News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Keeping Sisters Sisters

City planners did the right thing in kicking the application for an expansion of the Space Age Fuel service station up to Type III status, which means it will be heard by the Sisters Planning Commission.

The planning commissioners should take full advantage of the opportunity to examine whether the application represents the actual intent of code changes enacted in 2019, and to explore what the City of Sisters’ options are in addressing the concerns of a substantial part of its citizenry over the scope of the proposed project.

This action represents a win for the community, and a win for the activists that pushed for answers regarding the process that led to the application. Those activists should be careful not to tarnish their own accomplishment by indulging in inflammatory rhetoric that can only be destructive.

Calling people you seek a dialogue with weak, greedy, and cowardly is unfair, unnecessary, and counterproductive (see story, page 1). Unsupported insinuations of bad faith on the part of volunteers who live in our community and who have stepped up to serve it create rancor that only impedes solutions to very real problems — problems that communities across the American West are grappling with.

At the same time, elected officials need to make extra effort to be responsive to genuine concerns of their constituents. Sisters’ mayor — and the city manager when one is chosen — must not only return phone calls, they need to proactively engage with the public to make sure that concerned voices are heard, and that the public fully understands the complicated path a municipal government has to walk in working on behalf of diverse and sometimes competing interests and values.

If we are concerned about preserving the character of Sisters, we need to pay attention not only to what gets built, but also to what gets pulled apart if we don’t take care to talk to each other —vigorously but constructively.

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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