City welcomes new principal planner
Last updated 3/1/2022 at Noon
Matthew Martin is the newest member to join the City of Sisters staff. He is principal planner in the Community Development Department.
Martin said that one of the biggest draws and a deciding factor for accepting his new position was the current staff at City Hall.
“The team at City Hall that serves Sisters is a good bunch. They are dedicated, passionate public servants. They have been very welcoming and supportive of me,” Martin said.
Being a contributing member of a collaborative team is an important value for Martin.
“Throughout my career, and even while growing up, my goal was to make a positive, lasting impact on my community by being engaged in public process,” he said.
Martin likes to establish relationships that can be built on with understanding and clear communication, so everyone can move forward collaboratively with respect.
Participation in the Boy Scouts was a big part of his childhood, and Martin considers that time as part of his broader formative experience that he carries with him today. He became a senior patrol leader for his troop, and scouting provided him with outdoor and camping skills still in use today.
Martin is the youngest of four children, and the only boy. His family lived in the mid-Willamette Valley, in Dallas, where he graduated from high school. College followed at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where he graduated with a degree in environmental studies with an emphasis in geography and a core of classes in public policy. While in school, he had internships in Jackson County, one of which involved wildlife habitat mapping.
Following graduation, his first position was as an assistant planner for Deschutes County. He and his wife, Valerie, settled in Bend and decided “this was a place I want to put down roots.” He became an associate planner during his five years at the county. After the experience of dealing with short-range rural planning, Martin went to the City of Bend where he worked on urban planning during the peak of activity prior to the 2008 recession.
After the recession, Martin broadened his experience further with regional planning while working for Commute Options in ODOT Region 4. He also did some contract work for Jefferson County and private developers. He became the manager for NeighborImpact’s weatherization program before returning to Deschutes County to do long-range planning. Along the way, Martin’s daughter, Paige, was born, and she is now 14 years old.
With his multitude of work experiences, Martin brings with him to Sisters a full grasp of Oregon land-use laws as well as both urban and rural long- and short-range planning experience. He is well acquainted with regional organizations and people within Central Oregon.
He already was familiar with Sisters from working with the Sisters Country Vision Project and the Deschutes County Historic Landmarks Commission. He also already has established relationships with some of Sisters’ public servants.
Martin views his position of principal planner this way: “I know I’m here to represent the community and the citizens of Sisters by addressing the goals and needs of the community. I will be accessible and available to them and be sure their voices and interests are incorporated into the planning for the City.”
A big influence in Martin’s life was his dad, who lived with multiple sclerosis until seven years ago. He was confined to a power wheelchair, which he drove with his chin. Martin’s experience with his father provided him a broader perspective on people and how everyone comes with their own experience and perspectives. He believes that good relationships grow out of gaining understanding of another’s “why and how.”
Because of his father, Martin said he is hyper-aware of the importance of ADA requirements.
“They are not just another set of rules for planners to follow. They are tangible, important components of a community. The smallest things, like the surface or grade of a sidewalk, can make a huge difference for someone with limitations,” he explained.
“My dad’s strength and spirit are ever-present, inspiring me,” Martin said.
Martin’s mother fulfilled a lifelong dream by moving to the Oregon coast two years ago.
When time permits, Martin enjoys most of what Central Oregon has to offer, especially camping, hiking, and snowboarding. For years, he has enjoyed being part of a men’s softball team each summer.