News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor… 12/11/2019

To the Editor:

One of the reasons I purchased property in Sisters in the fall of 2005 was because of the fresh, crisp air. It was great to be able to walk outside and breath. My wife and I used to like to get up on the weekend with a blanket and nice cup of “Joe” and sit outside on the porch on winter mornings.

Pine-needle burning appeared to be an accepted practice in spring and fall, and for the most part, folks burned small controllable piles that didn’t give rise to much smoke. I have noticed a huge change in the way people burn, and in the air quality in the last five years. Not only have we been subject to massive forest fires, but we have been inundated with large pine-needle burns (sometimes very wet needles), for extended periods of time after the big fires were out.

Unfortunately, some folks who just don’t care appear to burn pine needles all year long. Some of these pine needle fires are not monitored by those who start them. Some cities, such as Sisters, have outlawed burning within city limits, but that doesn’t prevent those outside those limits from burning not only needles, but trash from their businesses, continuously. Some of these burn piles just plain stink.

There are solutions to all the smoke, but it would take action by Deschutes County:

•?Burning could be eliminated altogether, and folks would have to use free dump days.

•?Burning could be limited to a two- to three-week window in the spring and fall. This would give asthmatics a chance to saddle up and get out of town during these periods.

•?Burning could be eliminated in the summer months so all our Sisters events can be smoke-free.

Whatever the solutions, the current situation is toxic. Smoke is permeating inside sensitive people’s homes all year long. Sisters kind of smells like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when the steel mills were running full blast when I was growing up!

The inversion layer over Sisters won’t let the smoke out, but instead pushes it to the ground.

As the population increases in Sisters, and we add more industry, vent tubes from homes, more chimney pipes, more furnace vents, more car and truck and “toy” exhaust, more burn piles and deforest the area, the quality of our environment will be what suffers.

I am not against planned progress and burning as a whole. I just think we can do a better job scheduling it.

Bill Anttila

To the Editor:

I work at the Kiwanis Food Bank every week and have been chairman for the Spirit of Christmas Foodshare and Gifts for a number of years now. This is a letter of appreciation to the citizens of Sisters who have been so generous in supporting both endeavors.

For everyone who has brought in a bag or two of food or dropped by the Food Bank with a cash donation, you are our guardian angels. When you pick up and pay for the bag of groceries at Ray’s you might think it’s not much, but it is epic. It saves the Food Bank from having to buy a lot of food during the year. For everyone who gives their time stocking and then working to distribute food on Thursday, you need to polish your halos.

I think we have the best Food Bank anywhere, and it’s all because of this city and the people who live here.

The applications are still available for the Spirit of Christmas and can be picked up at the Fire Department, the Food Bank and the Sisters FAN office in the school district administration building and returned to the Fire Department. If you have children, applications must be turned in by Friday, December 13, so the elves at the Fire Department can get the presents in order. We are distributing the Spirit Of Christmas on Saturday, December 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fire Hall. The Sisters Kiwanis, the Fire Department and Furry Friends would love to share the Joy of this Christmas Season with you.

Merry Christmas!

Shirley Miller

To the Editor,

I have sent a preliminary email to the Sisters City Council that they consider a parking garage in the downtown core with charging stations, while large parcels of land are still available.

I am awaiting a return call from our state regarding the clean vehicle rebate program to determine if it would apply to such a venture.

I have spoken to the Ford company headquarters and found out that the chargers for their all-electric vehicles will be available for sale through Amazon next spring. They will have to be installed by an electrician.

I am also trying to connect with the Bend Community Development Department to find out what they would have done differently in 1994 considering how the population of Bend has exploded.

It seems to me that at the rate Sisters is growing, there will not be enough on-street parking for the local residents, let alone visitors, within a few short years. Why not plan ahead?

From a business point of view it seems to me that advertising a Sisters parking garage with charging stations for both plug-in and all-electric cars as “recharge while you shop and dine with us” would make sense. Of course, there would be spaces for fuel-driven cars as well.

Phyllis Lewis

To the Editor:

Thanks to Haley Hancock for reviving the Camp Sherman Bazaar.

What a fun event! Cocoa, homemade soup, art, holiday crafts and treats, photography, kid-made pies, handcrafted wears, music, and most importantly, community. It provided an outlet for talented local artists to share their creativity, and inspired young kids to make their own crafts and art to sell. The event raised money for the upkeep of our treasured Camp Sherman Community Hall and Black Butte School.

A local economy directly benefiting our town. In some ways revolutionary. In some ways just like it always has been; neighbors, clans, tribes supporting each other in the darkest days of winter. In all, traditions worth preserving.

Jennie Sharp

Camp Sherman


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