News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor- 2/24/2021

To the Editor:

In response to the letter from Mr. Baldwin on February 10: Even though I support Biden and his policies, I agree the landslide of executive orders is disconcerting in view of his stated goals of promoting unity.

However, Mr. Baldwin falls into a dangerous “fake news” format, which has fed the extreme conservative movement. Saying that Biden has a “long history of graft” is called libel unless you can produce facts that prove this statement.

An extremely important improvement in the current divisiveness of our social fabric will be to stick to the facts. Otherwise there can be no trust between different groups and followers will believe whatever they are told without thinking about it.

Sharon Booth

A big thank you to AirLink and Life Flight, for getting the COVID-19 vaccines from Portland to Redmond. Heroes, all.

Judy Bull

To the Editor:

I loved the late Paul Harvey. He was candid, patriotic and extreme insightful. I especially enjoyed his historical recounts that were interrupted by his saying, “And now, the rest of the story.”

The vitriol espoused by Ms. Keen in her letter to the editor (February 10) was directed at Cliff Bentz, where she called him a disgrace, alluded that he supported racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic lies. She further accused Mr. Bentz of supporting hatred, violence and the overthrow of our democracy. She also said that President Trump was intent on throwing out legitimate votes and that he appointed himself as a dictator.

Now....the rest of the story: the meaning of the word dictator is akin to that of a fascist such as Hitler or Mussolini or the president of Venezuela. Our constitution was created to prevent a dictator from taking power.

I guess I would ask to see evidence of our former president’s racism. Keep in mind he won numerous awards from the black community for his contributions and has gone out of his way to help that community in ways you will never see on the drive-by media. This includes helping Jennifer Hudson’s family when her relatives were murdered, his financial contributions, and much more. Not sure where the anti-Semitic lies come from, nor the meaning of the Big Lie, whatever that is.

A lesson in civics and an understanding of our history will help in this discussion but the constant drone of name calling, without any factual basis is what we have come to expect from those who spew the vitriol and fail to support them with actual facts.

That, my friends, is the rest of the story.

Owen Herzberg

To the Editor:

Re: “City of Sisters’ financial picture is good,” (The Nugget, February 17, page 14):

A portion of the article mentions systems development charges, stating that, “builders of both residential and commercial properties are required to pay SDCs on new construction to cover the cost of new sewers, water, parks, and street improvements necessary as a result of growth.”

My question is, with all the new homes being built by Hayden Homes in the City of Sisters, how much have they been required to pay directly for these items? Not the “sweetheart deals” they have been given by the City and for their donations.

Hayden Homes was allowed not to pay fees that were required for each home constructed by them, agreeing to pay for a few “affordable homes” in the McKenzie Meadows development, which other developers would still have to pay. How much has Hayden Homes paid to the City for sewer upgrades or road improvements on McKinney Butte Road or Railway or any existing adjoining streets? How much have they paid into the SDC? Are these SDC fees equal to all developers and builders?

Marvin Inman

Editor’s note: The Nugget asked the City of Sisters to answer the questions Mr. Inman poses in his letter. A response from City Manager Cory Misley follows:

The City of Sisters by statute requires all developers, including Hayden Homes, to pay System Development Charges (SDCs).

SDCs are calculated through a methodology based on the respective system’s master and capital improvement plans, and, at their essence, require that growth pays for growth.

As of writing this, Hayden Homes has paid SDCs on water, wastewater, transportation, and parks in McKenzie Meadow Village totaling $483,160 for 42 units since the beginning of 2020.

Outside of SDCs, Hayden Homes and other developers must pay for numerous public improvements including water, wastewater, streets, and parks to serve their development as outlined in their land-use decisions and entitlements.

Anyone that would like to learn more can contact the City and use our public records request process.

To the Editor:

Every year we see some “absolute necessity” proposed that we can’t live without, that ultimately results in the raising of our taxes. The Cloverdale Fire District is at it again, this time needing property owners’ money to provide full-time medical staff and an ambulance on-site at the Cloverdale station.

Their justification for it doesn’t measure up to the real need. We’ve been in this district for 20 years and the population growth has increased some, but not significantly. We live within earshot of the station and are aware of the calls that go out, and can’t say that they’re getting a lot more now than years past. We appreciate what they are there for, but consider that the job is getting done, without adding to it.

Consider also that from the Sisters station to Cloverdale Road is a seven-minute drive under normal speeds and driving conditions. Over the years I’ve watched our taxes go up 33 percent, due in part to various levies being added on. Some of them are needed, others are imposing on the people the “wish list” of various agencies. Those who vote, please think about the reality of what we need and let’s not just give in to these pleas for our money, without the legitimate need.

My opinion is that we vote it down.

Richard McDaniel

To the Editor:

Maret Pajutee’s article, “Whychus Creek still needs us” (The Nugget, February 17, pages 12-13), was a great display of what a wide variety of citizens can accomplish when they work together on a common interest. We live in a beautiful part of the country, and Whychus Creek is one of the places we can enjoy. It’s close to town and has a great trail that is accessible to people with a wide variety of abilities.

As beautiful as it is at the multiple viewpoints along the trail, there is one issue that has popped up and continues to cause problems. The trail is a great place for exercise and many people have been using it as an exercise area for themselves and their dogs. While dogs are a welcome sight on the forest, issues come when their owners don’t pick up their waste and haul it home.

Yes, haul it home. Picking it up and putting it in a bag are two steps in the three-step process it takes to be a responsible pet owner. Leaving the bag along the trail, at the trailhead, or hanging it on a tree is not the last step in the process. Taking it home is step number three.

The question now becomes, how do we, as citizens who love this area, help dog owners become the responsible owner that keeps the forest beautiful and clean for everyone? Let’s put our heads together and find a solution to this problem so we can keep Whychus Creek an area we all treasure.

Kristie Miller

To the Editor:

I read John Baldwin’s February 10 letter discussing the 40 executive orders signed by Biden and Paula Surmann’s February 17 response stating only 29 executive orders have been signed. I’m hoping to clarify the discrepancy here.

As of February 11 (22 days in office), Biden has signed 48 executive actions per the Federal Register. This included 30 executive orders, eight proclamations and 10 memoranda/other documents.

I believe Baldwin’s letter was referring to all actions signed by Biden, not just executive orders. This is made evident by Baldwin’s reference to the shutting down of the border wall construction, which was actually a proclamation signed by Biden, not an executive order.

Also, Surmann wrote that Baldwin “failed to mention that Trump issued 220 executive orders.” Her number is correct; however that is the total number signed during his four years in office. An accurate comparison to Biden would be the number of orders signed by Trump during his first 22 days in office. That number is 12.

But really, should the number of executive octions be the focus here or should it be the impact any one action will have on our great nation?

Cheryl Pellerin

To the Editor:

This May, the residents of the Cloverdale Fire District (CFD) will have the opportunity to approve a five-year operating levy at the rate of $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed value. I plan to support this levy for numerous reasons.

Currently, the CFD rate is $1.09 per $1000.

This is the lowest rate in all of Central Oregon, and is the same as it was when the district formed in 1963.

Cloverdale has done quite a bit of growing since then and has recently seen call numbers increase by 27 percent in the span of five years.

They currently have two paid staff (neither of which are paramedics) working weekdays Monday-Friday, and volunteers supplementing weekends and evenings.

There are students who live at the south station (where around 70 percent of the calls occur), but right about the time you get students trained up to operate effectively, they tend to move on to a job somewhere else.

Students also need supervision, which they don’t have when the staff isn’t there.

Cloverdale Fire District doesn’t have an ambulance. When you need an ambulance, it typically comes from Sisters, but Sisters often has multiple calls which reduce their ability to staff ambulances, so you might get one from Black Butte Ranch or maybe even Bend or Redmond.

There have been several incidents where response times were well more than 10 (and even 20) minutes for a Cloverdale engine to respond to a fire. That would have been devastating with the Rabbitbrush fire.

The volunteers come from home to respond. It has worked well for a while, but the time has come to help them help us.

This levy will provide 24-hour staffing, seven days a week, with an officer and a firefighter/paramedic at the south station off Highway 20. This will also add a medic unit in Cloverdale, provided and maintained by the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District (SCSFD). Those in the fire service have learned working together is far more cost-effective than being an island unto yourself. This levy will improve response times and staffing for both fire and emergency medical calls in Cloverdale.

I expect you would like to know what this will cost you.

It’s easy to figure out.

Pull out your tax statement and look for the line which says, “Cloverdale Fire District.” Multiply the indicated amount by 1.24 (that’s how much more $1.35 is than $1.09) and you’ll know how much your increase would be.

An average home with an assessed value (NOT real market value) of $200,000 is currently paying $218/year and the increase would be about $270/year for a total of $488/year, an increase of about $22.50/month.

None of your other taxes are affected by this, and the current Cloverdale bond stays the same as well.

If you have any questions or concerns, give Chief Olsen a call at 541-389-2345.

Full disclosure: I am a volunteer lieutenant for Cloverdale Fire District.

Damon Frutos


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