Letters to the Editor 4/26/2022
Last updated 4/27/2022 at Noon
Don’t ‘other’ forest dwellers
To the Editor:
I am writing in response to last week’s article “Forest-dwelling raises safety concerns” (The Nugget, April 20, page 1), and the letter to the editor titled “Sisters Fire Safety.”
The article was full of assumptions and statements about people who live in the forest, aimed at inciting fear in the community. The people that are living in the forest are our neighbors and part of the Sisters community. Many are struggling to afford housing, access mental health services, etc. But instead of talking about how we can better support our neighbors, The Nugget story fueled the rhetoric that people who live in the forest are dangerous. That is wrong and will continue to increase the divide between those that live in houses and those that are houseless.
Sarah Bradley wrote in her letter to the editor that “the Forest Service should [...] protect the forest and everyone living here.” Who is included in her definition of “everyone”? If she really included everyone in her definition, we would be having a different conversation about protecting people living in the forest, not just those recreating on the trails. The continued assumption that I read in The Nugget is that people who live in the forest are not part of the Sisters community and do not deserve the same protection.
I understand the fear of increased forest fires. But instead of focusing on othering our neighbors in the forest and pointing to them as the source of increased danger, what if we thought about ways to support them? Instead of pointing fingers at people having fires at their camps, what if we asked, “Why are people having fires?” Could it be for warmth? Could it be to cook?
These are two basic human needs.
I ask The Nugget to use the power of its platform to not further the divide of those living differently in our community.
Act now on forest safety
To the Editor:
Deschutes National Forest needs to immediately prohibit all fires except in designated camping areas.
After the winter firestorm near Boulder, Colorado, that destroyed hundreds of homes, it is clear that high fire danger is present every month of the year in and around national forests. Deschutes National Forest Supervisor Holly Jewkes and Regional Forester Glenn Casamassa have the power to issue orders banning fires anywhere in their jurisdiction. The Forest Service needs to act immediately to prohibit all fires except in designated sites. Failure to do this is, in my view, irresponsible and will almost certainly lead to massive loss of forest, property, and lives.
We have all seen campfires burning in the forest just hundreds of feet from the town of Sisters — most visibly, in the areas close to the Best Western and Grandstay hotels. This is extremely dangerous, and is a recipe for disaster. I realize that the homeless people who camp there are just trying to survive. However, permitting unregulated fires anywhere people want to make them is simply not safe and is likely to burn down the entire town and forest.
In my view, camping and fires should only be allowed in designated campsites, which should also have toilets and garbage service.
Having large numbers of people camping without toilets and garbage service is unhealthy for the campers and is a health risk for the entire community.
I realize that the people who camp close to the town of Sisters probably want to be close to town for access to stores and work, so it is not realistic to expect them to move to established campsites far from town.
Therefore, for everyone’s safety, we need to create, on an emergency basis, safe campsites reasonably close to town, with toilets, garbage service, and safe campfire facilities.
Water and showers would be helpful too, and would make it much easier for the campers to find employment and eventually, housing.
At a minimum, the Forest Service needs to install portable toilets and garbage cans right away in the areas where people are camping. With creative thinking and determination, we can make decent campgrounds happen too. This will require funds, which the Forest Service probably doesn’t have, but the county and state should step up and help with this, since preventing fires is far less costly than fighting fires once they start.
Our governor and county commissioners can help by declaring a fire risk emergency so that the process can move forward quickly.
After the devastating fires last summer across much of the state, the state and county governments should be willing to spend money on prevention rather than spending vastly more money fighting fires.
Nonprofit organizations, churches, insurers, and other businesses should also be willing to help create fire-safe areas for the campers.
This is a humanitarian crisis for the homeless people and families living in the forest without any services or facilities.
And, it is a fire risk crisis for all of us.
Fires are devastating for everyone, so it doesn’t matter whether you are Republican, Democrat, or whatever.
We all want to be safe.
It won’t be easy, but we can fix this and make our beautiful Sisters community much safer.
To the Editor:
Registered Democrats have a choice in the May primary between two Congressional candidates for new District 5. One is well known, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and one is the incumbent from old District 5, Kurt Schrader.
Let’s take a look at Schrader’s record. Schrader called Trump’s second impeachment “a lynching.” Schrader opposed: lowering prescription drug costs (he comes from a pharmaceutical business); a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers; the Economic Rescue plan; and campaign finance reform.
If you are concerned about our environment, Schrader consistently voted against protections for Oregon’s rivers, wildlife, and fish. He voted to block protection of endangered species and remove protections for Columbia River Basin salmon and steelhead. Schrader received campaign contributions from oil and gas corporations and PACs, and Koch Industries. Outdoor-loving constituents are frustrated with his votes, which violate conservation principles and hurt recreation-based businesses’ economic well-being.
Jamie McLeod-Skinner’s life in Oregon goes back to the early 80s. She has degrees and experience in engineering, planning, and law (more than most in Congress), was elected to a city council, and serves on emergency preparedness, wildfire, water, and education boards. She assisted farmers with drought relief and was chosen as Talent, Oregon’s city manager to manage fire relief. Jamie supports renewable energy, voting rights, campaign finance reform, common sense gun safety, affordable housing, and reducing pharmaceutical costs. Jamie does not accept contributions from corporate PACs.
I met Jamie several times and was so impressed with her accomplishments, knowledge, compassion, and energy representing Oregonians. Growing up and living in rural Oregon communities, Jamie has support from conservative, liberal, and moderate voters. She would quickly rise to the top of outstanding, bridge-building congressional leaders. Please vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner.
Support Cloverdale Fire Levy
To the Editor:
Please join me in supporting the Cloverdale Fire Levy.
I opposed the previous levy because I felt it was too much money, provided services that were unnecessary, and gave up the district’s autonomy. This levy is much different.
If passed, this levy will:
•?Fund two additional full-time officer/EMTs, which will allow 24/7 paid coverage.
•?Reduce the load on current volunteer officers in the face of increased call numbers.
•?Provide for better volunteer safety by adding qualified officers to the department.
•?Fund three additional student scholarships, for a total of six students, which will provide additional staffing at both stations.
This levy will not:
•?Provide for unnecessary or redundant services.
•?Give up the district’s autonomy and independence.
This is a bare-bones levy that will help reduce that load on the current volunteers and officers who donate hundreds of hours of their time each year to keep our community safe. Please join me in supporting this levy to help your volunteers help you.
Matt Cyrus, Volunteer Captain
Cloverdale Rural Fire Protection District
To the Editor:
The Cloverdale Volunteer Fire Fighters Association is asking the residents of the Cloverdale area to help resolve a serious problem facing the District.
For some time, the number of fire officers available to the District — paid and volunteer — has been insufficient to sustainably provide the full-time coverage needed for the safety of our volunteers and to meet the state and mutual aid regulations. The effect of increased call volume and a reduction in the number of qualified volunteer officers has resulted in this situation, and it will impact the level of service the volunteers will be able to provide to the community.
As fire/medical volunteers and as residents ourselves, we are asking the residents of Cloverdale to support Measure 9-146 in the upcoming May ballot. The volunteer association believes that this levy proposed by the board of directors will solve the problem currently facing the District by enabling it to hire two more paid fire officers.
The last levy proposed in May of 2021 had the twofold purpose of resolving the immediate problem of officer staffing and also to prepare for the future needs of the District by providing a staffed ambulance in the station. We understand the majority of residents who voted indicated that this additional capability was not desired. However, the primary difficulty of officer staffing still remains.
This new levy has been reduced to the minimum viable solution for sustaining the current level of service that the District provides. In contrast to the levy proposed in May of 2021, this levy will only cost 69 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. There will also not be any operational change to the District or additional direct-shared costs with neighboring districts.
Alan Smoke — Cloverdale Fire Fighters Association President
Larry Turin — Association Vice-President
Cory Stengel — Association Treasurer
Mitch Turpen — Association Secretary
No end of globalization
To the Editor:
Just wanted to compliment you on your column on April 20 (“An end and a beginning,” The Nugget, page 2). It’s a great piece.
Especially the part about “you can’t always get what you want (more & more & more), but you just might find, you get what you need,” as the Rolling Stones put it. Our pointless, misguided, excessive love affair with “things.” You question the wisdom of that path. Right on!
But I think you’re wrong about the end of the era globalization.
Just follow the money.
There is huge money to be made with globalization.
And huge money to be saved by consumers through globalization as well.
Any alternative resists that fact about basic human nature.
Consumerism, materialism, wants, and greed still continue unabated.
From da Gama, on through Columbus, up through today — the path has only gone that direction: towards globalization.
But with plenty of bumps and hiccups along the way, because of wars, embargoes, tariffs, nationalism, changing national strengths, differing alliances.
Peter Zeihan (whom you quote) has just mistaken a hiccup for a change of direction.
And it appears, so have you!
Anyway, good thoughtful piece you wrote.
Barry M. Clock