feel like this event is so important to the livelihood of the local merchants and that allowing outside vendors creates unfair competition for them. In addition, I felt that the outside vendors contributed to a more carnival-like feel to an event that, in the past, had a more classy, hometown feel. Thank you Sisters, but lets get back to the core mission of this amazing event in your amazing community.
To the Editor:
We have recently learned of a Sisters Trail Alliance (STA) proposal to clear acres of undisturbed woodland to pave trails; Crossroads to Tollgate to Sisters and Tollgate to Black Butte Ranch. A project of this public impact should meet several criteria:
1. Awareness and support: Apparently a few local entities have written letters to support it, but in the absence of an informed public, how much credence do they have? We can't find evidence of public support or legitimate surveys anywhere - not even in The Nugget.
2. Benefits: The STA case in their grant application for public funds is based first on the "need for connectivity." People in the areas to be connected might be surprised to learn that they are suffering from a "connectivity" problem.
"Healthy, active lifestyles" is the next rationale. If people in this outdoor paradise don't take advantage of it now, they are unlikely to be inspired by a paved path in the woods.
"Economic Development" is cited as a means to build tourist trade. If people haven't been sufficiently motivated to visit this delightful destination, clearing acres of forest and paving them over probably won't motivate them.
3. Cost: There is no publicly available estimate for the total cost. The grant application for the Crossroads-Tollgate-Sisters portion states $826,581 for the 2.11-mile route. Being conservative and assuming the Black Butte Ranch part could be built for 25% less per mile, it would cost over $2 million. So the overall project would cost over $3 million. Weigh this cost against the Sisters Ranger District's low usage projected in their environmental analysis and you get an extremely high
There are some serious questions surrounding this proposal. The answers we have found are not very convincing. If there are more positive arguments for it, the public forum is the appropriate venue to air them. And, the only fair means to ensure a democratic process.
To the Editor:
There has been an ongoing problem with cars blocking the only fire hydrant near the intersection of Hwy. 20 and S. Locust Street which, despite email to the public works department, is being ignored.
This past Saturday the hydrant was constantly being blocked by visitors to the special event in Creekside Park. I placed a call to Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and a Deputy Flory responded to the scene. He explained to me that Mayor Boyd has officially asked the sheriff's department to "use discretion" regarding citing for parking offenses during special-event weekends in Sisters, and as a result deputies were not enforcing many parking violations.
I pointed out to Deputy Flory that to block a fire hydrant effectively is placing the public at risk, especially at a location across the street from a gas station, several other businesses and numerous private residences, where this particular fire hydrant is the only one available for a several-square-block area.
Deputy Flory agreed and looked to see if there was a state ordinance that he could use as an alternative method of enforcement to a city ordinance, and was successful in finding one. He then issued citations to the two cars parked blocking the hydrant. While he was preparing the citations I explained that it was not my desire to have the cars cited, but rather the city be advised that their request was unlawful. He told me there was nothing he could do as he was following department instruction as per Mayor Boyd's request, and suggested I use this example to once again file a complaint with the city.
I placed my own traffic cones in the city right-of-way to effectively block the area and protect the hydrant, and in turn protecting visitors from being cited. Later that afternoon Deputy Flory drove past and paused to observe what I had done, then left the area without comment, which I took as confirmation that he agreed with my action.
It seems to me that Mayor Boyd has effectively placed the health, safety and welfare of the public at risk with his directive to the sheriff's department to not enforce a parking ordinance, especially in the matter of blocking a fire hydrant. This is inexcusable. The time it would take to move the cars blocking a hydrant could mean the difference of life or death in the event of a fire emergency.
Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Article comment by:
I just read the Nugget article about last weeks Town Hall meeting and was very much surprised and disturbed to read about the discussion and comments by City Manager Gorayeb regarding my letter to the editor about the recurring problem of people blocking a fire hydrant on S. Locust Street and the cities request that Deschutes Sheriff's Department use discretion in enforcing parking regulations during special event weekends. In that letter I told how Deschutes Deputy Flory explained to me the city asked his department "to use discretion" when parking violations are observed during special event weekends in Sisters.
City Manager Gorayeb's statement alleging my description of events as being completely false, is in fact, untrue. Recordings of Mayor Boyd's statements to the visiting DSCO during City Council meetings of January 10th and again on Feb 14, 2013 are public record and available for review, and there is a witness to my conversation with Deputy Flory and his statements to me regarding the cities request of "discretionary enforcement". Further, prior to my letter to the editor I sent letters [including photos of the problem] to both city Manager Gorayeb and Mayor Boyd, and two letters over the course of a month to Public works Director Paul Bertagna, and never received the courtesy of a reply from any of them while the problem continued to be ignored. A reply from any of these officials is something most reasonable people would expect over a matter of public safety.
I have never met City Manager Gorayeb, and held no prior opinion about him pro or con, personally or professionally. Yet for our new City Manager to speak out and declare "there was no truth to the allegation whatsoever" my statements about a city policy and a public safety issue, bolstering his position in saying he talked with the officials involved while simultaneously ignoring my letter to him about the problem, is hardly an example of responsible leadership. Rather, Manager Gorayeb's statement is both irresponsible and defamatory.
Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2013
Article comment by:
Re Randy McCall's comments in support of the biking trail, first, I am opposed to paving of our forest. Second, as to his challenge to try riding our bikes to town or the school, my husband and I do ride our bikes from Tollate to town several times a week and enjoy the ride. BTW, we are both in our 60's and have no problems whatsoever riding those paths.
Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Article comment by:
The city of Sisters recent award for a new park is a wonderful feather in the cap for our community That said, something which should be more pressing an issue than allocating funds to build a new park is to bring the communities existing parks up to federal American Disabilities Act law standard. Currently, none of the communities existing parks meet this code, and it's my understanding that the issue was even discussed by city council a few years ago, with the decision being made to "ignore the issue until forced to comply by way of a complaint filed by the ADA". As the situation was described to me, the reason for this logic came down to cost. First, none of the cities parks have designated ADA parking, approved pathways, picnic tables or the like. Second, in the case of Creekside park on Jefferson, not only does it lack the aforementioned facilities, but the foot bridge over the creek to the campground would have to be replaced at the cost exceeding an estimated $50,000+ alone.
In addition to this, part of the downtown corridor improvement money being used for sidewalk/curb cuts along Hwy 20 between S. Locust St and Jefferson is written describing how this new sidewalk will "connect to existing pathways along Jefferson, through Creekside Park, over the foot bridge and on to the 'important Five pines Resort". Unfortunately,there are no existing sidewalks or compliant pathways along Jefferson or through the park and once again, nor does the foot bridge meet federal ADA standards. In short, the way the grant is written is tatamount to fraud.
That the city would take a posture of this type, "close an eye to one problem so it can spend money elsewhere" not only is unlawful it is unconscionable, immoral and just plain wrong. As someone who suffered temporary paralysis from and accident some years back, I've had first hand experience of what it is like to be confined to a wheelchair, and the obstacles and challenges encountered by those confined for lifetime, face on a daily basis. City Council, and our new city manager need to get their priorities straight, and bring the existing parks into compliance before any new parks are built.
Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Article comment by:
The proposed paved trail between Sisters and Black Butte Ranch has prompted more than a few to write letters raising issues of cost, environmental damage, worries about future maintenance, and as I recall someone even wrote that since their children didn't have good access to quality safe routes and they still managed to grow up, why should others?
As a homeowner in Tollgate, I see nothing but positives from such a trail system. I love riding bikes in this area, but taking the back trails to the high school this time of year on loose and sandy trails/roads is not only really hard, it's somewhat challenging to keep upright. Riding on Hwy 20 is just plain scary - great shoulder, good road surface, and there's nothing wrong with that, if only there weren't semi-trucks and campers and all manner of folks barreling down on me at 60 mph. I never know which one is actually paying attention and not drifting off the road at the wrong time.
For all of you who say no, the proposed paved trail is a bad idea, I just wish you would pick up that old bike you haven't ridden in years and venture out onto either of the two alternatives to get to Sisters from Tollgate. You would learn firsthand how much of an improvement a dedicated trail separate from the road would be to me, to my wife, to your kids, and to anyone looking for a safe, quite, and stress free alternative to current routes.
It's going to cost some money - what doesn't? Our taxes support so many things I don't agree with, but thatís the cost of living in this country where we willingly fund all sorts of programs, infrastructure projects, and ventures into world-wide affairs that don't really affect me personally. Having lived in other areas with well planned dedicated bike/pedestrian paths that connected communities over many miles, the benefits were so overwhelming compared to the negatives that it is personally very hard to understand how someone could not see how great this would be.
As for environmental destruction as it has been termed, trees will be cut, but how is that any different than the hundreds of existing forest road throughout the forest surrounding the planned routes? For most of the proposed route these are not undisturbed old growth forests they are cut over and regenerated forests next to a major transportation corridor. Letís not forget that there are three major carve-outs in these forests outside of Sisters with BBR, Tollgate, and Crossroads plopped right in the middle of the forest lands the NIMBYs want to protect from a path. One of the most vocal of the naysayers lives in Tollgate and I see writers suggesting that other residents like me don't want this trail system. I say bring it and I'll be happy to use it, help to maintain it, and happy to wave and say hi to others similarly enjoying what our tax dollars can do to improve our lives on a local basis.
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