News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Inside the ‘castle’ walls

So, you’ve been driving into town from Bend or Redmond all these years and just past the Highway 20/126 merge you see the FivePine campus. Hardly give it a second thought, right? What’s on the other side of the road never really registered. Until last week, that is, when those huge pre-cast concrete blocks rose up from the ground to form a two-foot-thick wall, eight feet tall.

The block design is meant to look like hand hewn limestone as you might find in European castles or New England mansions. The top blocks on the wall somewhat resemble ramparts.

These boys are big — really big. Each one weighs 4,050 pounds and is six feet long. You’re not bringing one home in your pickup.

Why this wall that stretches over 300 feet? According to Yvette Mathis, who has managed Sisters Mobile Home Park for eight years, they have a dual purpose. The first is obvious: privacy. The second is a sound barrier, not to keep noise from the tenants on the other side of the wall from reaching you but to keep traffic sounds from disturbing the residents. Seems a two-foot-thick wall of concrete is really good at the job.

An earthen berm would have looked more natural and have been an efficient sound attenuator. The only problem is that the Park couldn’t give up that much land footage. The blocks have a far smaller footprint. They have landscaping in front, streetside, that when mature will reduce the wall’s presence which at first look is a bit imposing.

It’s all part of a 37 percent increase in units. Twelve new pads will grow the Park from 32 to 44 spots. The new pads can accommodate vehicles and/or trailers up to 45 feet long. Each pad has full hookup with 30-50 amp electric and City water and sewer. Internet is wired to each pad if tenants wish to set up a direct bill account with BendBroadband. All the comforts of home — on wheels.

Sisters Mobile Home Park caters to longer-stay renters, not overnight or weekend campers. Parks like this are an important source of affordable-housing in the Sisters market. While many of the RVs and manufactured homes in the community are self-contained, the Park has on-site shower and laundry facilities for its renters, some of whom have been there for years.

Mathis notes the holiday lighting at night on the wall that illuminates natural pine wreaths and the newly planted trees. It’s all part of a plan to make the wall as innocuous as possible.


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