News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor 7/3/2024

Common sense immigration

To the Editor:

Mass deportation as a solution for illegal or unauthorized immigration is wedging itself into our politics. That’s an impossibility and a distraction. We need a functional immigration plan.

The Migration Policy Institute reports data for 11,047,000 unauthorized immigrants. Most were born in Mexico, Central or South America, or the Caribbean, some in Africa, Asia, Canada, or Europe.

Of that total, 63 percent (6,933,000) have resided in the U.S. ten years or more; 33 percent (3,521,000) reside with at least one citizen child under 18. Twenty-eight percent (3,069,000) are homeowners. Of those 25 or older, 24 percent (2,136,000) earned a high school diploma or equivalent; 30 percent (2,620,000) attended some college or earned associates, bachelors, or graduate degrees. Of those 5 or older, 7 percent (773,000) speak only English; 47 percent (5,184,000) speak English well or very well. Of those 16 or older, 65 percent (6,829,000) are employed.

Any deportation “plan” isn’t real unless it names targeted populations (are Canadian, European, and home-owning immigrants included?) and predicts impacts on our labor force, economy, and rule of law. It’s political nonsense if it doesn’t explain how it would work.

Deporting 11,047,000 individuals would be like expelling the entire populations of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada, plus about two-thirds of Wyoming’s. Who across the 50 states would yank millions of adults and children out of homes, jobs, schools, and communities? Deportation on that scale is impossible. We need to make common sense immigration possible.

Sensible immigration honors America’s immigrant history. It demands secure borders and effective immigration controls, deportations only for serious crimes or national security violations, with clear pathways to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who are here now and earn it. Support candidates who have a plan for that.

Cliff Brush

Conklin House

To the Editor:

Part of the mission of the Three Sisters Historical Society is to support the preservation of our Sisters history and be a voice for those in our community who believe respect for our town’s history helps to build a stronger community.

We recognize our town is growing rapidly and we respect the rights of property owners to develop their properties based on the approved City and County codes. However, in the case of existing historic buildings it is far too easy to decide their demolition is needed just because they look a little weary and neglected. This is the case with the building on Sun Ranch, formerly referred to as the Conklin House. The origins of this property stretch back to the creation of Sisters itself.

In 1886, the subject property was at the northeast corner of J.J. Smith’s homestead, where he built a small store and established the Sisters Post Office in 1888. Later he moved the store and post office to the section line/Cascade, next to the place where the town was originally platted in 1901. One of the early 1900 school buildings was apparently moved to the location where the Conklin House stands and was used for exhibitions at the 1913-14 Sisters Fairs held on the Frank Shaw property opposite.

When the current house was built, it incorporated some of that same school building. Over the years, the house was occupied by several significant Sisters families, including that of Maurice Hitchcock, Harold Barclay, and most recently, Frank & Marie Conklin, who ran The Conklin’s Guest House until the late 1990s.

This building is a treasured slice of our history and deserves our respect and preservation. Buildings like this can be saved and can contribute community value and pride within a new development, most especially one that is intended to attract tourists. Yes, it may take some extra work and money to renovate, but with our City’s and community help and commitment, we can put a halt to destroying such a precious piece of our history. The current proposed change to the City code will not protect the Conklin House from being needlessly destroyed.

Let’s work together to protect the Conklin House and others like it. They represent our Sisters roots and all those who came before us to create this amazing town. New and old architecture can stand side by side and provide the unique character that Sisters and its community are known for.

Ronni Duff

Board of Directors

Three Sisters Historical Society

Proposed community garden

To the Editor:

There is an overgrown, abandoned garden at the Sisters Middle School.

Would this not be a viable place for the Sisters Community Garden? It appears that the watering system and buildings are in place or could easily be adapted and expanded for your use. It is in a very convenient location. It also would be a great education opportunity for young people as well.

Starting from ground zero at Clemens Park on North Larch Street seems wasteful. This is the only park on this side of town and is well used by the neighborhoods there. Using up a good portion of this park seems a bit misguided and would create parking and recreational issues for visitors and nearby residents who include more than just the Tamarack Village apartments.

Marlene McCormack

Thanks to first responders

To the Editor:

I want to express my admiration and appreciation for the professionalism, quality of care, and teamwork I witnessed on Friday morning, June 7, at Aspen Lakes Golf Course.

EMT personnel from both Cloverdale Station 602 and Sisters-Camp Sherman RFPD responded to my 911 call promptly and worked together to resuscitate my 80-year-old friend who had suffered a major heart attack (known as a “widow maker”). They were equipped with oxygen, a lithium battery- operated chest compression unit, a defibrillator, as well as proper meds. But even more impressive was how these individuals worked as a team for over 25 minutes bringing my friend back to life.

Equally impressive was the care given by ER staff and the cath lab at St. Charles Medical Center, as well as the follow up care in the ICU. I am sure that the many prayers said by many people were heard.

After being in very critical condition for approximately 48 hours, my friend was discharged from St. Charles on June 15. He is expected to fully recover.

The Sisters community is blessed to be served by such competent care givers.

Lee Kearney

Threats to democracy

To the Editor:

Steve Woodside’s Letter to the Editor in the June 19 edition of The Nugget began by praising the beauty of our system of governance that enshrines the concept of checks and balances and the importance of regular voting cycles. I couldn’t agree more.

How discouraging then to continue reading and find he counsels against voting for Democrats and Progressives because he says they are actively trying to destroy our country, are violent, and are pro Hamas, statements with absolutely no evidence to back them, including the ludicrous notion that Democrats are actually paying protestors and agitators “who openly hate our country.”

Mr. Woodside complains about Greta Thunberg “the poor child no one is allowed to criticize” because she’s autistic. Really, no one is stopping you. Go ahead and criticize her all you want, but if it’s because she’s autistic, you just look like a jerk. If you’re criticizing her for being pro Hamas, you’re ignoring what she said: “We won’t stop speaking out about Gaza’s suffering — there is no climate justice without human rights,” and, “The horrific murders of Israeli civilians by Hamas cannot in any way legitimize Israel’s ongoing war crimes. Genocide is not self-defense, nor is it in any way a proportionate response.” How does that make her pro Hamas?

The LGBTQ community consists of every ethnic and social background and tend to be highly attuned to social injustice. Many are Jews. Palestine could be the most homophobic place in the world but that doesn’t mean that almost 38,000 people need to be killed, a third of whom are children.

You think Democrats are violent? Come on! What party contains white supremacists who represent the greatest domestic terror threat to the United States today, a finding that is consistent across multiple databases? Remember Charlottesville where white nationalists carried Nazi banners, chanted antisemitic hate speech, and a woman was killed and dozens injured when a neo-Nazi ran his car into a peaceful group of counterprotestors.

What party was responsible for the violence of January 6 and wouldn’t accept the results of a free and fair election? What party tries to make it harder to vote and then lies about election results?

What party wants to elect convicted sexual abuser and felon Trump, who falsified records in order to conceal from Americans damaging information and unlawful activity before and after the 2016 election? The Republicans on the Supreme Court are actually considering granting Trump some form of presidential immunity from his crimes, a decision that would totally upend our system of fairness and justice.

You want Republicans in charge? Vote for Trump and you will be voting for chaos and violence and the end of democracy in America. What part of “I will be a dictator” but only on day one, don’t you understand and how does that fit into your concept of this system of governance of voting rights and checks and balances?

Terry Weygand


To the Editor:

When I watched the Presidential debate, I was not ready for what I saw and heard. Yes, Biden did not look or sound strong and his voice was weak. He did have a cold and he was attempting to react and respond to numerous lies by a felon standing only feet from him. There was no live audience, and mics were shut off when not responding to questions asked by the CNN moderators, Bash and Tapper.

It was very difficult to watch the 90 minutes of Trump loudly lying, manipulating, and exaggerating on every topic. He brought his typical ranting and raving about how he had the greatest economy in the history of our country, spouting how millions of immigrants are invading our country and replacing the jobs of blacks and Mexican workers. (He stopped a bi-partisan bill, headed by the GOP, that would have addressed immigration-related issues, such as increasing hiring for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Protection personnel, and providing removal for eligible non-U.S. Nationals under Federal law - Trump told the GOP not to approve until he became President!)

He stated that there would be no wars in Ukraine or Israel if he were President. He would fix everything, Putin is his buddy. Untruths were flying like hot cakes: Democrats were killing babies in the ninth month — really? Trump has been widely condemned for not taking the pandemic seriously enough, soon enough, spreading conspiracy theories, not encouraging mask wearing and undermining scientists and others seeking to combat the virus. Yet, during the debate, he claimed to be the savior of the deadly virus. He did not and will not do anything to fight climate change. He said he helped keep our water clean! And, he did not have sex with the porn star. Liar! He is guilty 34 times by a jury in a court of law for crimes he committed. He is now a felon! A felon who wants to be our President again.

President Biden did not have a good night, in fact, it was horrible. When he arrived on stage, he seemed tired, and as we now know, he had a cold, which did not help. Yes, he is old, so is Trump - they are both old. But Biden is older and his age showed. However, his administration has accomplished a lot during his term — unemployment rapidly fell, the pace of his labor market recovery was extraordinary. (After the Great Recession of the 1980s, unemployment didn’t return for more than nine years. After the COVID recession, unemployment returned to its pre-pandemic mark in just two!) Biden’s relief bill helped aid millions of workers and businesses recover. The stock market is booming. The green economy swelled due to Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which provided generous subsidies to producers of renewable energy. Student debtors saw their loan balances shrink. And yes, Biden aided in getting the price of drugs lowered.

I was waiting with bated breath for Biden to speak loudly about his accomplishments and tell Trump to stop lying. The CNN moderators were like two posts, never once correcting Trump on his lies. Ask Trump what a tariff is, or why he is above the law, or why he disrespects women!

We love our country! We are a proud nation! No one is going to tell me to Make America Great Again! Is it great and with a President that loves our country, the Constitution, and believes no one is above the law, it will continue to be great. We are here to make sure our legacy as a nation is not destroyed by one man who believes in one thing: himself. That is why we are here — as a beacon of peace, unity and truth.

Diane L. Hodgson

My kind of town

To the Editor:

Several tragic events last week remind me why I love living in Sisters. Not because of the tragedies — but because of the community response.

You see, 90 minutes after a fire destroyed a house in Tollgate and left a single mom with three kids and their dog homeless and without anything other than the clothes they were wearing and a car, I received a text from Honduras. A former Tollgate resident in Honduras was aware of the fire and the needs of the family before I was. That person in Honduras knew I was on the board of the Sisters Community Foundation (SCF). She texted details from Honduras asking SCF to help with emergency housing.

Within two hours after the fire, I made contact with the family at the Sisters Fire House where they were receiving so much support from the staff and firefighters as well as the Red Cross.

Immediately SCF Founder and Board President, Judy Trego, began working with the mom and searching motels and hotels to find four nights of housing. A huge thank you must go to Greg Willitts and his amazing staff at FivePine Lodge for their assistance providing a place for this family so traumatized by their loss.

Within three hours after the fire, I contacted another mom with a similar aged child. Not only did she and her seven-year-old son donate clothes, shoes and toys, but she connected to the unofficial Mom’s Tollgate Play Group and got similar donations for all three affected children.

Not an hour later, I received a phone call from a community organizer at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration. Having heard of the fire, and of Sisters Community Foundation’s involvement, she wanted to publicize to their congregation how to help the family. Some of their members were seeking an alternative to the online GoFundMe dedicated to the family as they couldn’t verify the origin of that account.

Information spread quickly that donations to the family could be made through Sisters Community Foundation and checks began showing up immediately and for several days thereafter. Several individuals asked that their donations specifically be used to provide the family with mental health/grief support. Other calls for support ranging from home stays to babysitting so mom could continue to work continued to flow in the days that followed.

The community response to this family in need has reinvigorated me and my enthusiasm for the work of our local community foundation. I find myself smiling more at all my friends and neighbors of this wonderful town — a community which helps out each other in so many ways. Thank you all.

Jeanette Pilak


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