Planners to grapple with growth issues


Last updated 6/14/2022 at Noon

The rubber is meeting the road, literally, here in Sisters. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced last week that Sisters has been selected to receive $5 million from the “Enhance” portion of the 2024-27 Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP), to build a roundabout at Highway 20 and Locust Street.

Projects in this category are aimed at improving safety and reducing congestion on some of Oregon’s busiest roadways. Highway 20 at North Locust Street project will replace the troublesome intersection with a single-lane roundabout that will help traffic flow smoother on both streets.

The roundabout installation is the second part of creating the alternate route around downtown Sisters. The roundabout at Highway 20/Barclay was the first part. With roundabouts on either end of town, truck and through traffic could be removed from Cascade Avenue and redirected to Barclay.

The update of the alternate route and the City Transportation Plan (TSP) will be a topic of discussion at a joint work session of the Planning Commission and City Council on Thursday, June 16, at 4 p.m. in the Council chambers at City Hall, 520 E. Cascade. The meeting is accessible to the public in person.

Planners and councilors will also hear a presentation on efficiency measures and a housing plan update by City staff and the consultant hired to work on these projects. Drafts of both projects are available on the City website under “meetings.” Reviewing those reports prior to the workshop will provide a good understanding of what they entail.

Efficiency measures are possible strategies that may help the City utilize land within the current Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) more efficiently. This process is required by (ORS) 197.296 for evaluating potential expansion of the UGB that may be necessary to accommodate future growth. This evaluation process is required prior to proposing a UGB amendment. The strategies will be discussed at the workshop.

The other part of the discussion has to do with how the City can help ensure that residents have access to a variety of housing types that meet the needs of households and residents of all income, ages, and abilities. The updated draft of the Sisters Housing Plan includes a detailed list of strategies and timelines to help produce more affordable housing in Sisters.

City staff and the consultants are asking for feedback and direction from the City Council and Planning Commission on these two planning projects, both of which have received earlier reviews by both bodies.

Council and planning commissioners will also hear an update on the City’s water system and plans for meeting future water needs as the population of Sisters continues to grow.


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