News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters residents volunteer in record numbers

People living in and around Sisters are showing their care for the community by volunteering in record numbers for a variety of City boards, committees, and the Comprehensive Plan Update Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).

The CAC had 37 applications submitted for a committee that was slated to have 10-12 members. So many well-qualified citizens volunteered that the membership was expanded to 14.

“We had an amazing pool to choose from,” said Community Development Director Scott Woodford. “Over the course of seven hours we interviewed all of the applicants. The goal was to make sure the CAC represented a good cross section of the community. We have a mixture of folks who have been here their whole life and those who just recently moved here. We have people with children in the school district, and those representing the business community, tourism, environmental concerns, education, agriculture, medicine, churches, and more. We have a diversity of demographics — age, income, occupation, gender, number of years in the community, interests and life experiences.”

The job of the CAC will be to work with staff and the consultant hired to help update the comp plan, to provide a sounding board and citizen review of policies and other elements that comprise the comp plan to be sure the interests of the community are fairly and accurately represented. They will act as an advisory body to the Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The members include: Michael Blesius, Dixie Eckford, Lisa Geis, Spencer Hamiga, Brian Harris, Kate Roberts, Rachel Ruppel, Adrian “Spud” Shaw, Audrey Tehan, Sharlene Weed, Art Blumenkron, Kevin Cramer, Julianne Horner, and Greg Willitts.

The other advisory committee for the comp plan is the Strategic Advisory Committee, made up mostly of representatives of partner agencies and entities that work with the City on a regular basis. Their job is to act as a technical advisory body to the City Council and the Planning Commission on the Comprehensive Plan update.

The members and their agencies include: Nancy Connolly and Michael Preedin, Sisters City Council; Jeff Seymour and Cris Converse, Sisters Planning Commission; Cory Misley, Sisters City Manager; Roger Johnson, Fire Chief, Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District; Curtiss Scholl, Sisters School District Superintendent; Ian Reid, Sisters District Ranger, Deschutes National Forest; Jennifer Holland, Executive Director, Sisters Park & Recreation District; Nick Lelack, Deschutes County Community Development Director; Paul Bertagna, Sisters Public Works Director; Judy Trego, Executive Director, Sisters Chamber of Commerce; Scott Edelman, Central Oregon Region Representative for Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development; and Caprielle Foote-Lewis, EDCO Sisters Area Director.

The City Council recently made a change in how the various City committees and boards will be populated, with all terms beginning in January and ending in the December in which their term expires. Twenty-eight people applied to fill empty seats on the City Parks Advisory Board, Urban Forestry Board, Budget Committee, and Public Works Advisory Board. The Housing Policy Board is being disbanded. There were 28 applications to fill expired terms for those four groups and the Planning Commission.

Five candidates recently ran for three expiring positions on the Sisters City Council. In the not-too-distant past it was difficult to get enough people to run to even fill the vacant seats.

There are 14 citizens serving on the Vision Implementation Team, which brings the total number of citizens who have recently stepped up and volunteered to serve the City in some way to 84. It wasn’t that many years ago when turmoil within the City made it extremely difficult to recruit any volunteers to serve on boards or run for election to the Council. With City Hall running smoothly, an influx of new residents, and the group Citizens4Community encouraging civil discourse and civic engagement, volunteering to serve has increased significantly.

 

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