News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor - 4/28/2021

Response to Craig Wessel

To the Editor:

The April 21 Nugget carried a guest column by Craig Wessel. He references the problems facing many Central Oregonians in finding affordable housing as well as employment paying family-level wages. These problems are especially pressing for today’s younger people; every generation has had its own set of difficult circumstances with which to deal.

Craig states that people his age are getting the “short end of the stick,” and just want “a share of the pie their parents and grandparents got.” I think if he were to talk to many of these parents and grandparents, he would find that the pie was not served to them on a silver platter. There was hard work, sacrifice, and many lean years before enjoying that pie.

Craig states that something needs to be done but he is unsure what that something is. Actually, I believe he identified a possible option in his second paragraph. While it may not be the most attractive solution, not all problems have easy or attractive answers. He points out that metropolitan areas like Portland, Salem, and Eugene, have more plentiful housing and higher-paying employment opportunities. This is not to suggest “if you don’t like it leave,” but rather do what you must in the short term to achieve your long-term goals.

Craig references the crippling college debt facing many millennials and zoomers. One has to wonder how much forethought was given to the reality of repayment when these voluntary loans were accepted. Did the choice of degrees prepare them for real-world careers? Vague liberal arts versus science, technology, and business. A college degree is an investment, but only if that investment pays dividends.

Many of us worked our way through college, paid for our children’s education, and now have little interest in spending taxpayer dollars to pay off poorly-planned debt by others.

Now I will go back under the bridge with the other grumpy old trolls.

Andy Sichler

Support school bond

To the Editor:

I would like to appeal to all citizens of Sisters Country to consider voting ‘Yes’ for Measure 9-141, Sisters School Bond 2021. Worldwide, elementary education is considered the most important part of every student’s educational life. During elementary school a child learns how to read, understand basic mathematical concepts, develop critical thinking and learns how to communicate, play with others, and follow common social rules.

Sisters Elementary School has exceeded its capacity even though the 5th graders have been moved to the middle school. Currently, the elementary building is at 106% capacity and is expected to fill to 111% capacity next year. The population of Sisters has increased 42% since 2010 and new houses are springing up every day. The crowding of our elementary school is not going to magically get better with this growth rate. It is something we all must recognize and fix.

This new bond will replace existing bonds that conclude this year and will not change our school tax rate. Given the low interest rates right now, this is a good time to go forward with this much-needed project.

This bond will fund the construction of a larger elementary school located on property already owned by Sisters School District and will be adjacent to the middle school and high school. The consolidation of our schools will benefit our school district, students, and staff by increasing efficiency, sharing such services as transportation and food service, and will allow more opportunities for collaboration between teachers.

Our school district has worked hard to keep the teacher-to-student ratios low. A lower teacher-to-student ratio allows the teacher to spend more time with each student, to address any difficulties, and to focus on the quality of their teaching rather than the quantity of their class. As schools become more crowded, this low ratio becomes extremely difficult.

For the future of our children, please vote ‘yes’ on Measure 9-141.

Bunny Thompson

To the Editor:

As a parent who moved to Sisters specifically so our daughter could attend Sisters High School, I want to encourage the community to vote “yes” on the upcoming Sisters School District Bond.

Having a new elementary school that is right-sized for population growth and located on a shared campus makes sense. Bringing fifth grade students back to the elementary school should be a priority. The new location near the high school and the middle school will be time-saving and cost-effective for both parents and staff.

Strong school support sends the right message to our youth and educators: The Sisters community values you. Our schools provide exceptional educational options for a variety of learning styles. Not only has the district done a fantastic job building amazing programs for our youth both inside and outside the classroom, but they have also weathered the strain of COVID-19 with ingenuity, patience, and compassion. It is clear the current elementary school situation needs to change.

Once the bond passes, it’s time to dream about what will become of the original elementary school property. Community recreation center with a pool? Dedicated lacrosse fields? Concert venue? A new park? Senior center? Life-size chess board? Let’s pass Measure 9-141 and start dreaming about how to best use this community asset.

Heather Cramer

Support Jenica Cogdill

To the Editor:

I wanted to express my excitement and support for Jenica Cogdill in her desire to run for a position on the school board. I am so honored to know this incredible woman, and so grateful that she is running for a position on the school board.

I think having a member of the board who is also the parent of a current student in our district is incredibly valuable. Jenica currently has a fourth-grade student attending Sisters Elementary School, so with eight years ahead of them as active participants in our district, Jenica has a vested interested in offering ways to not only maintain an amazing school district, but to help come up with ways to navigate a successful future for our school district.

I have been connected to Jenica by way of her daughter attending the Sisters Dance Academy, of which I am the owner and director, as well as through the church our families attend together. Since the time she and her family moved here several years ago, she has never ceased to amaze and impress me with her willingness to help. With our large dance productions she has volunteered to be our backstage manager for all of them since her daughter began dancing with us — and has been incredibly valuable to the success and organization of the craziness that is backstage.

Managing 100-plus dancers, parents, and the intricacy of the details that go into a successful show is very dependent on all of the “unseen” people that so willingly help, and Jenica Cogdill is a very integral piece to making it all work.

She is meticulous, incredibly organized, can run spreadsheets and systems like a genius, and has insights that have helped me beyond measure. She is such a hard worker and one of the most humble people; until you experience what she can do firsthand, you can’t even imagine all the skills this woman has.

You have my vote Jenica! Thank you for being willing!

Lonnie Liddell

To the Editor:

If I were 18, I would vote Jenica Cogdill for Sisters School District 6 Director, Position 1. Unfortunately, I’m not.

However, being a freshman at Sisters High School, the future of our school board will affect me directly for the next three years of my life. I recently spent time with Jenica, and even after a short amount of time, I have noticed many great characteristics. One that may be the most important for her position is her genuine interest in the students’ wellbeing and ideas, and her ability to thoroughly listen to what we have to say.

She is also a great planner and takes initiative, while still communicating and keeping everyone in the loop.

Jenica’s young daughter is a student in the district. Knowing she wants the best for her makes me believe she will do what is best for all of us.

Ila Reid

To the Editor:

In the years that I have known Jenica Cogdill, I have found her to be very knowledgeable and levelheaded. She is very thoughtful in her decisions and listens to all information before making informed choices. I believe her education and experiences at past jobs, along with her dedication for doing the right thing, will make her an asset to the school board. She is very committed to doing her best for the kids, teachers, and community of Sisters!

Laura Simmons

Support for marginalized youth

To the Editor:

In last week’s Nugget (April 21) there was a strong letter of support for the LGBTQ+ marginalized youth in the Sisters community signed by a large number of individuals. Since that letter was published, numerous community members have come forward, wanting to include their names in support of that message. This letter both provides that opportunity as well as a vehicle to expand the construct of marginalization — both what it might mean, and who we would like to ensure is included in that.

As an expanding community we are undergoing swift changes and ensuing calls to action on behalf of each other. To reiterate and expand our statement of last week: You are normal, not worth less than any one other being; there are millions and millions of people like you, like us. If anyone tries to hurt you or make you feel unsafe; please reach out to someone you trust and let them know what is happening. The hurting may come in a direct or indirect microaggression about your sexuality, your gender, your race, your class, your culture, your religious affiliation.

At times it may come from people you feel like you have trusted and you will need to seek support elsewhere. That help exists. There are people who understand and support you, both in the community and outside. Many people within this community love you, are there for you, and want you to be happy exactly as you are.

That love and support may come from your peers and it may come from others you didn’t know were here, supporting you, always. The Sisters community is relatively small and is large enough to contain our multitudes. No one individual should be made to feel that they just have to survive a bit longer and then leave the community to thrive. We want you to live, to thrive, to be here, to know this is a safe home, always.

Sincerely and with the acknowledgement that there are many others: Colleen Ryan, Anna Nora Kruger, Ken Hashagen, Jeanne Holcomb, Carolyn Platt, Paul Bennett, Shannon and Aaron Williams, Betty Shuler, Tim Shuler, Toni del Guidice, Lindy Gilbert, Rick Johnson, Julie Cash, Jillian Frankl, Carrie Cohen, Tammy Robillard, Ken Stoffer, Savannah Ryan, Susan Marcou, Larry Hickey, Joey Hougham, Stacy Stabil Hougham, Olivia Hougham, Faith Hougham, Laurie Farley, Janice Drurian, Sarah Leonard , Jeanne Holcomb, Lane Jacobson, Jen Rambo, Joe Rambo, Paula Reents, Helen G. Schmidling, Zeta Seiple, Jim and Marilyn Barnett, Cindy Greer.

In this world there is love and kindness, that truly is what we have to share.

Wendy Vernon & Lala, always

Support Marcus Peck for fire board

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Marcus Peck for the position of Cloverdale Rural Fire Protection District Position 5. I have known Marcus for over a decade. His experienced background and his dedication to our community earns him our support.

Marcus has served as a Cloverdale volunteer since 2009. As a resident served by Cloverdale Fire District, I am proud and thankful for all those who serve tirelessly for our community. Marcus is one of those individuals. He now wants to bring that dedicated service to the Cloverdale board of directors. Marcus will take his experience and honesty to do what is necessary for the District. These times add substantial challenges for many organizations, and I know Marcus will help steer and navigate the District in the best possible direction.

Marcus has a tremendous background as a member, both current and past, of several important community boards. He is a past member of the water district agricultural advisory board and budget advisory board member for the Sisters Park & Recreation District. Marcus is a current member of the Urban Forestry Board for the City of Sisters.

For all of these reasons, please join me in voting for Marcus Peck, Cloverdale Rural Fire Protection District Director, Position 5.

Chris Wilder

Cloverdale fire levy

To the Editor:

The Cloverdale Rural Fire Protection District is at a crossroads.

The district was formed in 1963 to provide fire protection for the community. Since then, the district has grown and has adapted to better serve those constituents. Today, an incredible group of volunteers donate their valuable time to train and respond to the district’s fire and medical needs.

Recently, the district asked the community for a multi-million dollar bond to pay for significant upgrades to stations and equipment. Cloverdale now has some of the most modern equipment in Central Oregon and a full compliment of trained volunteers to serve the community.

Currently, the two paid staff, complemented by volunteers and resident students, provide 24/7 coverage for the district. Mutual-aid and auto-aid agreements with our neighboring districts provide additional resources, as needed, to ensure excellent fire and medical service to the Cloverdale residents.

The Cloverdale District is part of the Sisters Ambulance Service Area (ASA) and, as such, Sisters already provides quality medical transport service to the Cloverdale District. Additionally, a number of the Cloverdale volunteers have advanced medical training and can provide immediate care when the need arises.

This levy would create a significant change.

The proposal would turn over all management and control of the Cloverdale Fire District to the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District and, for all intents and purposes, eliminate the Cloverdale District, except in name.

The current Chief would be demoted to a shift captain and administration of the district would be contracted to Sisters for $77,000 per year. The levy would pay for additional personnel to replace volunteers on calls. With only 350 calls per year, the Cloverdale District cannot justify such a huge increase in expenses for such a small district.

The Cloverdale Fire District has a 58-year history of pride and service. As a 40-year volunteer of the district, I ask that you vote NO on this levy and allow us to keep our district’s independence.

Matt Cyrus

To the Editor:

I was a Cloverdale firefighter for eight years, moving up through the ranks and eventually reaching the rank of captain. I continue to live in the district. I have several concerns about the proposed Cloverdale Fire District levy.

I’ve talked to several volunteers, some members of the fire board, and the Cloverdale Fire Chief. They all agree with the following: The volunteers had a vote at one of their meetings about whether or not to support this levy. They voted down a motion to support the levy effort of the fire district, a big change from the last time the fire district asked for a bond measure.

There is no written Conditional Memorandum of Understanding, or any other written agreement, between the two agencies (Cloverdale Fire District and Sisters Fire District), that spells out each agency’s responsibility should this levy pass. This means that if one of the agencies misunderstood the agreement, or changes its mind after the election, Cloverdale Fire is left holding the bag, and we, the Cloverdale Fire District tax payers, are left with a tax levy for five years.

I would be willing to bet that this will be a request every five years. “Renew the levy, with cost increases, or the ambulance goes away.”

Many people have been hit hard financially over the past year with job losses, reductions in hours, and outright business closures. Do we really want to raise our taxes to pay Sisters Fire to supply an additional ambulance for their Ambulance Service Area? Yes, Sisters Fire says they will place an ambulance in our fire district. But at what cost? If this ambulance is truly needed, why isn’t Sisters Fire self-funding this expense?

Clinton Weaver

To the Editor:

For the past 15 years I’ve come to admire the outstanding service provided by the Cloverdale Fire District’s (CFD) first responders to the northern customers.

As I understand it, CFD provides fire protection, while the Sisters Fire District is responsible for emergency medical ambulance services. If approved, the CFD levy proposal would double the current taxes northern CFD residents pay for fire and emergency medical services — the services we already receive.

The levy proposal strikes me as the classic “solution in search of problem.” While compelling arguments supporting the levy proposal are hard to come by, here’s how I read the CFD’s leadership arguments: 1.

That they can improve response time by moving ambulance service further away from the northern residents of the CFD; 2.

that hiring three more full-time Oregon-PERS staff for Sisters Fire District — funded by the CFD levy — is in our best interest; 3.

That pay increases and fewer duties for existing CFD paid staff will help “morale”; 4.

That transferring actual management and control of fire and emergency service from Cloverdale Fire District to the Sisters Fire District is also in the best interest of the Cloverdale Fire District; and 5.

That doubling our taxes and effectively transferring $1 million annually of our tax dollars to Sisters Fire District is a sound management decision.

There must be simpler and less costly solutions — if an ambulance is needed, why doesn’t the responsible district — Sisters — simply station an ambulance at Cloverdale? Why would we spend an additional $570,000 in new tax dollars for the emergency medical service we receive already? Makes one wonder whether we’re hearing the whole story behind the levy. In my opinion this appears a hasty ill-conceived proposal, and effectively will lead to the costly dissolution of the Cloverdale Volunteer Fire District. That’s not something I can support.

It’s time to change management of the CFD. Vote NO on this unsupported tax increase and for responsible leadership by voting for Mikee Stutzman and Marcus Peck.

Thomas M. Thompson

To the Editor:

In the coming week you will be receiving your ballots. On them will be various measures, levies and candidates asking for your support.

My letter is specific to the Cloverdale Fire District levy, 9-142. This is a measure that simply asks you to support a levy for improved fire and EMS service. As such it has become a contentious issue and has been misrepresented in both social media and the Voters Pamphlet. You can find all kinds of spin, rhetoric, and misinformation to influence your vote.

I support our rights as American citizens to speak our mind. My wife and I supported a son in the Iraq war to protect those freedoms. I, however, have a major issue when someone makes an uninformed decision that has huge consequences. That’s why I’m asking you to join me in contacting my elected board of directors and fire officials to gain the facts. They are the authors of this levy and have the unbiased details.

I have witnessed these boards and officials over the last two years doing their due diligence in research, collaboration, outreach, and surveying many options. Further, I have observed them sacrificing time with family to ensure they were thorough before providing you a very fiscally responsible levy for your consideration. They operated with unquestionable integrity through the whole process.

Personally, I plan to vote YES on the levy, but each person needs to make up their own mind based on facts, not rumor, misinformation, or spin.

Please, I ask you to contact these experts on the levy.

They will give you the facts.

They can be trusted.

You can contact Cloverdale Fire Chief Thad Olsen at [email protected] or 541-389-2345; Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District Chief Roger Johnson at [email protected] or 541-549-0771; Cloverdale Fire Board of Directors information is at; Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Board of Directors contact is at

Thank you for your time.

Jon Kettering, former Cloverdale volunteer firefighter, current Sun Mountain Estates neighbor

To the Editor:

I would like to applaud the superb example of interagency cooperation among our Sisters-area fire responders at the fire in Squaw Creek Canyon Estates on April 22. A large response by the Sisters, Cloverdale and Black Butte Fire Districts — along with Oregon Department of Forestry and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office — contained a large residential fire to the originating structure. Their efforts prevented the fire from spreading to nearby properties, and into Whychus Creek


As a resident and as a Cloverdale Fire Volunteer, I am proud and grateful to have these men and women as our first responders. I also feel that the details of the incident highlight the importance of the upcoming Cloverdale Fire Levy, Measure 9-142.

The response to the fire required the efforts of nearly all the available personnel in the three fire districts. There was a period during the incident when no ambulance response was available from any of the three districts. An ambulance was called up from Redmond Fire to cover the greater area. However, during that transit time, advanced life support response to any medical call would have been delayed. In addition, any response to even a small brush fire would have been severely limited and potentially ineffectual.

Under the new conditions afforded by the fire levy, additional firefighters and medics would be on duty. There would also be more personnel available for potential call up. The districts most likely would have been able to maintain a fully staffed ambulance ready for immediate response during the entire Squaw Creek incident with the proposed operational changes.

I encourage all the Cloverdale residents to consider this scenario when voting on Measure 9-142. I believe this change holds significant benefit for us, and our neighbors.

Alan Smoke


Reader Comments(0)