News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor 6/21/2023

Keep it traditional

Top the Editor:

Nearly 40 years ago I built a house in the Sisters area. I was attracted here by the rustic, traditional nature of the environment and escape to the country. The proposed gas station violates every facet of country living that I can imagine.

This distorted image is not the Sisters area that I knew and loved. The facsimiles of the proposal for changing remind me of a downtown exit to Los Angeles or Miami. One person’s business success and desire to expand will detrimentally affect the domestic life of a number of small, quaint businesses plus urbanize the distinct country atmosphere. Sisters is not a truck stop, it is a destination family resort venue.

We really have no need for a metropolitan style gas stop at the entrance to Sisters. This eyesore will destroy the very reason tourists come to the area. A country-style customized mom-and- dad traditional commercial stop will attract more visitors. Sisters is a young person’s playground and a elder’s paradise; please keep it that way. The flower shop and vegetable stand are useful, utilized, and economically viable.

A clear and present danger to the ambiance of Sisters is the continued intrusion of non-traditional buildings. The atmosphere of intrinsic affection will be torn from our hands by businesses that fail to adhere to regional structural guidelines or leisurely enjoyment. Recognizing and adding to a rural foundation of financial success will insure that Sisters follow its own previously mandated success recipe: quaint, traditional, attracts parents and kids, and elicits from visitors the beauties of a small town in a traditional setting located in Central Oregon.

Art Mitchell

Thanks for voting

To the Editor:

A huge shout-out and thank-you! to all of my supporters and volunteers for aiding me in my bid for Sisters School Board. Every new endeavor requires skills and talents that are untested, and we learn as we go. I learned a lot and met many wonderful folks!

Thank you to every single person who voted!

Many of you feel that your vote doesn’t count. Others feel that the voter rolls, voting machines and mail-in voting lessens their voting power, and it might, but keep voting until we can be sure that our votes count 100 percent. And they will, eventually.

Again, thanks to the community of Sisters for sending in those ballots and being counted.

Jayne Simmons

Honoring John Leavitt

To the Editor:

This year’s Rodeo Parade and Rodeo featured a tribute to John Leavitt. All of the accolades were warranted and lovely. The newly named “John Leavitt Memorial Arena” truly fitting.

John certainly was a mainstay of Sisters’ business, charities, and rodeo community over the years. I had the great pleasure to call John a dear friend over our three decades of friendship and working relationship. It was, in fact, an unlikely friendship. He the staunch Republican, me the flaming liberal! The wonderful thing about our years of friendship was our ability to kid each other, laugh about our differences, and really listen as we discussed issues important to us. What we found is that even though our political and religious affiliations were different, we saw the world in much the same way. We always wanted to treat people with respect and compassion. We wanted to leave the world a better place for our having been here. I loved the fact we could “agree to disagree” and still respect and love each other.

My mom was a lifelong Democrat, my dad a die-hard Republican. Yet they enjoyed a wonderful, supportive, and loving 65 years of marriage. It saddens me that our country has become so divided, our interactions so divisive, and our stances so hardened that we can no longer even talk to one another.

Part of my sadness at John’s passing is that our type of friendship seems almost out of reach in our country today. As a tribute to John, I pledge to be more open to listening, less judgmental of those with differing beliefs, and more focused on what values we share.

I will always remember and miss the gentleman cowboy, John Leavitt!

Barbara Secrest


To the Editor:

I have recently been in touch with our Sisters elected representative to the State Legislature, Emerson Levy, regarding concerns about increasing costs, or the lack of availability of home insurance in Sisters Country. Emerson expressed concern about this issue and would welcome contact from anyone experiencing rapidly escalating costs for home insurance or the inability to obtain home insurance in Sisters Country due to fire risk. Please, if you are in this situation let Emerson know.

Here is her email address: [email protected].

My concerns were partially a result of Bill Bartlett’s Nugget article from May 9, 2023. I had also recently seen an article (I believe in the NY Times) describing how State Farm had decided to to stop writing home insurance policies in California because of fire risk, the second big insurer to make that decision in as many years. Also, about a year ago I spoke to a representative of the agency that regulates insurance companies in Oregon about this issue and asked whether the State was considering stepping in to provide some sort of coverage in the absence of reasonable coverage from insurers. At that time, I was informed that the State was not considering such an approach but would instead let “the market” work to determine where people could obtain coverage, and at what cost.

In California, there is a program developed by the state under the F.A.I.R. Act to provide insurance for homes damaged or lost by fire, smoke, lightning, etc. This insurance does not cover other casualties typically covered by home insurance. The ability to obtain and keep home insurance at a reasonable cost is a fundamental requirement for an economically sustainable community. Without it, lenders will not provide financing for homes or businesses, and losing coverage is an event of default under most, if not all mortgages. At some point, we may need state or federal involvement to make sure we can insure our homes and businesses at a reasonable cost. We may not be at that point yet, and hopefully we won’t ever get there, but let’s make sure our elected officials have the facts.

David Ellis

No to gas station

To the Editor:

I am a two-year resident of Sisters Country and have totally embraced this community with much joy. I enjoy the scenery, community events, the diversity of opinions, the access to basic services, access to nature and fishing, small-town atmosphere, and am recipient of an awesome local newspaper.

I own a business in Portland that requires me to travel there once a week.

I have seen new and older Space Age gas stations in the Portland area, and I am not impressed. One of their newest sites is just west of downtown Sandy and gives you an immediate sense of how their proposal in Sisters is really out of scale at the gateway location of downtown Sisters.

The second Space Age station site I have observed is on NE Stark and it looks totally unkempt and un-maintained from an appearance perspective. Do not be fooled by promises that this development will be an improvement in Sister’s identity. It will detract from Sisters being the “gateway” to Central Oregon with a truck stop. Move this development to Barclay where it will meet other community goals.

Mike Faha


Reader Comments(1)

Karn writes:

A couple corrections: Mike Faha is mistaken as there is no Northeast Stark street in Portland and the space age west of Sandy is actually in Boring Oregon, a town in its own right and built with mildly faux 'rustic' aesthetics like many Sisters buildings.

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