News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Developer wants City to buy property for a park

Nick Veroske thinks the property he owns at the corner of Oak Street and Cascade Avenue would make a great park — and he wants the City of Sisters to use Urban Renewal District funds to purchase it.

In a July 20 letter to the members of Sisters Urban Renewal Agency (members of the city council), Veroske stated:

“A prominently visible park right as travelers enter Downtown after the drive from the I-5 corridor would act as a magnet to motivate a traveler ready to stretch their legs and enjoy a refreshment to stop. The logical progression is then to walk, shop and spend. In addition, this location is easily walkable from the future ‘Sisters Woodlands’ 250 to 300 workforce housing units proposed for the 31 acres of the Forest Service land. As such, it will act as a magnet to draw those residents into downtown.”

Veroske, President of Willamette Equities, Inc. of Portland, said the property has a commercial value of $1.24 million. He has dropped the price to $800,000. He told The Nugget that he would like to see the City purchase the property and develop it as a “town square” park, a project that is contemplated in the City’s urban renewal plan.

The City has scheduled a workshop for Wednesday, August 26, to revise that plan, and draft revisions include removal of the town square park.

City Manager Cory Misley told The Nugget that the proposed removal of the park from the urban renewal plan is not connected to Veroske’s proposal.

“That plan was adopted in 2003, and at that point there was a couplet on the table and a lot of things that are no more,” he said. “Fir Street Park didn’t exist at that time.”

Misley said that the City is not interested in pursuing Veroske’s proposal for a park at the Cascade/Oak location.

“We didn’t do an analysis per se,” he said. “But we don’t think spending three-quarters-of-a-million dollars on that property is the right path forward.”

The property has remained undeveloped since the Chevron station that occupied it for years was removed in 2005. It has been used for some events like a Wild West Show and craft fairs, though those uses proved controversial among some local business owners.

Veroske told The Nugget that he has considered a project that would build commercial space on the property with 19 condominium spaces above. However, he said, costs of construction, and constraints related to building height and parking essentially make the property undevelopable.

“The rents will not support the cost of construction,” he said. “There is just not enough year-round business in Sisters to support new construction. It would be very surprising if this property could be developed at all in the quite immediate future. In my mind, it’s just not economically feasible to develop on it.”

He said it is not financially viable for him to donate the property to the City for public space.

Misley pointed out that the City of Sisters is entering into its comprehensive plan update — which is where changes to building height restrictions and parking requirements could be originated.

“We are updating our comprehensive plan, and if that’s how you feel, you should make your voice known,” he said.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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