News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor - 10/14/2020

Hey, it isn’t easy to come up with something everyone can agree on these days, but I think I have one: Inasmuch as Jim Anderson (The Sisters Naturalist) has probably had more to do with the edification of the entire population of this region than anybody ever has, the next time a name is needed for a new school here it should be the Jim Anderson Elementary, Middle School or whatever, right?

Go golden eagles! Or horned owls! Or bats!

Don Wilt

To the Editor:

Since I was awakened very early yet again (4:54 a.m.!) by tractor engines, banging dump trucks, and beepers from the nearby rock and gravel yard, it got me thinking about the current — and coming — conflicts over zoning and development here in Sisters.

Perhaps it’s time to address a different angle of the “this is not our town” sentiments — that being the issue that current zoning laws, building codes, and city codes are not consistently enforced, thus creating issues in our current reality.

When we built our new home in the ClearPine development (off of Northwest Pine Street north of Barclay Avenue) we knew that there would be home construction noise here for several years to come. We knew that the development abutted a “light industrial” zone along Barclay. We also knew that this sort of mixed-use zoning arrangement could work next to residential areas if, and only if, everybody obeyed the rules.

Well, we were simply not prepared for the pre-dawn roar of tractor engines, back-up beepers, and loud banging of dump trucks (in the sand and gravel yard at the end of North Curtis Street), nor were we prepared for the ceaseless drone of diesel generators of multiple refrigerator trailers (parked at Laird Superfoods on Lundgren Mill Drive).

We have a pretty good working relationship with most of the builders here, who mainly follow the rules and are usually quiet before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. But, as they say, “not so much” with our light industrial neighbors to the south, who continually violate Sisters City noise codes (and lighting, but that’s another story). We’ve called and sent complaints to the city multiple times, to no avail. Several of us here have talked (or tried to talk) to the offending businesses, but all complaints thus far have been ignored — met with indifference at best, and responded to with rudeness at worst.

I know that this might seem rather petty, but it isn’t: sleep is vital to good health, stress relief, job performance and quality of life. So what should our next step be? File “official” City of Sisters noise violation complaint forms? Work to rezone the area and move the businesses out? Elect a city council that listens to, and acts upon, the concerns of residents rather than pandering to business interests? Or...?

The City of Sisters must effectively enforce current noise, lighting, tree removal, traffic, etc. ordinances and codes. Going forward, Sisters must plan, zone, and build areas to maintain livability and reduce as much as possible incompatible uses and conflicts. Such situations will only get worse as more inappropriate development is approved, and stressors on the residential population will only increase due to inappropriate and non-compliant users and uses. Make effective laws and enact appropriate rules — and enforce them please!

Scott R. Bowler

To the Editor:

Homeland Security officials and military commanders who protect our national security have firsthand knowledge of the gravest threats facing our nation. So it’s particularly striking that, according to reporting by major international news outlet Reuters, nearly 130 former Republican defense and national security officials have publicly opposed Donald Trump’s re-election bid and endorsed Joe Biden for president. Seven of those officials served under Trump.

The group, titled Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden, includes highly respected military leaders and government officials who collectively commanded U.S. troops in Afghanistan and held high positions in the FBI and CIA and at National Intelligence.

These esteemed statesmen cast Trump as being unfit to serve as president, say he failed America by his irresponsible response to the coronavirus pandemic, protest his alienation of U.S. allies and decry his response to protests across the U.S. over racial injustice and police brutality against Black Americans.

Elizabeth Neumann, who served as assistant secretary for threat prevention in the Department of Homeland Security under Trump, minced no words, denouncing the president as “extremely dangerous.”

But Trump wouldn’t be so dangerous if it weren’t for the thousands of servile Republican officials who support him despite the threat he poses to our republic.

If you care about the security of our country and your loved ones, you must vote out Donald Trump and his party-over-country Republican enablers in Congress and Oregon’s legislature. It’s not hyperbole to say the future of our country depends on it.

Michael Cooper

To the Editor:

Please re-elect Andrea Blum for Sisters City Council. Councilor Blum is always prepared for meetings and asks probing questions. Councilor Blum’s historical knowledge of City Council and community events allows her to make unbiased, informed decisions.

As a native Oregonian that is active in our community, she understands our values and priorities, and the legal parameters the City must abide by. Councilor Blum currently plays a key role representing our city’s transportation needs at the regional level in addition to her council duties.

I have served on Council with Andrea Blum for over five years, she deserves your vote.

Please vote ABC (Andrea Blum for Council).

Nancy Connolly

To the Editor:

The submitted traffic study for the Sisters Woodlands project (the land around the U.S. Forest Service office) is laughable. Only six hours were studied between two separate days in the winter of 2019: two hours in the afternoon on Tuesday October 15th and four hours in the afternoon on Thursday December 12. The short survey failed to sample traffic for periods on weekends, holidays or most importantly, during summer. The study does not accurately represent existing or projected traffic conditions and congestion problems that residents will be forced to endure.

Traffic congestion in Sisters is a well-known problem especially during summer and on holiday weekends. When Cascade Avenue backs up, as it often does, there is a major surge in residential street traffic from vehicles seeking alternate routes. In addition to the current developments, adding three-hundred new homes in two years will increase Sisters’ population well over twenty-five percent and will substantially increase traffic and human congestion throughout the city and in recreational areas with no way to relieve it.

Workforce housing is just a fancy term for taxpayer-subsidized housing that by law, is on a first come, first serve basis and cannot be restricted to local area applicants or workers.

It is my understanding our Mayor and at least one other city official have abstained from voting due to conflicts of interest involving Laird Superfoods. Which raises questions, what are the conflicts of interest and is a corporation that just successfully went public and has a market capitalization of $390 million been handed the reins to Sisters by our city leaders?

Sisters is fast losing its personality and small-town charm to outside big money interests and high-density sprawl. It appears the city is intent on ramming this project down our throats with little consideration for the negative impact to the quality of life for Sisters residents and the environment while pretending the project is for reasons other than profit.

JK Wells

To the Editor:

When looking back 54+ years, one piece of advice had a profound impact on my future. A junior in high school and somewhat rebellious, I absolutely hated school and wanted to quit. My father, salty ole Navy Chief and World War II veteran had the wisdom of years’ experience. “Think about it, don’t do anything stupid that you’ll regret later!”

Now as a college graduate and Vietnam veteran with 30 years of service in Naval Aviation the wisdom of my years’ experience says “don’t do anything stupid” and lose the America so many have sacrificed for to preserve.

Americans chose to “Make America Great” and “Drain the SWAMP” in 2016. Logical and sensible leadership has been attacked on three fronts, all motivated by absolute hatred.

1. Democrats’ ruthless and despicable behavior in their lust to attain/retain power burdened our nation four-plus years with corrupt sideshows and they’ve contributed NOTHING to hard working Americans!

2. The mainstream press is a propaganda machine for the Democratic Party. We’ve endured endless hate, lies, and deceptive reporting. Each week a new coordinated mantra: “the walls are closing”; “he is Hitler”; and “bombshells” bored us relentlessly.

3. SWAMP exposure started with Hillary Clinton and James Comey cover-up regarding her illegal email server. One set of laws for “thee” and another for “we.”

Love for America, not absolute hatred, must prevail in the 2020 election. We must not do anything stupid we’ll regret later. Biden, actual racist, has advancing stages of a mental disability and history of corruption with China to greatly enrich family members. Trump donates salary, has led our nation to the greatest economy in history, major wins for African Americans, jobs, and will always put America first.

Democrats want to destroy America with a socialist/communist agenda where elites have absolute power, not we the people. Democrats will target free speech, freedom of religion and right to bear arms, achieved by packing the Supreme Court. Democrats driving for open borders and endless free stuff is insanity. Democrats will destroy our history, continue promoting “hate America” in schools and defunding police; more insanity already witnessed.

Don’t do anything stupid you’ll regret later! Haters won’t escape the consequences of choosing socialism/communism over Constitutional freedoms. You absolutely cannot trust America’s future to those who claim the moral high ground yet seem without conscience concerning the unbounded slaughter of the vulnerable and most innocent of human life.

Jeff Mackey


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