|3/4/2014 12:51:00 PM|
Community breaks ground on Cascade
|Dignitaries from across the region turned the first shovelful of dirt on a major construction project. photo by Jerry Baldock|
By Jodi Schneider McNameeBig wet snowflakes continued to fall on Saturday, March 1, when Erin Borla, executive director of the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce, got the ball rolling as master of ceremonies for the groundbreaking celebration in front of Bronco Billy's Ranch Grill and Saloon.
Mayor Brad Boyd thanked folks of the Sisters community for supporting the kick-off of Sisters' Cascade Avenue Street Improvement Project.
"Our business community has been integral at planning the implantation of this project so we can have the speediest completion possible," Boyd said. "We welcome everyone to rediscover Sisters during and after the project's completion."
Matt Garrett, of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), let folks know that they had a strong sense of community for coming out in the snowy weather.
"This project is much more than a pavement rehabilitation project. It is a safety project, it's a freight mobility project, it's a livability project, it's a pedestrian project, it's an economic development project and, simply put, it's a project that celebrates the community," he said.
Mayor Boyd declared the Sisters Cascade Avenue Project officially open after Sisters officials turned a spadeful of dirt with their golden shovels.
Work is already underway, and motorists are advised to be on the lookout for new traffic controls and detour routes in and around Sisters.
Miss Rodeo Oregon, Sara Marcus, and queens and princesses from across the Northwest were enjoying the celebration and mingling with the community.
"It's pretty exciting to be able to get out into the community with folks and mix it up with the Western lifestyle that I represent," Marcus said.
Teri Cairns, from the U.S. Forest Service, brought mascot Smokey Bear to celebrate with the community.
"Smokey is so excited to be here supporting (the) Sisters community," she said.
Ann Fisher, community liaison from ODOT, handed out Sisters downtown walking maps.
"We encourage people to go downtown. All of the businesses will remain open during the entire project though May 15, Sisters Chamber representatives handed out yellow and pink hard hats and an array of stickers to decorate them with. Kids of all ages eagerly donned their construction safety helmets and walked over to Main Avenue to hop up on the big rigs that Knife River parked from Fir Street to Larch Street.
Project manager Casey Heuttl was on hand to educate the little folks about each giant rig and how it worked. Wide-eyed kids stared up at the versatile backhoe, road grader, front-end loader and the big and little rollers to decide which one they would like to climb up on.
Sisters Camp-Sherman Fire Protection District had their own big rig parked on the road as paramedic Ben Bruegeman educated the kids about fire safety.
One of the highlights of the day was when Brad Tisdel, executive director of Sisters Folk Festival, broke out the buckets, drum sticks, shakers, cow bells and more and told folks to grab a bucket and don't be shy. The sound of a drumming circle reverberated through downtown.
Borla commented on the project celebration as she helped set up chairs for the bucket jam.
"It's been a great day," she said. "This is Sisters in March and the kids are having so much fun!"
Rodeo queens, firefighters and folks of all ages were among the many parts of the bucket jam band as Tisdel instructed them to "go with what you feel." The chant went like this: "Big rigs, big dig, big fun!"
The construction began Monday, March 3, with a roto-mill starting road removal.
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