News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor - 8/5/2020

To the Editor:

I am anxious enough living in a time of pandemic and so limit myself to about 30 minutes of reading the news about the latest outrage from Trump. Unfortunately, I stumbled across the opinion piece by Jim Cornelius published July 29 opining on the Portland Troubles (“Echoes of tumult,” page 6).

If evidence-free “both sides do it” nonsense is the best thing he can do, he should stop. “[S]omebody was going to take action” he says. You mean like tear-gassing peaceful protestors, stopping bystanders and demanding identification with the threat of arrest, taking media personnel off public sidewalks and throwing them in unmarked rental vans and putting them in custody, all done by federal agents with military gear and weapons but little or no identification? I didn’t see Mr. Cornelius stand grimly brandishing automatic weapons to protect us from the federal “jack-booted thugs” or black helicopters circling overhead.

Perhaps he thinks it is okay to assault the moms linking arms to protect the protesters and even club our military veterans who are attempting to do the same. I admit that it has been years since I practiced law, but I recall that the right of the people to peaceably assemble for a redress of grievances is protected by the First Amendment and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures and arrest only upon probable cause enshrined in the Fourth. But perhaps his interest in the U.S. Constitution is limited to the Second Amendment.

Without evidence, he states that the Portland mayor and city commissioners are “overtly hostile to law enforcement.” Does he mean that they will not turn a blind eye to law enforcement killing unarmed black men? The Tell in his piece is that he mentions George Floyd only in passing.

He couldn’t resist throwing a jab at our governor. Well, our petite female governor stood up to the bully boys of Chad Wolf, acting head thug of the DHS and got them to back down.

T. Lee Brown’s thoughtful and evidence-based piece on the opposite page more eloquently answers Mr. Cornelius’s vacuous writing. What Mr. Cornelius needs to do is watch the excruciating videos of federal agents’ actions in Portland and then write and have published his apology.

Michael Wells

To the Editor:

A road cleanup of Highway 242 — one of four scheduled per year — between Cold Springs Campground and Sisters Middle School, was organized by Crossroads HOA activities committee Joanne Anttila and Amber Barton on July 22.

It is a great way to make the community a nicer place, and social distance at the same time.

From the seven volunteers who participated, nine yellow bags of trash of “various” items were collected. This was unexpected as we thought COVID-19 travel would eliminate some of the debris. What is disheartening is the amount of trash that traffic has dumped on that section of the road in just two weeks since that event. I hope it is not Oregonians doing it.

Another issue I want to mention is that traffic is supposed to slow down between the orange ODOT signs warning of litter crews, not speed up. It is hard to control a yellow trash bag when people drive by you as if they are being chased by an OSP!

There will be another road cleanup scheduled, probably in September.

Bill Anttila

To the Editor:

This letter is to the citizens of Sisters. I am encouraging you to run for office.

Bah-humbug, you may say, but please read this. You see, I am working on running. Yep. I am not a candidate yet — takes a little reading and a splash of paper work to get approved and confirmed. So, in the meantime, if the possibility of Cobb on Sisters’ City Council sounds like a bad omen to you, then you may want to reconsider your first reaction of poo-pooing the idea of running.

The last two election cycles, in which three City Council seats always become open, only three candidates ran. So, of course they won. I think that is sort of sad. I know from being on an HOA board for the past three years that many folks will complain and a few will be very supportive, but even a smaller number, indeed, will run for office. It appears this is also the case for council seats. Let’s change that.

To run for City Council (a volunteer job), you only need to have lived in Sisters for last 12 months continuously, be a registered voter in the City of Sisters (the seat is non-partisan), and have a functioning heart (yeah, I added that last bit). To get a feel for the job, you will want to check out the City Council meetings on and if you want to be apprised about up-coming meetings go to http://www.sisters. To explore running, go to the main website to review the information If you decide you want a hard copy of the process or have questions, call or email the City Recorder, Kerry Prosser at City Hall (541-323-5213 or [email protected]). I found Kerry is extremely helpful.

Here’s the skinny on running: There are three simple forms to fill out to get the ball rolling.

You formally let the City know you seriously want to run by filling out and submitting to City Hall an SE101 and a partially filled out SE121.

If your content checks out, City Hall will give back your SE121s to be completed with names/signatures from registered voters living in our precinct 30.

One only needs 10 names but, getting twenty names assures you’ve got all you need in case someone signs twice or is not in fact a registered voter or is in another precinct.

Once the SE121s (only 10 names to one form) are filled out, then you fill out an SEL338 to go with each SEL121 – so, two of those.

Lastly, the City Recorder and Deschutes County Clerk make sure all is copacetic and let you know if you need to resubmit one of the SE121s or SE338s. If all checks out, they let you know if you are a candidate. This all must get done before August 25 by 5 p.m. and might take you three weeks at most. Plenty of time left for you to run after reading this letter.

Once a candidate, there are decisions to be made about having a campaign or not and assuring you track your spending. So, please, join me in running for a seat on Sisters City Council. Let’s have a lively election this time.

Susan Cobb

To the Editor:

I’d like to thank Olivia Hougham for her words that were reported in Katy Yoder’s informative article “Sisters vigil takes on racial issues,” printed in the July 29 issue of The Nugget.

Olivia called us all “to take responsibility for the things that still need improvement. Just because you ignore something doesn’t make it any less real.

In so many ways it seems like our world’s in chaos. The headlines scream this news at every opportunity. I hear this and I read about it, but wonder what does that really mean. My world is made up of family, friends and neighbors. For me life is content. I ask myself, “Why listen to protests? It’s their world, not mine. Why must I change?”

It’s now becoming apparent that a bubbling boil has been simmering far too long. We hear a lot of yelling and the words, “We’ve been wronged!” Those of us far away from this chaos wonder, why and where did this anger come from?

It’s easy to feel we’re not the ones who have caused this unrest. I’m sure, I haven’t— my life has been blest. Or, have I? Why should I pay any attention when I hear them cry, “protest — yes, protest.”

Yes, it’s easy to sit back and reflect on the situation, feeling we’re not to blame. But still, I wonder what are they asking for. Could it be respect? Isn’t that something we all have? I know I do. How is it denied to them?

What difference does this “chaos” make for me? I hear about it in the news but what does that really mean for me? I live in Sisters, not Portland. As I said before, my life has been blessed which allows me to cruise along with few worries. Why should I care? Can’t I just pass them by?

Yes, our world’s in chaos, the headlines scream. I hear, I read. But what does that mean?

As Olivia said, “We all have privilege if we’re not Black.” It is time for all of us to realize our role in the chaos that’s no longer a simmer. We must take responsibility to improve all that’s gone wrong. Just because our lives are blest and we can cruise along with few worries, we can’t just ignore it as if it isn’t real.

Thank you, again Olivia. We needed this wake-up call.

Edie Jones

To the Editor:

In response to T. Lee Brown’s column, “Oregon is not a TV show,” (The Nugget, July 29, page 7):

It’s important to note what may have started out as peaceful protests by Americans exercising their First Amendment rights has now been hijacked by criminals unwilling to be peaceful. Stating that “a few protestors….who want to light fires and make big noises” is a GROSS understatement. Footage shows hundreds of these rioters causing damage to businesses and federal buildings resulting in the escalated enforcement of law and order.

Peaceful protestors should consider that their voice is NOT being shut down by the federal government, but rather by the violent hijacking rioters.

Cheryl Pellerin

To the Editor:

Re: “Fire closed Hwy. 20 east of Sisters,” (The Nugget, July 29, page 1):

This type of thing could happen in downtown Sisters. It is way past time for the state and city to get together with a route for Highway 20 using the old Shevlin-Hickson right of way used to bypass town.

The bypass down Barclay Drive is terrible, located between schools and difficult for big trucks.

Blaine McGillicuddy

To the Editor,

I write to applaud, support and affirm three courageous former Sisters’ graduates, Keegan, Zidane and Olivia, whose recent editorial and a speech at the Black Lives Vigil illuminated their experiences of discrimination while living in Sisters.

Please know many of us are aware of the “whiteness” of Sisters and Oregon, but keep working in small ways to change things. Having been privileged to become acquainted with numerous members of our Latinx community through a former volunteer English tutoring program, I also know stories and believe you! The question often asked is, “What can we do?”

As a former teacher starting in the 1960s, I learned through the Civil Rights Movement and a very diverse Denver-area student body how to see and behave differently. Yes, I hold teachers and coaches responsible for tuning in to what’s happening in their classes and hallways, merely because of their positions of power and influence. When kids get messages, they do impact their families and community. The first lesson is to not assume one person of color speaks for every person of color! Then stop using the word “they” referring to any race, culture, or group; instead choosing “some, one person or a few.” Generalities in language propagate stereotypes.

Another error we “well-intentioned” make is becoming “saviors” rather than “allies.” We do “for” instead of “with” people different than ourselves.

To step outside our own comfort zones we can view or buy art, listen to music, attend lectures, discussions, watch educational programs, shop in ethnic stores, try different foods, travel, learn 10 words of another language, read books by other-culture-race authors or settings, tutor non-English speakers, bring “other” holidays into your family, look or smile at someone directly, instead of away.

When you hear racial slurs, speak up gently, stating that the words are hurtful and make you uncomfortable.

Don’t expect everyone to accept your words but feel empowered inside for being true to your own values.

Much of our inherent racism stems from fear of differentness, of not knowing, so we cling to the comfort of those like us. Take the risk of stepping out! Paulina Books has a wide choice of materials; COCC sponsors the Nancy Chandler Visiting Scholar programs and the multicultural lectures and discussions; the Bend Latino Organization needs tutors; volunteer in Sisters’ schools at any level; host a dialogue with Latinx folks in your church; invite your cleaning woman or landscaper for a potluck to SHARE each other’s foods; attend a protest! Learn!

Don’t give up, just show up, stand up, speak up!

Wendie Vermillion

To the Editor:

Regarding your editorial “Echoes of tumult” and the continuing civil unrest in Portland, Oregon (The Nugget, July 29, pg. 6):

Upon graduation from Portland State University I entered the behavioral health field. I have lived downtown, near PSU, since 2006. What was once a vibrant, intermingling community of race, culture, ideologies, gender, and remarkable interaction is no more.

COVID-19 has driven us behind masks and indoors. Unbridled violence has ruptured what was once the wonderful weirdness of Portland.

Sixty-plus days of peaceful protest followed by rioting has shuttered businesses and run others, some here for decades, out. Those who live downtown, particularly those over 60, must be extra cautious when we go out. The police are not supported by the city leadership and certainly not respected. Their hands are tied and in return we are put at great risk.

Worse is the growing atmosphere of hopelessness, vulnerability, and increasing anger among those who live downtown. The sights, sounds, smells, destruction of buildings and landmarks, along with the closure of schools, museums, and places of worship echoes the same witnessed during my multiple tours in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003/2004.

I understand, after now years of meeting with refugees and working with service members and veterans, how an entire population becomes “shell-shocked” under such conditions.

In Portland’s case the one-two punch of unending pandemic and politically condoned violence by all levels of leadership are to blame. It seems as if Kate Brown, Ted Wheeler, and the federales have all taken the position that “in order to save the village we have to destroy it.”

For any person, faction, or side involved to claim the moral high ground is blasphemy.

Gregory Walker

The Nugget welcomes contributions from its readers, which must include the writer’s name, address and phone number. Letters to the Editor is an open forum for the community and contains unsolicited opinions not necessarily shared by the Editor. The Nugget reserves the right to edit, omit, respond or ask for a response to letters submitted to the Editor. Letters should be no longer than 300 words. Unpublished items are not acknowledged or returned. The deadline for all letters is 10 a.m. Monday.


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