Letters to the Editor 3/08/2023

 

Last updated 3/8/2023 at Noon



Get involved

To the Editor:

Eight years ago, I became involved after Sisters’ city manager proposed building an amphitheater at the east end of town to bring tens of thousands of visitors to Sisters for weekend concerts. Lots of Sisters folks who opposed it got involved. Notice there is no amphitheater. Getting involved can make a difference.

This year I simply started a discussion in a Facebook community group with my comment “16 pumps?” So get involved if you don’t like something that’s being proposed. Somebody started CATS (Citizens Action Team of Sisters). Find them.

Here’s my problem with this proposed mega-gas station/convenience store — other than it would eliminate Richard’s Farmstand and C&C Nursery (which is just nasty). The two roundabouts proposed at the east end of town will reroute traffic up Locust to Barclay. No need for truckers to drive through town on Cascade (Yay!). But if one needs to fill ’er up before going over the pass, one would need to continue around the roundabout at the west end and come back into town to get to Space Age… and then have to make left-hand turns to continue westward. I foresee a friggin’ traffic bottleneck during the summer months… cone lickers vs. truckers.

I would think a smarter business plan for Mr. Jim Pliska of Space Age to consider would be to sell the Cascade lot and build that monster gas station on Barclay (I see there are currently some lots for sale). He probably wouldn’t need to build to the Western Frontier theme required on Cascade, saving a few construction dollars. And with all the working folks and new homes in that area, he could put in a restaurant and pickleball courts as well and thrive.

Get involved! Share your ideas. Write letters to the editor. Join CATS. Talk to your neighbors about it. Go to City meetings. Persist. Don’t give up!

Diane Goble

Western theme

To the Editor:

Western Frontier Theme: Although the Space Age Gas Station may meet the code, it does not meet the spirit. The essence of the theme is history. Where is the West? Where is the frontier? Simply adding so-called Western architectural elements to a building does not necessarily make it reflect history.

Considering its location as the first building of the Sisters downtown historic area (coming from the west), it ought to just zing with the belief in the theme. With its ties to transportation services, it could represent a train station. Other themes might be a ranch barn or other ranch building, a feed store, etc. Even an old-fashioned-looking gas station would be better than what is being shown. See The Nugget, “Space Age expansion approval process,” March 3.

At the end of a prior discussion of the Western Frontier theme, the resulting guideline was to represent a building east of the Cascades in the 1890s. If you need help finding such a building to use as inspiration, you might find help at the local museum or at the Deschutes County Historical Society.

Maggie Hughes

Living with the Space Age

Like last week’s Nugget, this week’s edition was full of development-related content. But according to the results of Bill Bartlett’s very helpful survey, 80 percent of those polled seem to think that those in Sisters who are managing the town’s growth and development (or not) are doing a lousy job of it, so I reckon this focus isn’t a bad thing.

There was a lot to comment on in all of this information but since the grandiose plans for the enlargement of the Space Age gas station was on page 1, it’s a good place to start.

I have to say, the column-inches devoted to the gasoline price situation made no sense to me, and I’m a pretty fair analyst.

So the Space Age has the cheapest gas in town, and yet the other three stations here in town do a very fair amount of business – they’re almost always busy when I’m there, anyway.

Why don’t those other stations have this problem with people passing them by in order to fill up somewhere else that’s cheaper? What fraction of the people driving by are doing that? It takes a lot less than a tank of gas to get to Redmond or Bend from the valley and there are lots of places over there to fill up.

So the expanded Space Age is just planning to tap more of the Highway 20 traffic just passing through? They’ll install an industrial fueling extravaganza exactly like the ones on I-5 or I-84 and make the entrance to Sisters look like Anywhere, USA, just as the use of gasoline for light vehicles is being phased out.

Really?

Goal 2 of the City’s Transportation System Plan is to “Reduce downtown congestion on US20/126 by providing a fully functional alternate transportation route for through traffic and freight carriers.”

The Space Age mega-station owner plans to derive a lot more revenue from through traffic – the very traffic that it is the City’s policy to divert around downtown. So the goals of Mr. Pliska seem to be directly at odds with the City’s goals. Whose goals will win out? In 2019 when the City changed the Development Code to allow this scale of expansion for gas stations, did this conflict occur to them? Will Town Pump decide to do the same thing at the other end of town? I hope not.

Charlie Stephens

Misinformation machine

Once again I take exception to a letter to the editor from one of The Nugget’s most prolific opinion letter writers — this time titled “Vote them out.”

Specifically, I believe it is important for readers of The Nugget to be informed of the source of so much of this writer’s misinformation that is presented as fact. In the March 1 letter, the writer quotes an article from The Epoch Times and then builds a far-right health-care conspiracy around it.

Readers should be aware that Epoch Times is the media outlet of Falun Gong, a right-wing Chinese spiritual group. Epoch Times really started its rise to prominence by deciding to back Donald Trump and a range of right-wing causes and using Facebook ads extensively to promote him in the 2016 election. To quote the New York Times, “Embracing Mr. Trump and Facebook have made The Epoch Times a partisan powerhouse. But it has also created a global-scale misinformation machine that has repeatedly pushed fringe narratives into the mainstream” (NYT, October 25, 2020). In 2019 Facebook stopped accepting ad spending from Epoch Times.

So my point is: When a letter writer quotes a source, it pays to be knowledgeable about that source.

Dennis Tower

Short-term vs. long-term rental

I read in last week’s issue of The Nugget about short-term rentals (STRs) and the impact they have on communities.

I am part of the workforce in Sisters, and have experienced firsthand the shortage of long-term rentals.

In October of 2021, I took a job as the sole dental hygienist at Advantage Dental’s Sisters location.

I commuted from Redmond to Sisters for work.

This began to wear on me, especially when working 10-hour days at the dental office.

I hoped to find housing in Sisters, and I almost gave up.

I had planned to transfer to my office’s Bend location due to my housing situation, leaving the Sisters office without a hygienist.

This nearly devastated my office’s dentist and other coworkers, as well as countless patients.

Without a hygienist on staff, many patients wouldn’t be able to have or schedule dental cleanings for the foreseeable future.

At the last minute I happened upon an ADU for rent at a reasonable price, owned by a Sisters family. I jumped at the opportunity, and since October of 2022 I have had the pleasure of living about one mile from my dental office in Sisters, serving my patients, and supporting my coworkers. Without my current landlords deciding to rent the ADU connected to their home as a long-term rental rather than as an STR, Sisters’ Advantage Dental office may still be without a hygienist.

I feel that my story highlights the importance of long-term rentals in a place like Sisters. The community cannot support visitors or residents without stable, long-term housing for the local workforce.

Perhaps Sisters can incentivize long-term rentals through tax breaks or other measures. I know that for myself and many others who live and work in Sisters, life is sweeter when you are able to live here and become a part of the community that you support.

Hailey Schreyer

Plea for tolerance

To the Editor:

Three recent letters to the editor have addressed the transgender issue.

I’d like to back the conversation up to before the T. Before the T in that other well-known acronym, LGBTQ+. It used to be in the not-too-distant past that what was desired in this debate was mutual tolerance: civilly coexisting with people with whom you disagreed. But as Bobby Joe Christensen’s letter demonstrated so well last week, toleration is no longer enough. His words: “Do not aim for tolerance, aim for acceptance.”

I think he’s understated his case; the real aim is affirmation, and even celebration.

It is no secret that the Bible plainly condemns homosexuality as sinful, as it does all sexual activity outside of the confines of the marriage of one man and one woman (Romans 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). Christians are not speaking from a high horse here; we, too, by nature are as broken as anyone else. But what we are saying plainly is that affirming sin in any form is very personally and collectively harmful. The teaching of Scripture when it comes to transgenderism and homosexuality is to point to the self-evident facts of creation.

And frankly, if biology and the facts of human anatomy and reproduction are not persuasive on this point, of what use will some Scripture verses be? People are going to do all kinds of crazy things; they have for a long time. My grief in the present moment is the lasting harmful effects in the lives of children subjected to so much craziness.

I get it that folks like Wendie or Bobby won’t agree with me. I am all for a pluralistic society. This isn’t about hate. It is about serious disagreement. I’m making a plea for that antiquated and obsolete virtue of tolerance.

Bob Schilling

Bigger not always better

To the Editor:

Not everyone has Sisters’ best interest at heart. Unfortunately there are those who view our little town as nothing more than a huge financial opportunity. As a result we’ve recently experienced a boom of growth and development that hasn’t improved our community, its livability, or the natural beauty around us.

CATS (Community Action Team of Sisters) was created 40 years ago in an effort to preserve the character of our small town. We’re committed to livability for residents, and continued prosperity for small businesses. And due to recent, less than desirable, developments, CATS membership has increased to more than 40 members. These are concerned citizens, who care enough to take action in an effort to protect and preserve the integrity of our charming town.

Troubling issues are numerous — including: an absence of affordable housing; overbuilding neighborhoods; unnecessary old-growth tree removal; a flood of vacation STRs; ignored dark-sky ordinances; and most recently, the proposal of an oversized gas station with no regard to our downtown area.

Despite The Nugget’s positive report (March 1) on the proposed Space Age gas station and convenience store, many “overlooked” details should concern us. Naturally, Pliska Investments (who don’t live in Sisters) wants to paint a happy picture of their “truck-stop-sized” station. After all, they have much to gain — primarily money.

Their artist’s rendition of this super-sized station (not even drawn to scale) doesn’t show how tightly packed-in their structures will be; the crowded parking lot; obnoxious signage and glaring lights; “sneaked” in fast-food providers; increased gas and exhaust emissions... Nor do they mention the traffic-flow problem they’ll create on Cascade Avenue, Pine Street, and Hood Avenue, as a multitude of vehicles enter and exit — thanks to the “lowest” gas prices in town.

And how will our other stations compete—will they be forced to super-size too? And who’s to stop them? According to a KTVZ report, Space Age applied to the City for “remodeling and improvements” in April 2019, but because Cascade Avenue is also a state highway, state laws could’ve been prohibitive. As a result City code changes were made to accommodate Space Age’s request — sending a green light to Pliska Investments Inc. to move forward in full force. Exactly what they have done!

CATS encourages Pliska to be a good neighbor in Sisters by either relocating their super-sized station/convenience store to a more suitable location — or by sticking to their original remodel/repave plan.

Mark Dickson For CATS

 

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