Growth forum will raise housing questions


Last updated 5/12/2022 at Noon

It is no secret that housing in Sisters is at a premium as more people have discovered the pleasures of living in a small mountain town with beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, four distinct seasons, and friendly residents. Sisters Country has been discovered.

The big question that keeps surfacing is how we accommodate growth while keeping Sisters — well, Sisters — the place we were drawn to in the first place. Thursday evening, May 12, doors will open at the Sisters Fire Hall Community Room at 5:30 p.m. for a free Town Hall that will address that very topic. The program, presented by Citizens4Community and The Nugget, will begin at 6 p.m. with Nugget Editor in Chief Jim Cornelius serving as the moderator for the evening. Cosponsors are First Interstate Bank and Ray’s Food Place.

A panel of six people will present opening material about factors shaping community growth, to be followed by questions and discussion. One of those panelists will be David Brandt, executive director of Housing Works, the regional housing authority, and a member of the Sisters Housing Policy Advisory Board. Housing Works is the largest provider of affordable housing in the region.

Brandt will describe some of the projects with which they have been involved in Sisters and elsewhere. Tamarack Village and Ponderosa Heights are both Housing Works apartment complexes. Additionally, five single-family homes in north Sisters are owned by residents but the land on which they sit belongs to Housing Works, making for a reduced sales price and guaranteed future affordability.

Brandt will discuss some of the hurdles that exist in Sisters to providing more affordable workforce housing, such as a lack of affordable buildable land. One of the most important topics he will address is why those who already have a house in Sisters should care about the dearth of affordable housing for young families, service workers, retired seniors on a fixed income, and anyone else who can’t afford the current down payments and monthly mortgage payments, or even market rate rents.

Other panelists include: Debbie Newport, lifelong Sisters resident and community builder; Cory Misley, Sisters city manager; Scott Woodford, Sisters community development director; Nick Lelack, Deschutes County administrator; and Robin Meter, vice president of operations, St. Charles Medical Group.

Discussions will center around housing, transportation, medical facilities and services, state land use laws, and City codes. Come with your questions and be prepared for a lively, collaborative, and respectful discussion.

The Fire Hall is located at 301 South Elm St.


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