News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor - 10/7/2020

I certainly agree with all the readers that wrote regarding the CEO of Laird Superfoods’ proposed invasive (development) of the prime Forest Service properties in the middle of Sisters to house employees of their once-small operation, which is now being expanded to 500 people.

This is presumptuous and arrogant on their part with absolutely no consideration for the effect it will have on our community. We need to petition City Hall to stop this debacle. This is exactly what Governor McCall warned against many years ago if we were not diligent to protect our precious resources.

Jeanne Brooks

To the Editor:

A few weeks ago HB 4203, which bans chokeholds by Oregon’s peace officers, was signed into law. It passed 52-5 in the Oregon House and 25-1 in the Oregon Senate.

Regrettably, our state Representative Daniel Bonham was among the very few who voted against this bill. Even most of his fellow Republicans voted for it. Thus far, he has offered no public defense of his vote, but that’s not surprising. There really is no defense for his vote.

This is the critical text of the bill: “A peace officer is not justified in any circumstance in knowingly using physical force that impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of another person by applying pressure on the throat or neck of the other person, unless the circumstance is one in which the peace officer may use deadly physical force as provided in ORS 161.239.”

In other words, police officers may not use a chokehold unless the situation requires deadly physical force as described in Oregon Law. You can read about those circumstances under which deadly physical force is permitted at

So, why would our state representative vote against this bill unless he is completely out of touch with what has been happening in our country since the death of George Floyd? As evidence continues to mount that Black and brown people have been the targets of police brutality at significantly higher rates than can be explained by reasonable statistics — the fatality rate for Black Americans at the hands of police stands at 31 people per million of the population, while for white Americans is 13 per million (Statista Research Department.

“Police Shootings: Rate by Ethnicity US 2015-2020) — it is long past time for all of us, including our elected officials, to face that reality and take steps to prevent more tragic deaths.

According to The Washington Post (July 16, 2020), even police departments themselves are banning chokeholds: 26 of the nation’s 65 largest police departments have already done so and more are expected to follow.

Representative Bonham continues to vote with the most conservative members of his party, even walking off the job rather than voting for legislation that a majority of his constituents want. Fortunately, in November, we can vote against Daniel Bonham.

Arlene Burns has demonstrated her leadership and ability to make wise decisions for the good of her community as Mosier’s mayor. I had the opportunity to meet Arlene during her recent visit to Sisters, she is conscientious, caring, and a great listener. She’ll be joining Indivisible Sisters for a meet the candidate event via Zoom on October 8 at 7 p.m. You can join using this link:

I know I’ll be voting for Arlene this November for Representative of House District 59. She won’t let partisanship override common sense.

Josh Berger

To the Editor:

After hearing reports that President Trump referred to the American Marines who died on the battlefields of France in World War I as “suckers” and “losers,” it caused me to reflect on my own feelings about the president and the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country.

Last year my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall when it was on display in Tucson where we were living at the time. The memorial was on display on the grounds of a local casino. It is 3/5 of the size of the one in Washington D.C., made of granite, 375 feet long and 7.5’ tall. It contains the names of 58,320 American Soldiers who died in the war.

As my wife and I walked along the wall on a sunny day my wife eventually headed for a shady spot to sit as I continued my walk along the wall.

A few minutes went by and I observed an elderly couple ahead of me.

They were trailed by a younger woman and a guide carrying a ladder which she set down next to the wall.

I approached the younger woman and engaged her in a brief conversation.

She told me that they were looking for the name of her older brother and she had brought her mother and father to find their son’s name among the 58,320 who had died in the war.

I stood back to watch as they searched for his name.

Once they found it the elderly woman fumbled through her purse to locate a piece of paper and a pencil.

Assisted by her husband she shakily climbed the ladder and began to make a rubbing of their son’s name.

I returned to where my wife was resting and watched as they stood with their arms locked around one another staring silently at the wall.

The words of Pete Seeger’s song rattled through my brain as I wondered what they were thinking, “Where have all the flowers gone… and when will we ever learn,” as I looked at the thousands of names on the wall that seemed to stretch forever.

When I returned home, I looked up on the internet and located the name of their son and brother. There was a picture of him at his high school graduation. I’ve forgotten his name, but I will always remember the picture. He was a handsome boy with his hair neatly parted. His eyes portrayed both innocence and hope. His lips suggested a smile which hinted a mischievous playfulness. I could imagine him teasing a younger sister as I had when I was his age. He had grown up in a small town in Illinois and played on the football team. He had evidently been drafted right out of high school and was only 19 when he died.

Now, as I look back on that day I wonder what his family would think about the president’s words.

I could cite other examples of the president’s callous words about our fallen soldiers.

When La David Johnson died in Niger, Africa the president called his widow and, instead of consoling her, said that “her guy” (I guess he couldn’t remember his name) “knew what he was getting into.” Then, in 2017, when he accompanied his Chief of Staff, John Kelly, to visit the grave of Kelly’s son who had been killed in Afghanistan, he rudely said, “I don’t get it, what was in it for them.” In his runup to the election Trump attacked John McCain, “He was not a war hero.

He was a war hero because he was captured.

I like people who weren’t captured.” Then, within a few hours of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center all he could think of to say was to brag that one of his buildings was now the tallest one in downtown Manhattan.

Later, he claimed that he was at ground zero on the day of the attack in an effort to exploit the event for his own benefit.

The only question that remains in my mind is: When will we ever learn?

Daniel Ramberg

To the Editor:

The first Presidential Debate was two days ago (at time of letter submission) and I am still trying to wash off the aftermath as an assault victim tries to wash off the filth of defilement.

I am defiled by Trump’s assault, the contemptuous non-stop interruption and disrespect — a pounding slap in the face on verbal, emotional, and psychic levels. Although it was endured first-person by Vice President Biden, it extends to all Americans.

This abusiveness must stop. An attacker slaps the face of a victim to stun them, freeze them into inaction. This is an intentional strategy of abusiveness to gain advantage and exploit the situation. At the deep level of survival, it creates a fight, flight, or freeze reaction. This dynamic does not belong in functional politics in democracy. We must break the freeze and act to stop this domestic violence at the spectacular scale of our national house.

Stop enabling this cycle of mental sickness and intergenerational trauma. Chaos is a strategy, a slap in the face, to disable the priceless gift of language and communication. Connecting needs equal parts of talking and listening, speech and space for silence. Communication is the channel back to trust, co-operation, respect and safety. Chaos is the sledgehammer the breaks it.

Recognize the danger. This is not entertainment reality TV, but the lives of real people who face death as a consequence of abusive dysfunction of President Trump and his enablers. It is who he is. Preventable pandemic deaths, genocide (our Gwi’chen people in Alaska), destruction of environmental life support systems, hateful divisiveness leading to violence — all are direct evidence of life-threatening choices with which this man assaults the American people.

Who are you in my community who support death to my fellow Americans? Who are you that have not the courage to face your inner darkness and who revel in the entertainment of suffering? Who are you, and will you not stand with me in defending life, something bigger than an ideology or an autocrat? Whoever you are, sick or healthy, addicted, discouraged, indifferent or on the fence, I will do my best to stand with you when you are scared, sit with you when you are sick, and love you unconditionally as my country folk as we seek to heal and reunite. The first steps start right here, together. Speak up to stop abuse, national and domestic. Support healing and life.

Rachel Smith

To the Editor:

This letter is written to thank those volunteers who participated in the final Crossroads Homeowners Association road cleanup for 2020 which occurred on Saturday, October 3. Volunteers included Gail Halley, Geneieve MacKensie, Amber Barton, Joanne Anttila, Sean Smith, Bill Anttila, Kerry Goff, Ron Thorkildson, Sharon Thorkildson, and Lucy Grittman. There was more trash than anticipated, considering Highway 242 was closed due to recent forest fires The next-scheduled road-litter cleanup for the stretch of road from Edgington Road to Cold Springs Campground will be in April 2021.

Bill Anttila

To the Editor:

I believe this is by far the worst election in history since 1789.

No president since Abraham Lincoln has faced this much hatred and still achieved more. It cost Lincoln his life, and also John F. Kennedy; wounded Reagan.

I feel that Christians need to pray hard as Trump and Pence are in grave danger.

I think Trump will be re-elected and start bringing God’s light back to this country. If Christians fervently pray, we will drive darkness away and bring back light.

God had a plan for all humanity to live in peace, harmony, love one for another. We went off the plan; time to come back.

Chet Davis


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