News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

News nuggets Snippets and tidbits from Sisters Country

- Water curtailed. As of August 6, users of Three Sisters Irrigation District were receiving 70 percent of their allotment, a normal flow for the first week of August.

- The Woodlands taking reservations. The first of five phases to be ready in the spring of 2023 includes 21 cottages ranging from 859 to 1,250 sq. ft., 11 townhomes and five mixed-use parcels. The 35-acre development is bounded by W. Barclay Drive, N. Pine Street, and Highway 20/126 and when finished will have approximately 200 mixed-use properties. Cottages will be market priced, meaning in the range of $500,000.

- Jobs board. In the last 14 days employers in Sisters have posted 50 openings on recruiting websites. Over 90 percent are in the retail and service sector, primarily food. In total there are 116 positions available in Sisters Country. 39 pay $35,000-$40,000/year; 26 pay $40,000-$45,000; 24 offer $45,000-$50,000 annually; 20 are listed between $50,000 and $65,000 with eight paying at least $65,000. A living wage in Sisters for two adults (one working) with one child is calculated as needing $73,174.

- Laird’s sales decline for first time. The specialty food maker reported its second-quarter results. Sales for the quarter were $8.7 million compared to $9.3 million in the January-March period. The Sisters-based firm, traded on the NYSE-American as LSF, posted a loss for the quarter of $4.9 million and a six-month loss of $19 million on sales of $18 million.

So far this year the company has taken a $6.5 million impairment of goodwill charge in connection with its $12 million acquisition of Bend-based Picky Bars. The firm reported various real estate transactions that include proceeds from a land sale of $1.521 million, while for the first time paying rent at its Lundgren Mill campus.

The balance sheet shows lease obligations of $5 million over an unspecified time period.

- No vacancy. Apartment rental sites on August 14 showed not a single traditional unit available in Sisters. There were four rental homes ranging from $2,700 to $2,999. Combined income to qualify for one of the rentals is exactly $90,000 per year. The median household income in Sisters is $75,562 and the poverty rate is 12.03 percent.

- Highway striping. All of Highway 126 and Highway 20 have completed striping. The bright yellow and white paint is clearly visible once again all the way from Bend and Redmond to the Oregon coast.

- Construction Zone. Two large lots have been cleared in preparation for new construction on the 18-acre site on West Barclay Drive formerly owned by the Forest Service and being developed by Empire Construction. Each lot is around 2.5 acres.

- Hemp bust. With the rapid decline of hemp production in Sisters Country to virtually zero acreage, growers returned to hay and orchard grass resulting in a drop in hay prices from a high of $450/ton a month ago to $350-$375 today. The first hay cut reports are excellent.

- Weed control. The City of Sisters has a precisely defined code with respect to vegetation, weed, and brush removal. Section (f) of 8.15.060 says that no person in charge of property may permit or cause to exist on their property any vegetation that is a weed or dead or dry grass more than four inches high.

- Country Fair.

After a two-year COVID-induced hiatus, the Country Fair & Silent Auction returns to Sisters.

The event, usually held in August when temperatures and often smoke were at their peak, took advantage of Sisters Folk Festival’s move to October and pushed the Fair’s date to September 17.

There will not be an art show as in the past, but a much larger silent auction the night before.

This will be the 25th installment of the widely attended annual event held at Church of the Transfiguration.- Allegiant Air drops Redmond service.

“At the time (May), we intended to restart service in the fall.

However, due to dynamic market conditions, including staffing shortages impacting the commercial aviation industry, we made the difficult decision to suspend service at RDM,” Allegiant said.

- Redmond air traffic. RDM has recovered from lost passengers due to COVID and is again setting records for enplanements and deplanements. Total passengers in and out of RDM in June of 2019 was 91,501. That crashed to 23,743 in June of 2020, recovered to 86,211 in 2021 and just hit a new June record of 97,521 despite industry-wide flight cancellations.

- Fishing report. Anglers report fair to good across Central Oregon from “fair” on the upper and lower Deschutes. The Metolius is fishing “well” where nymphing has been the hottest method. East and Paulina Lake continue to fish “well” on balanced leeches and chironomids.

- COVID Dashboard. As recently as May 7, there were 511 cases in Deschutes County (332 vaccinated). That surged to 833 (480) on July 2, and has since receded to 510 on August 6. On August 10, 371 were hospitalized statewide — down 27 from the prior week — 48 in ICU beds. Of all emergency department visits, 3.2 percent were COVID related.


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