News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Family honored at well dedication

Local dignitaries and representatives of the Sokol family of Sisters gathered on Thursday, May 5, to celebrate a singular act of civic generosity.

In November of 2017, Cris Converse announced to the Sisters City Council that her family would rescind the $250,000 sale price of quasi-municipal water rights that belonged to Pine Meadow Ranch, which were being sold to the City. In effect, Converse cancelled the $250,000 owed by the City to acquire the water rights, and instead gifted them to the community of Sisters — in the name of her mother, Sisters pioneer Dorro Sokol. Sokol was the longtime owner of Pine Meadow Ranch at the southwest corner of Sisters. Converse and her two sisters sold the Ranch to The Roundhouse Foundation after Dorro’s passing.

The fruits of that donation were harvested on Thursday, as the City dedicated its new well, Well No. 4, at the east end of the Sisters Overnight Park.

City of Sisters Public Works Director Paul Bertagna told the assemblage that the water right was for 2.15 cfs (cubic feet per second) of water, which translates to approximately 1,000 gallons per minute of flow. The donation made it possible for Sisters to bring the new well online years before it was expected.

Bertagna recalled the moment when Converse announced the donation to the City Council.

“Jaws hit the floor; jaws hit the dais,” he said. “It was just one of those special moments in Sisters history that will never be forgotten.”

Converse, recovering from an injury, was unable to attend the event. Her sister Mary Sokol Chaffin cut the ribbon on the facility, then she and Mayor Michael Preedin cut off a piece of ribbon to give to Converse as a memento.

The wellhouse is adorned with a plaque honoring Dorro Sokol. Sokol was a rancher, pilot, Rotarian, rodeo supporter, and member of the City of Sisters Planning Commission.

Bertagna noted that Converse, who currently serves on the Sisters Planning Commission, is carrying on her mother’s legacy of public service.

“Cris has followed her, and she’s still doing it,” he said. “She helps the City make critical, critical decisions without being asked twice.”

Note: Edited to correct per minute flow.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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