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home : letters : letters April 25, 2015


7/22/2014 12:02:00 PM
Letters to the Editor 07/23/2014

To the Editor:

Sisters Country is a unique region with special attributes that clearly define it for residents and visitors alike. It is precisely those attributes that provide intrinsic value that puts this region on the map for tourists to visit and perhaps one day to live. Moreover, it is those attributes that also encourage people to invest in the community with their money and their time.

Three of the most precious attributes are the Sisters Rodeo, the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, and the Sisters Folk Festival. These three events have helped to create the mythology of Sisters Country and the legacy of exceptional consumer experiences that drives visitors to Sisters Country from all over the world.

Each of those events comes with a promise to each of the individuals who experience it that they will be entertained, enlightened, engaged and encouraged to find their passion, be it horsemanship, art and textiles or music. It is essential that this community protects and preserves these events with the utmost of integrity.

During the recent Quilt Show that integrity was tainted, in my view, by a mishmash of vendors selling a broad assortment of content with a large portion of that content not necessarily hand-made. What was billed as an artist marketplace was not assorted, merchandised, or curated with skill.

In addition, the location of this event was essentially the front door to our community. It is hard to sell a home or a community when your front entrance is not appealing. What is arguably the most vibrant, colorful and beautiful day in Sisters Country looked like a carnival and not the elegant, dressed-up town that we are all so proud of.

The best companies often are measured by the value by their brands. The Sisters Rodeo, the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and the Sisters Folk Festival events should be sacrosanct. Failing to protect and preserve these events will tarnish and diminish the value of Sisters Country brand, and that would be a shame.

Lisa Clausen

•••

To the Editor:

For over the past eight years I have come to Sisters in July, participating in the quilt show festivities.

I have always enjoyed the professionalism and beauty of your town. This year I noticed increased enhancements to Cascade and I will look forward to seeing its completion next year.

However, I was disappointed and shocked to see the erection of a "tent city" on the vacant lot across from Stitchin' Post. This "swap meet" look degrades the charm and beauty of Sisters, and hurts the local small businesses.

I hope that such vendors will not be allowed by the city to continue, as they cheapen the quality and integrity of the annual quilt show.

Anita Sherbanee

Newport Beach, CA

•••

To the Editor:

In Glen Lasken's letter to The Nugget last week his clear intention was to refute every objection point that has been raised in the Sisters-BBR paved path discussion. However, when Mr. Lasken states that the bike path "will not have any negative impact on plant life, fish, or endangered wild animals," and "this trail will be built without taxpayer funding," one can't help but question his understanding of the issues involved in the project, and whether or not he even bothered to read the environmental analysis issued by the Forest Service.

Even the most persuasive attorney would be hard pressed to convince one of the 250 doomed trees that it is not suffering any sort of negative impact.

The USFS is not paying for the path and the STA can't pay for the path. The fate of the project rests solely on the STA's ability to secure grant money. And who pays for grants? Taxpayers, if the grant is from a public entity; and if the grant is from a private source, who knows what needed project would go unfunded due to this paved pipe dream. 

The Forest Service's EA report has determined that "The negative effects of non-motorized trails on wildlife include habitat loss, fragmentation and effectiveness (the ability of habitat to support wildlife) degradation, disturbance, reduced nest success, and spread of invasive animal and plant species." (pg. 58). Specific to the BBR path: "Invasive plants are found adjacent to the project area...There is a high risk of spread of invasive plants through recreational use." (pg. 120). Mule deer and elk: "There is concern (the path) could lead to increased risk of vehicle-strike injury and mortality on Highway 20." (pg. 80).

Lastly, the idea of an eight-mile paved path to BBR being an alternative means of non-motorized transport is just silly. The impact statement projects that most using the new path wouldn't venture more than a mile from BBR or Tollgate before turning around and heading home. I, too, am an avid cyclist and sympathize with the STA's goals of promoting bicycle use, but I think they have greatly over-reached with this plan. Just last week I encountered an elderly gentleman with a three-wheel bike who was struggling on the narrow single track that runs from Tollgate to the high school; perhaps the STA could set its sights a bit lower and see about paving, say, a five-foot path on an existing trail? No tree cutting necessary and a proven need - win/win.

Ray Kenny

•••

To the Editor:

Last Sunday, a rather ugly incident occurred on a fire trail outside Tollgate. A group of Sisters residents (some Tollgaters, some not) had gathered to try to make sense of the different colored flags scattered around the Tollgate perimeter.

Over the last year, colored flags have been placed to designate route options for the proposed BBR path. While referencing USFS maps, the group was approached by an individual who interrupted the meeting and verbally harassed the group for their opposition to the asphalt path. The irate individual was asked to leave and refused, stating that it was public property and therefore (he) had every right to stay.

When the group decided to move the meeting to private property, the individual continued to follow the group as they walked off the trail. Tension was very high and it looked like things might actually get physical. Ultimately, the group dispersed and met

elsewhere.

"Its public property, so I have a right to...." is the same argument that the STA has put forth to secure public forest land for their bike path. Ultimately, the USFS may very well decide that the STA does indeed have the right to fire up the bulldozers and chainsaws. But just because there is a right, does it necessarily make it right? Did the pugnacious gentleman have a right to refuse to leave because the gathering was taking place on public property? I suspect that he technically did. However, I also suspect that most would agree that such actions are in fact not "right" at all.

I encourage anyone who has an opinion on this issue to make the trip from Sisters to BBR. Take in the densely wooded rolling topography, rock formations and aspens. As you veer to the left, take a moment to appreciate one of the most picturesque scenes in Central Oregon; the fenced meadow that provides a perfect foreground to a completely unfettered view of the hills and snow-capped mountains.

Can it possibly be right to disrupt and scar this beautiful landscape, all for the sake of a group of individuals that are looking for a cool new place to ride their bikes?

Greg Werts

•••

To the Editor:

Thanks to the City Council for approving this land-use action. The net result of months of work by City Staff and me is a relatively minor change allowing a few more acres to become residential, adjacent to an existing and significant pocket of residential land. What's helpful about this action is that the property now shares its entire southern border with Lundgren Mill Drive, which will provide convenient access to future homes in this development. This should stimulate some very solid developer interest resulting in needed economic activity in the community. The sacrifice was 11 commercial lots in the North Sisters Business Park. However, there are still a total of 27 vacant commercial lots in this zone available for new businesses, enough supply to last Sisters many

decades.

Some folks were rightly concerned about loss of Industrial zone property in the Sisters community. I am sensitive to the problem here. It may be a good idea to explore future areas for light/medium/heavy industrial activity. In most communities, the planners like to see these areas bordering more rural parcels, or railroad lines. Redmond's airport area is a good example of this type of planning. Ideally, this zone would consist of 100-500 acres to allow for future growth.

Peter Hall





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