Celebration honors community champions
Last updated 6/28/2022 at Noon
The weather on the first day of summer, June 21, was perfect for the Community Celebration sponsored by Citizens4Community (C4C) and the City of Sisters at Creekside Park. After a very soggy spring, the sun was out, there was no wind, and the temperature was just right.
A popular spot in the sun where people gathered offered an assortment of cookies, slices of juicy watermelon, and fresh lemonade. Over in the shade were tables with materials and project information from the City, the Sisters Vision Project, the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC), C4C, and the Public Works Department.
The highlight of the afternoon was the announcement of Community Champions who were honored for their contributions to the community. Mayor Michael Preedin began the program by thanking all the City staff for their ongoing quality and quantity of work on behalf of the citizens of Sisters. He then reminded the assembled residents that “the City (and city) runs on volunteers,” including City Council, Planning Commission, all the various City boards and commissions, as well as all the service organizations, nonprofits, and the schools all of which rely on volunteers for their programs.
Former Sisters School District superintendent Steve Swisher, a Sisters resident for 26 years, has made multiple contributions to both Sisters and Deschutes County. He was heavily involved in the Sisters Vision Project and a member of the Vision Implementation Team. He has served on the Deschutes County Planning Commission and has been involved with trails organizations.
Sisters District Ranger Ian Reid acknowledged the work being done by some of his U.S. Forest Service staff working with houseless neighbors living in the forest (see related story, page 1). He introduced Chase Kleint and Jeremy Fields, as well as John Soules, who was out working, for their efforts above and beyond their normal duties. They work with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Deschutes County Public Health, and City of Sisters to get help and services for those in the forest.
“They work to gain compliance with Forest Service regulations with dignity and empathy,” Reid said.
Reid himself was honored for being “a beacon of light” in dealing with the City’s efforts to purchase the East Portal property from the Forest Service, according to City Council President Nancy Connolly.
“Ian took a very complex issue (purchasing land from the Forest Service) and facilitated a smooth purchase and sale in a timely fashion. We did the deed transfer last week!” Connolly told the crowd.
The portal property will become the site of a mobility hub for the city.
Kansas native Elizabeth Kirby is a relative newcomer to Sisters but has jumped in with both feet with her community involvement. She was recognized by C4C for being their key communicator, setting up and maintaining the Community Connections calendar website and the C4C Facebook page. She ran for City Council when she first arrived and has been involved in the Peace Project.
Kirby’s family was all in attendance to see her receive the honor, as they were visiting from Lawrence, Kansas.
“We love Sisters. We come to visit every year,” they told The Nugget.
The UDWC had information on the changes/improvements planned for Whychus Creek in August. They will be doing bank restoration and instream improvements between Creekside Park and the Creekside Campground. The goal of the project is to improve another section of the Whychus to facilitate fish passage in a healthy creek.
Public Works was handing out devices to encourage water conservation, including an inflatable to place in the toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used with each flush. A dye tablet to go in the toilet bank will show if the water is leaking into the toilet bowl. There was also a low-flow shower head and three faucet aerators. Moisture meters were also available to test the amount of moisture in garden soil, lawns, and potted plants to see if watering is necessary. All items were free of charge.
C4C had board members and staff available to explain their programs, provide information on the Sisters Transportation and Ride Share Service (STARS), and ways to volunteer or get involved in activities they sponsor.
City staff had information and handouts on wildfire preparedness, the Sisters Vision Project, a summary of new City projects, a brochure on City tree regulations, and a map for people to use to tour all the improvements recently made in the campground.