News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor… 11/27/2019

To the Editor:

Guest columnist Josh Groves makes important points about reasons to oppose development pressure in his “Expansion of Sisters Benefits Few” piece last week.

Growth benefits a handful of developers in the short term, but it does not benefit most citizens or tourists who are attracted to Sisters as a small community with a special connection to nature and who marvel in its clean water, air and pristine habitat. He’s right to point to lessons from Bend, where unchecked growth is causing worse congestion and putting pressure on natural resources without increasing affordability or family-wage jobs.

But there’s another reason to be extremely cautious when turning up the heat on development and handing out building permits without thinking about the future, as recently highlighted in the New York Times (“As Climate Risk Grows, Cities Test a Tough Strategy: Saying ‘No’ To Developers”). With dangers from climate extremes rising, so too is the likelihood of wildfire, especially in wildland-urban interface towns like Sisters.

No matter how many preventative measures are taken, another wildfire that has the potential to cause major devastation isn’t a matter of if, it’s when. And as the financial and emotional toll of climate-related disasters experienced throughout the nation have shown, greater development in these vulnerable areas only ups the ante on that


If protecting what makes Sisters special as a community — celebrated by locals and tourists alike for its small-town feel and close connection to nature — aren’t enough for elected officials and community leaders to stop yielding to pressure from special interests and developers, then the very real dangers of climate change and the drive to keep Sisters and its residents safe should be.

Darcie Buckley

To the Editor:

I wish to echo Josh Groves’ concerns about development in Sisters (The Nugget, November 20, page 2).

Although it is both impossible and undesirable to live in a fossilized community, local development has gotten out of hand. Nugget writer Sue Stafford writes in Area 97 that in Sisters “growth is accompanied by the usual benefits and growing pains one would expect.” This begs the question of what are the “usual benefits”? Do they outweigh the growing pains?

The municipal authorities seem to have no resistance to the blandishments of developers or certain businesses no matter what the effect on the community as a whole. They also seem to forget that Sisters cannot be thought of as just a small town of 3,000 people because probably twice that number live within five miles of it and are affected by what happens there.

Why does Sisters need a Dollar Store or need to give Laird Industries $50,000 of our money to set up shop? The argument that the town needs to diversify its economy is hollow, unconvincing and ignores the nature of the larger community (especially retirees). The growing strip mall west of town and subdivisions in town are turning Sisters into an expanding patch of mostly ugly urban sprawl. In the summer the town almost comes to a halt because of the traffic. Sisters’ small-town atmosphere and natural beauty, which have made it an attractive place in which to live, are being undermined by pointless development, that is, the irresponsible policies of the municipal authorities.

Growth for growth’s sake is the rationale of the cancer cell. The word “country” can now be dropped from the marketing phrase “Sisters Country.”

Gary Leiser

To the Editor:

Just wanted to thank Jim and Sue and the staff at The Nugget for the GREAT coverage of C4C’s “Let’s Sing” event last Friday. It was very well-attended by 200 multigenerational folks who sang and smiled together through the night.

Thank you for supporting us so strongly in creating this success.

Chris Laing


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