News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Emme Shoup to stay on with City of Sisters

The newly created City position of assistant planner has been filled with the hiring of Emelia “Emme” Shoup, who assumes her duties next week.

Shoup just completed her 1,700-hour stint as an intern at the City through the Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) program, an AmeriCorps program administered through the University of Oregon. The goal of the program is to increase the capacity of rural communities to improve their economic, social, and environmental conditions through the assistance of trained graduate-level members who live and work in the community for 11 months. For her internship, Shoup will receive nine credits toward her master’s degree.

Shoup told The Nugget, “Over those 11 months, I have gotten to work on various projects, from the Sisters Country Vision program administration, Celebrating 75 planning and graphic-design products, to the Comprehensive Plan update process, and more. I got exactly the experience I was hoping to get through my AmeriCorps service year — to gain hands-on experience in the urban planning field and to learn what my strengths and assets are as a professional.”

Community Development Director Scott Woodford expressed his pleasure with Shoup’s hiring.

“Having worked directly with Emme over the last year on the Comprehensive Plan, it was clear that she had the skills and the temperament to succeed in the new planner position and, as the community got to know her and see her in action, I could sense that they appreciated her and her quality work, too. For us, she was the obvious candidate, and we look forward to having her on our team.”

Shoup has had a positive reaction to her internship.

“I am so proud of the work that I have done this past year, and to have had the opportunity to prove what I have to offer as a land-use planner,” she said.

In her new position, Shoup will work with Planning Technician Carol Jenkins, Principal Planner Nicole Mardell, and Community Development Director Woodford, handling the day-to-day duties of building permit and land-use application review and assisting the public (Sisters property owners, architects, developers, realtors, and appraisers) with their planning, zoning, and building-related inquiries.

Additionally, she will be in a supporting role in permit application review, researching and writing technical findings, code enforcement, and using maps and other visual communication tools for public outreach. Shoup will also assist the community development director and the principal planner on long-range planning activities such as helping implement the Comprehensive Plan and other community projects.

“Having her here will allow us to open up the principal planner’s time to tackle other pressing City projects that have been on the back burner lately due to staff bandwidth, such as efficiency measures to help implement the updated Comprehensive Plan, and housing and development code amendments such as wildfire mitigation,” said Woodford.

Explaining what attracted her to the field of urban planning, Shoup said, “What guided me to the field of urban planning was the passion to improve community well-being holistically through the built environment…. More often than not, our behaviors are a result of our environment. The cities and spaces that we live in – a.k.a. the built environment – influence the choices, struggles, and opportunities people have, to cope, participate, and thrive in life. As a land-use planner, I want to help better communities’ well-being, economic vitality, and environmental sustainability through their built environment.”

Shoup hails from Washington state — born in Kalama, growing up in Vancouver. Through a dual-enrollment program, she attended the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics for high school and at the same time participated in the Running Start program at the local community college. She graduated from both at the age of 17 with an associate’s degree and a high school diploma. In the spring of 2020, Shoup earned her bachelor’s degree in urban studies and planning from Portland State University before joining the RARE program.

Summing up her RARE experience and plans for the future, Shoup said, “I have truly loved my job working with the City of Sisters this past year, and I am very excited to continue to grow with the team as the new assistant planner.

To be honest, work was my saving grace throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s been hard to meet friends in Sisters, being that there aren’t many 20-something-year-olds, like myself, who live in town.

My hope is that as the COVID-19 pandemic gives way to a more normal way of life, I can start to meet more people and really enjoy what Sisters is all about.

Also, now that I know I will be around for a little while, I hope to get into more snow sports, mountain biking, and other recreational opportunities here.”


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