News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor 10/19/2022

Traffic and growth

To the Editor:

Traffic again. How many readers of The Nugget have waited interminably to drive across Highway 20 in the heart of Sisters this year? How many have viewed the “open-air RV showroom” that is Highway 20 for much of the year? How many have seen traffic stretch for a mile west- or east-bound toward the roundabout?

Well, the worst is yet to come.

While the City is encouraging more tourists to come (to enjoy our colossal traffic jam?) and more businesses to be established (perhaps another Laird?), urban sprawl continues unabated.

As mentioned in earlier letters to The Nugget, the “Woodlands” project, which has gutted the last forested area in the City, will dump some 600 cars on the city’s streets.

The McKenzie Meadows project will add 300 to 400 more.

The apartments behind Dollar General will inject several hundred more.

Not to mention the developments around the airfield.

Looming in the background is the potential for about 500 housing units at Aspen Lakes, which would funnel another 600 or so cars towards Sisters.

The reality of the City’s “vision” and apparently that of the county is maximum urban sprawl, all the consequences of which are thrown into the laps of the residents. The developers smile all the way to the bank. Members of the City Council and the county commissioners wring their hands bemoaning the need for “affordable housing.” Yet, these are disingenuous code words for the promotion of more development, subject almost entirely to market prices. Equally disingenuous are the words “balancing housing needs with protection of the environment,” which really mean approving more tract housing.

In the November elections, I would encourage readers to vote for City Council members and county commissioners who put the interests of residents above those of developers and who have common sense. Remember, growth for growth’s sake is the rationale of the cancer cell. It will kill its host.

P.S .: After duping the City Council and receiving financial incentives from the City (and State?) to set up production of so-called “superfoods” in Sisters, Laird is folding its tents and slinking away. Its employees will be let go. Let us not forget that part of the justification for the Woodlands project was to provide housing for Laird’s employees.

Gary Leiser

Vote to save our water

To the Editor:

Every year more and more water wells are failing in Deschutes County. We’re in a multi-year drought cycle with increasing temperatures, and decreasing snowpack to refill our reservoirs, rivers, and water table. Increased water demand from new developments, both residential and destination resorts, can only worsen our existing water crisis.

Two of our current Deschutes County commissioners are on the ballot seeking re-election: Tony DeBone and Patti Adair. Both have repeatedly approved plans for large-scale developments, including the Thornburgh Destination Resort and Eden Properties’ proposed 710-acre subdivision above Lower Bridge. Both of these developments seriously threaten our limited water resources.

In both instances, these two public servants ignored Oregon’s land use laws, instead granting approvals to these developers over the strenuous objections of local farmers, ranchers, and neighbors. Years of litigation related to the Thornburgh development have already cost Oregon taxpayers large sums.

Enough is enough. It is time for a change!

We need leaders on our County Commission who will vote to uphold our state land use laws and protect the future of our remaining Central Oregon water resources instead of catering to big-bucks developers.

Both Oliver Tatom and Morgan Schmidt have publicly stated that they would have opposed Eden Properties’ 710-acre subdivision near Lower Bridge, and would work to protect our limited water supply as well as other Central Oregon resources.

These are the leaders we need to preserve our water resources and the quality of life we value here in Deschutes County.

Please vote for both Oliver Tatom and Morgan Schmidt for the Deschutes County Commission. The future of our county depends on it.

Donna and Paul Lipscomb

Are we better off?

To the Editor:

I received my Voters’ Pamphlet today, and as I began to study the candidates to determine whom I will vote for, I asked, “Are we better off today than we were just two years ago?” Let’s look at some comparisons to October 2020.

Economy: In 2020, the U.S. economy was the greatest ever experienced by any nation in the history of the world. In 2022, we are technically in a recession; some say the country has lost close to $7,000,000,000 in personal wealth. Retirement accounts are in sad shape. Mortgage rates are up from two and a half percent to nearly seven percent.

Inflation: In 2020, the inflation rate was 1.4 percent. The inflation rate for September was 8.4 percent and much higher for specific products. Does your paycheck pay for as much today? The Heritage Foundation estimates that the average family has lost $7,200 in purchasing power.

Energy: In 2020, we were energy independent, using hydro, nuclear, oil, gas, solar, and wind to supply all the power we needed and exporting to European countries. In 2022, nuclear, oil, and gas are not welcome. The U.S. has shut down production in our country and has become an importer of energy. European nations are facing a cold winter.

Crime: Crime has been increasing across the nation. Cities like Portland have been decimated, and no one has been held accountable.

Gasoline: $2.53/gallon in October 2020. Today in Sisters, Sinclair, $5.49

What are the candidates’ values?


Ron Wyden: His campaign ads imply his values are unlimited abortion, and cracking down on legal investments in housing.

Twenty-six years in office, and he has nothing positive on which to run? Tina Kotek: unrestricted abortion, defunding the police, soft on crime, complete gun control, higher taxes.

Betsy Johnson: argues with Tina over who is the most radical abortion supporter.

She and Tina have had total control of the legislature, and I can’t find anything they have done that helped my life, and they have done very little to eliminate houselessness.

McLeod-Skinner is a San Francisco liberal who supports unrestricted abortion, is soft on crime, favors high taxes, and supports gun control.

I find I cannot support any of those candidates.

John Miller


To the Editor:

How dare these misguided people tell young girls if you are a tomboy you must want to be a boy. When I was 10 I played Tarzan, climbed trees, tried to see how far I could jump over the Los Angeles river (which was like a small creek unless it rained a lot). Rode a horse and a bike.

As I grew older I liked all kinds of sports. tennis, badminton, archery, baseball, volleyball, basketball. At no time did I wish I was a boy. Just another big lie that these people are trying to deceive the innocent young, and not tell their parents.

Pat Farr

A simple choice

To the Editor:

If you like high gas prices, fentanyl coming across our borders by drug cartels, women and children being raped and trafficked by coyotes, and by members of those drug cartels, food prices going through the roof because of inflation that is out of control, then stay the course and vote for those “new” Democrats that are running for office: Oliver Tatom, Emery Levy, Morgan Schmidt, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and Tina or Betsy (take your pick).

You might also want to vote in favor of Measure 114 which makes it cumbersome, expensive, with more governmental overreach, and denies our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, which shall not be infringed.

Soon only the cartels and criminals will have guns, and that would make us defenseless.

That is exactly what the new Dems want.

Law-abiding citizens don’t shoot and rob people at gunpoint, they protect themselves and their loved ones.

If you want lower gas prices, a border that every country in the world, except the U.S. now, keeps and maintains, an end to child trafficking, fentanyl and coyote drug cartels, lower inflation, and a better economy, and you want to keep and own a gun for protection of you and your loved ones, then vote for: Patti Adair, Tony DeBone, Michael Sipe, Jo Rae Perkins, Lori Chavez-DeRemer, and Christine Drazan. As Christine said in one of the debates with Tina and Betsy, “You both have had years in the legislature to change what is wrong in Oregon (being the majority), and you haven’t. It’s my turn.”

This is just a suggestion, but why don’t you turn off your TV? Get some fresh air, walk the dog, go for a drive and take in the autumn colors, take off the mask and hug and kiss your spouse.

Jayne Simmons

Time for a change

To the Editor:

Seems to be a common thing to say on both sides of the political fence: It’s time for a change!

I can’t say I believe that is necessary in all instances, but I definitely do for county commissioners running this year. DeBone and Adair have been in office for a long time, and I can’t say I am impressed by their ideas and plans for the county. Their approaches have not worked well in land use, climate, or homelessness, and they do not support the rights of women as required by the state of Oregon.

Both their opponents are younger, with new, more open approaches to the problems Deschutes County faces. It is indeed time for a change of county commissioners. Let’s give Oliver Tatom and Morgan Schmidt a chance.

Marianne Straumfjord

Game over

To the Editor:

Uh-oh. Game over. Laird Superfoods (LSF) is pulling up their tent and disappearing. What a change from June 2020, when LSF CEO Paul Hodge and partner Paul Schneider sold the concept of 300 new homes (The Nugget, June 10, 2020, page 1) and 500 new jobs (The Nugget, March 2, 2021, page 8) to the Sisters Planning Commission and Sisters City Council.

There followed an apparently urgent need for new housing in Sisters for all of those expected 500 people coming to work at LSF. So Mr. Hodge and Mr. Schneider bought the Forest Service land, 31.56 acres, bordered by Pine Street, West Barclay Drive, and U.S. Highway 20, for the housing. Mr. Hodge has since bailed on LSF.

Let me back up: Mr. Hodge stated in 2019 that LSF would need close to 200 homes and praised Hayden Homes’ McKenzie Meadows project which was under review by the Sisters City Council, to build those homes. The headline read “Hayden will provide workforce housing,” (The Nugget , April 24, 2019, page 2).

Now, no more LSF means no more housing needs for employees, but Sisters Woodlands now bears its name on the old Forest Service property, where construction is well underway at Sisters Woodlands — but who is going to need that mixed array of housing: apartments, condos, townhomes, and single-family homes?

Plus, Threewind Partners LLC, across the highway, has three large apartment buildings behind Bi-Mart. One is up and running while two are almost finished, and Threewind is recruiting tenants under the name of Oxbow Flats Apartments. Seems to me that Sisters is well grounded in housing availability for the future.

So what happened to LSF common stock on the NYSE? It opened at $22 a share, then soared to $60.80 a share within days (The Nugget, March 3, 2021, page 8). Now, LSF is closing for good and last week the stock was worth a buck seventy-three. Strangely, Laird Hamilton has never once set foot in Sisters to see the operation bearing his name.

Jim Cline

Make Oregon strong and trustworthy again

To the Editor:

This past week a prominent leader from Hawaii left the Democratic Party. Tulsi Gabbard left the party because of its failed policies and how they treat others that don’t agree with them. Tulsi Gabbard showed courage in this decision. I left the Democratic Party years ago for some of the same reasons she stated. I’m not a public figure like she is, but I want to make a public statement on record as well. It’s time for a change in Oregon, and nationally.

What is your report card showing for our leadership in Oregon? Two of the three gubernatorial candidates gave Governor Brown an “F” during the pandemic. We are one of the most extremely liberal states. When are we going to realize that it isn’t working for the average citizens? It’s gone too far left.

Tina Kotek will be just like Brown. She’s voted the same as Brown for years. She has no independent thought, and isn’t willing to work with more conservative members of the legislature. Oregon needs change now. We need it in our local city councils, school boards, county and state positions. It’s time to be brave and courageous like Tulsi Gabbard and leave the Democratic Party. It’s not the same party it was even 10 years ago. It’s a party that is extreme. These are not the values we have as Americans.

Make the change this election. Vote red. Bring back common sense and thriving economies. Vote conservative in city, county, state and Federal races. Make Oregon strong and trustworthy again.

Valerie Troyer

New development

To the Editor:

It has come to my attention that very few residents around town are aware of the enormous development called the Sunset Meadows project at the beginning of Highway 242 up for approval at the City Hall meeting that is scheduled on October 20 at 5:30 p.m.

I oppose this project for many reasons.

It’s visually and structurally too large and too tall by this neighborhood’s standards.

There are too many development projects already under construction all over Sisters, particularly in west Sisters.

When is it enough? I never pictured Sisters as a densely populated urban city with no space to breathe.

I don’t think anybody came to Sisters with that in mind.

So why is it happening? Is the Sisters City Council instructed by the governing body of the state to replace the trees with people? Well, if you are looking to live like you did in a big city you don’t have long to wait according to the city planner.

This project will commence by February 2023 when they will start cutting down almost every tree on the 12.92 acres to accommodate the highest density, up to 200 single- and multi-family units.

We are in a drought, an economic downturn, a fire zone, a dark-sky zone. We are feeding a potential traffic nightmare, and safety evacuation nightmare in the event of a fire. Does our fire department have enough infrastructure to accommodate this huge influx of homes, people, and traffic? These are some of the many questions that come to my mind. We all need to question this runaway development and oppose the ones that pose so many risks to our community.

I hope you will join me at this very important meeting and get involved in how we want the future of Sisters to look like. We have already made big investments by moving here; we also need to make the investment in how we want our community to look and feel in the long run. Please join me and other members of our town and have a say in how we want Mr. Martin, our city planner, and our elected officials to best serve us. Thank you.

Dianne Delle


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