News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor - 9/30/2020

To the Editor:

I have been curious of Laird Superfood’s interest in Sisters since CEO Paul Hodge announced that the company would build their factory and headquarters here in Sisters and employ about 500 people. Now we see that Hodge and his partner, Paul Schneider, have purchased 36 acres of the old U.S. Forest Service property at the west end of town and have requested approval of a plan to build workforce housing for 300-500 new homes there on 25 of those acres. As letter writer Gary Leiser said, (The Nugget, Sept. 23) they should become multi-millionaires almost instantly from selling all those “workforce” homes.

And let’s consider this: 500 Laird employees could mean 500 new residents of Sisters. If half of them are married, add 250 more people. If half of them have one child, add 125 more for a total of 875 new residents. And most families these days have two cars, so here comes another 750 cars.

Mr. Schneider said, “We don’t want to change the community. We want to expand on it, providing workforce housing.” Well, sir, 875 new residents and 750 more cars will change the community, irreparably. I sincerely hope that the Sisters City Council denies this devastating request.

Jim Cline

To the Editor:

A message for Jeff Mackey

Thank you for your service. Thank you for your patriotism. Thank you for your courage — it has not gone unnoticed. And thank you for sharing your common sense — a rare commodity these days and apparently a foreign concept to many.

God bless you, Jeff.

Sharon Hrdlicka

To the Editor:

I don’t like to write letters to the editor anymore, because when you put your name out there with your opinion on it, well, careful what you wish for.

But I do feel compelled to write about the current forest fire situation in Oregon. In my humble opinion, climate change is a significant driver of the increasing size, strength and intensity of the fires we’ve witnessed over the last several years, with this year’s events here in Oregon being amazingly horrific. I believe we must continue to enact energy policies worldwide (not just in the US) that will reduce CO2 and methane emissions.

But this is what else I think we need to do.

We must better manage our forests, improve our electrical infrastructure, and rethink our development policies (to list three areas of concern) as we continue to encroach on our forests.

Think about it — if the entire human population stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow (other than what we breathe out and flatulate in order to actually live), what impact would that have on next year’s fire season? It would likely have no measurable impact for several years.

And of course we aren’t going to magically cut our emissions to near zero tomorrow anyway, it will be a gradual reduction.

It took humans 300+ years to change the climate in one direction, it will take many years to change it in another direction.

Some scientists believe it’s already too late to do anything. I don’t subscribe to that viewpoint, but they could be right. So, how do we prevent a forest fire calamity next year? Unfortunately, it won’t be through addressing climate change. Near-term prevention has to be achieved with actions that will have an immediate impact.

Listening to our politicians debate over whether it’s climate change or forest management that is responsible for wildfires reminds me of the age old nature or nurture question. Well duhh, it’s both! I think they all know that (I hope?), what they say is just more rhetoric for their respective bases. Yes, climate change is having a negative impact, but we’re already here. We can’t make the climate go back to normal tomorrow. And if we somehow managed this (impossible) feat, does anyone really think it will also prevent forest fires next year? Addressing climate change, while the right thing to do, will take years to have an impact.

It is my sincere belief that we must address climate change for the long-term health of our planet and we must address forest-management practices and policies for the near-term prevention of massive destruction of public and private lands and properties due to wildfires. It’s not an either/or proposition. To see our politicians argue over it as such is, at best, disappointing.

We can do better. We must do better. We will do better. Good science will lead the way.

Matt Wessel

To the Editor:

I read the Letters to the Editor in The Nugget written by Marvin Inman and Gary Leiser regarding the development on the Forest Service property. There is an old adage, “you can’t fight City Hall.” I know. I have tried several times to no avail. That doesn’t mean we can’t stop trying.

Driving down Barclay Road past that Forest Service property, I absolutely cannot envision 300 homes crammed into that acreage. I have seen cars lined up as far back as Pine Street and beyond waiting to access the roundabout. Try to imagine cars from that development trying to ease into that line up. Next to impossible!

Think about the pollution, the drain on the water system, the loss of our dark skies and probably the view of the stars and, most of all, the peace and quiet of our city.

The Planning Commission made the decision to allow Laird’s CEO to develop this property to benefit his employees. The commission does not care about the people they are supposed to serve and represent. They do not care about the quality of life we enjoy and expect. This will be gone forever.

This development should not be allowed to go forward. I believe the public has the right to demand a vote on this development that will greatly affect and destroy our beautiful community as we know it today.

Donna Holland

To the Editor:

Regarding our local citizens who have been courageously standing in Sisters to support Black lives, I hope they really do stand for all Black lives, even being aware that the BLM organization does not and is actually doing damage to them. Being a family with both Black and white members, and also with members in law enforcement, I am very concerned that BLM has used the horrible death of George Floyd to co-opt the conversation, playing on people’s natural sympathies, creating needless “white guilt,” using them in order to further the organization’s dangerous goals, which were spelled out in Owen Herzberg’s letter of August 26.

In truth, we are all descended from the same original parents — nobody truly white, just many shades of brown depending on the amount of melanin in our skin. But BLM (and many Democrat leaders) incite racism by both whites and Blacks in order to further their agenda and gain more power. This has led to needless killings of both white and Black police and others. The push to defund police will leave Black communities, where Black-on-Black crime is rampant, unprotected from criminals. The rioting has destroyed many Black-owned businesses. Do these Black lives and livelihoods matter?

Do you know that Planned Parenthood places abortion clinics in Black neighborhoods to reduce the Black population, killing about 40 percent of Black babies by abortion? Do their lives matter?

Statistically, more whites than Blacks are killed by police, but nearly all are due to resisting arrest during criminal activity! Why? Blacks who become successful through our system are called “Uncle Toms” by other Blacks! Why?

It would further the mission of our peaceful protesters if they would edit their signs to say all Black lives matter (and even whitish ones).

Lorene Richardson

To the Editor:

Our heartfelt thanks and condolences to Deb Kollodge’s family.

Deb, who passed away July 25, was a wonderful asset to the community of Sisters. She served on the city council and volunteered for almost every organization in Sisters at some point during her time here.

She went out of her way to recruit members of the Sisters community to join her in volunteer efforts. She was gentle, graceful, and kind. I loved seeing her and Jerry often as they rode their bikes around town. She had Gary Frazee on speed dial, and I am sure he would get calls daily to fix something she saw needed attention on her daily rides.

I loved Deb dearly and she was a good friend to me. I enjoyed working with her on the Community Action Team and the city council. She is loved and will be remembered fondly as a wonderful and valued member of the Sisters community.

Thank you, Kris and Phil, for sharing Deb with our town!

Judy Trego

Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce

Sisters Community Action Team

To the Editor:

I remember a time when you could enjoy a good political discussion. It was interesting and enlightening to hear others’ opinions, enjoy a congenial banter, agree to disagree and walk away friends. No rocks were thrown, no buildings burned, no one was killed. But today, we live in a country torn apart by divisiveness. The United States of America has become The Divided States of America. Our “leaders” draw lines, take sides, point fingers, toss insults — and like lemmings, we the people follow.

Do you, like me, sometimes scratch your head in wonder? How did our country become so intolerant of differing views? Why did we become so deeply divided, so angry, so accusatory? When did political divisiveness turn pandemic? Call me naïve, but I attribute much of our division to this millennium’s age of “instant information” and the popularity of social media. The latest “news” (whether fact or fiction) is right at our fingertips. Click and read—then shake your fist. Or spout off even more steam by “sharing” these juicy tidbits on your favorite social media platform.

It’s no secret that we’re attracted to opinions that align and support our own beliefs and views. Liberals tend to listen to liberal news sources. Conservatives gravitate to conservative ones. And thanks to technology we have plenty of resources to choose from. On both sides of the ever-growing spectrum. But have you noticed, there aren’t many resources in the middle? It’s hard to find an honest, neutral and reliable news source these days. Well, besides The Nugget — for which I’m grateful.

But take a moment to ask yourself — who do you listen to? Is it only one side? Do you surround yourself with the voices that echo your own opinions? Or do you take time to listen to opposition? Even if we don’t like the words or tone they use, are we willing to bend our ears their way in order to get a better understanding ... to see a larger picture ... perhaps even engage in a friendly banter that doesn’t turn angry or ugly? I don’t want to live in The Divided States of America. But unity, like charity, begins at home. I pray we all do our part to mend, restore, and heal our country. United we stand, divided we fall.

Melody Carlson

To the Editor:

I want to take a moment to say thanks for the time and effort you all put into printing the weekly Nugget.

It is nice to hear of the many activities that occur in the Sisters area.

I especially have been enjoying the “Scottie Wisdom and Faith.” Jean Russell Nave has a nice way of using real life situations to better understand “life.”

The paper does a nice job of presenting different viewpoints, either through “Letters to the Editor” or your columnist articles.

I look forward to reading the variety chosen for print each week.

Jane Chugg

To the Editor:

I had to respond to the article on September 16, “Felling the wrong tree can be costly” (The Nugget, page 1). The 100-foot ponderosa pine on City property was present before the City of Sisters was settled. The homeowner asked permission to remove it and the city denied this request. The homeowner brazenly and unlawfully removed it anyway. They used Cascade Tree Works that didn’t have a license to operate in Sisters.

There are city ordinances and state law to address this issue, specifically to provide a deterrent. The estimated value of the tree was $26,845. ORS 108.810 lawfully allows the city to demand three times the estimated value of the tree, legal fees, and reforestation costs.

What did the city manager do? He had a 50 percent-off sale on an irreplaceable heritage tree. This is a slap on the wrist for a citizen and a tree company that ignored the law and the city denial to remove.

This sets a dangerous precedent just as Sisters is about to have a 250-home development built on the west end of town. I know some City Council members expressed frustration on how this was handled and plan to tighten up the city regulations.

The laws needed to create a strong deterrent are already in place! They were not enforced in any meaningful way. Fifty percent of the value of an irreplaceable tree is hardly a deterrent.

Tragically, Oregonians have lost thousands of trees to recent fire including in the Opal Creek old growth forest. I strongly recommend that everyone read the Pulitzer Prize winning book “The Overstory” by Richard Powers and “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer to get a sense of the contribution of these magnificent trees to all creatures and to our rapidly-changing environment.

Kathleen Kennedy

To the Editor:

I am always touched by the stories people share in The Nugget of the many kindnesses that happen in our community. Recently one happened to me and it is too precious not to share. I stopped at Ray’s to get a bag of groceries. The check-out person rang up about half the bag when I reached into my pocket and realized my credit card was in another jacket at home and I didn’t have enough cash on me to cover it.

I was so embarrassed but the check-out person was lovely and handled it so well. I asked him to just hold everything in the bag for me and told him I would be back in 10 minutes. I returned quickly and waited in the same line. When it was my turn I reminded him I was there to pay for the bag he so nicely set aside for me. He said, “You aren’t going to believe this but two firefighters who were in line behind you paid for your bag of groceries.”

Their gesture so deeply touched both of us that it brought tears to our eyes. That sweet selfless act on top of what the firefighters already do just warmed our hearts. They had told the check-out person that someone had done that for them recently and they wanted to pay it forward.

A nice woman leaving the store in front of me overheard part of the story and, when I shared the rest with her, she told me it just made her day.

I know it certainly made mine.

I am writing to formally thank those firefighters, whoever they are.

Not only do they put themselves in harm’s way for our safety but they do it with such heart on so many levels.

This story is about so much more than the experience I have just shared.

It is a story about kindness, generosity, integrity, gratitude, joy, appreciation and forfeited faith in humanity.

I look forward to finding the opportune time to keep the “pay-it-forward” chain going in honor of all the amazing firefighters and in honor of our community.

Lynne Keller

To the Editor:

In the future, individuals will be asked to account for their whereabouts during 2020. Similar to the attack on the twin towers on 9/11, we will tell our children and grandchildren about living through the coronavirus pandemic.

During the past few years, I have not wanted to be part of the problem but, rather, part of the solution. So I treaded lightly around speaking of politics. I thought that being informed about domestic and international affairs was sufficient.

At this point, though, I cannot remain on the sidelines. It is too risky. I must speak out at least to feel like I did something during this unprecedented time. It has gotten that bad.

With the contentious 2020 election directly ahead, conflict intensifies with President Trump suggesting that he will not step down from office, even if his Democratic opponent Joe Biden wins the election.

Thursday, Trump went so far as to say that the voting ballots should be disposed of. He said “get rid of the ballots” because this election is a “scam,” a “hoax” devised by the Democrats, insisting that we won’t need a transfer of power but rather there will be a continuation of power. Really? This is a dangerous abuse of power that we have never seen the likes of in our democracy.

This week Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, among other Senate Republicans, in an unusual bipartisan move, assured that the U.S. Constitution will be upheld. The Constitution preciously ensures a peaceful transfer of power upon election results, regardless of the winner.

Continuously, Trump behaves more like a dictator than a democratic leader. Over the past few years, Trump has actively disrespected democratic norms in a covert attempt to dismantle the foundation carefully constructed by our Founding Fathers.

His past statements imply that Trump will do whatever it takes to win this election, even accepting and encouraging foreign interference to increase his odds of winning.

Many Republicans have endorsed Biden because of Trump’s divisive words, so often impulsively revealed on Twitter, along with his destructive and outright cruel actions.

Most recently, a long-standing Republican, Cindy McCain, endorsed Joe Biden, encouraging us to put our country above our political party. She said in a tweet, “There is only one candidate in this race who stands up for our values as a nation and that’s Joe Biden.” She went on to say that even though she does not agree with Joe Biden on all issues, “He is a good man. He will lead us with dignity. He will be a commander and chief that the finest force in history of the world can depend upon.”

We are in for a scary, tumultuous rollercoaster ride to the finish line. The citizens and immigrants of America must fight for peace and restoration of order in a time of history characterized by chaos and division. Our democracy depends upon it.

Sarah Pond

To the Editor:

Why here, why us? We are already one of the cleanest countries in the world and by promoting what Democrats want to do, more regulations, higher taxes will only drive manufacturing out of our country once more to places that don’t come close to our standards.

So, by limiting your attention to the USA and not thinking out of the box, it will not only hurt us but produce more pollution worldwide.

Trump could actually do it through trade restrictions and with his business expertise. Require them to meet our standards first and when the playing field becomes level we can all concentrate on further steps. Weakening us first and not acting through strength would only be futile.

Byron Blake


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