▶️ Sisters asks for input on city’s 2040 comprehensive plan


What should the City of Sisters look like in 2040?

That’s the question planners will ask Monday night during a virtual public meeting, as the city begins updating its Comprehensive Plan.

It’s been nearly 15 years since Sisters updated its comprehensive plan.

Since then, the city has nearly doubled in size resulting in a housing crunch, increased use of public spaces and a need to plan for future growth.

Growth has “impacts on affordable housing and traffic, community character, quality of life, those things and it seems to be accelerated since COVID got going as we receive people from the cities that want to get away from the city,” said Scott Woodford, City of Sisters Community Development Director.

To participate in tonight’s “Let’s Talk” video conference on Zoom, Sisters residents need to contact the Citizens 4 Community group to reserve a space.

“C4C limited it to 40 participants just so everyone would get a chance to participate,” Woodford said. “If you wanted to be part of this but couldn’t, check our website, Sisters2040.com for future opportunities for input.”

Woodford said tonight’s meeting is the first of many interactions with Sisters’ residents from all walks of life.

“We will go out into the community and engage with as many organizations as we can, the Chambers, the Sisters Trail Association, try to get underrepresented populations that don’t typically come to these things,” he said. “Students, going to the high schools, because 20 years from now, this is going to be their community.”

The Sisters comprehensive plan update is expected to be complete in August 2021.

It will undergo reviews by Sisters Planning Commission, City Council and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development before it is adopted.

Outdoor burning opens Saturday in Deschutes County.

Outdoor debris burning within Deschutes County Rural Fire Protection District #2 will open at sunrise on Saturday morning.

Outdoor burning within the city limits of Bend is prohibited, in accordance with city ordinance 5.30.005.

Campfires, recreational fires, warming fires, and cooking fires may be permitted within the city of Bend and Deschutes County Rural Fire District #2 as long as the proper safety precautions are followed.

Burning regulations and safety precautions are posted on Bend Fire & Rescue website; www.bendoregon.gov/fire.

Bend Fire & Rescue strongly recommends that those who choose to burn debris do so early in the day, prior to winds picking up that could spread a fire to nearby combustibles.

Please have burning regulations on hand and always call before you burn.

As an alternative to burning yard debris, residents can dispose of their dead leaves, pine needles, and branches at Deschutes Recycling for half the price starting October 26th until November 7th (closed on Sunday November 1st).

Deschutes Recycling is located at the Knott landfill.

During the twelve days of the Half Price Yard Debris Recycling event brought to you by Deschutes Recycling and FireFree, yard debris will be accepted for half off – just $2 per yard!

Bend area garbage companies also offer curbside pickup of yard debris for a minimal charge. The sale is part of the FireFree awareness campaign to create and maintain a wildfire-defensible space around homes and businesses.

As a reminder, debris burning regulations may vary between governmental jurisdictions within the Central Oregon area.  Please contact your local fire agency for specific requirements and closures.

Deschutes Co. ballots on the way; deadline to return by mail is Oct. 27

Deschutes County residents should start seeing their ballots in the mail this week.

Security was extremely tight Wednesday as pallets of ballots made their way to the main post office in Bend, escorted by Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship.

Ballots are due back filled out and signed by 8 p.m. on November 3rd.

Postmarks don’t count, so if you can’t get it in the mail by October 27th, you should take it to an official county drop site.

Sisters teens in fatal crash identified

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday identified the two Sisters teens who were killed in a car crash earlier this month.

Genevia Tallman and Hannelore “Lala” Debari, both 17, died when the SUV they were in crashed on a forest service road on October 1st.

An 18-year-old from California identified as Amelie Malerba Locke was also killed.

Deputies determined a 2008 Mercedes SUV was heading north on the forest service road when for some reason it left the road and hit a large tree, ejecting two of the three people inside.

The crash remains under investigation.

▶️ ‘Surreal’ scene in fire-ravaged Detroit as HWY 22 reopens

Highway 22 fully reopened Tuesday night after devastating fires tore through the Santiam Canyon five weeks ago.

With the path through the hard hit town of Detroit now accessible, many folks are driving through and seeing the damage firsthand.

Central Oregon Daily News Photojournalist Steve Kaufmann visited the area and talked with some residents members about their cherished community.

Sisters Halloween carnival canceled; firefighters to deliver goodie bags to schools

The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District will deliver Halloween goodie bags to local schools after announcing it is canceling its popular annual carnival.

Firefighters will hand out the bags to kids in grades K-4 at Sisters Elementary and Black Butte School. The bags will include important fire safety educational information and some holiday treats.

“While we realize this isn’t the typical Halloween experience that local families have come to love, we still want to be able to provide a way for kids to enjoy the holiday in a safe manner,” said Fire Chief Roger Johnson.

The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District has hosted a Halloween carnival for Sisters Country residents for decades.

The Halloween carnival has been a great opportunity for the Fire District to connect with youth and to provide fire safety education materials.

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC and the Oregon Health Authority are discouraging many traditional Halloween activities to prevent the spread of the virus.

Parents can feel safe knowing the holiday bags are prepared in a safe and sanitary fashion, Johnson said.

Personnel preparing the bags will wear appropriate personal protective equipment including masks and gloves.

The bags will also be prepared several days in advance of distribution to the schools.

For more information, please contact the Fire District at 541-549-0771

▶️ Deschutes Co. voter registration jumps 50% from 2016


Bend resident Micha Juarez admits he could’ve registered to vote earlier.

But better late than never.

“I think it’s generally important to vote in every election. You know midterms, primaries, everything,” Juarez said. “I did want to make sure I made the cut off for this obviously.”

Many Deschutes County residents came with purpose to the county clerk’s office Tuesday – Oregon’s last day to register to vote.

“If we’re going to have a democracy, people better get out and vote,” Redmond resident Rob Osborn said. “Protect their rights.”

County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says registered parties are about evenly split.

“There’s about 46,000 Democrats, 45,000 Republicans, and 45,000 non-affiliated voters,” Blankenship said. “The rest are either Independent, minor party, or other.”

The 150,000 registered voters is a 50% jump from the 2016 election.

“Activity started about four weeks early,” Blankenship said. “Typically we get activity starting about September, this year we had activity starting early August.”

Whether you registered last month or last minute, many agreed it was something they couldn’t miss out on.

Voter registration will be open up until 11:59 p.m. tonight through oregonvotes.gov

You must have a valid driver’s license, permit or ID.

Voter Registration numbers are below


HWY 22 reopens Tuesday at 7 p.m.; fire damage had closed sections for a month

Oregon Highway 22 in the Santiam Canyon will open to thru traffic beginning at 7 pm.

Sections of the highway have been closed to traffic or controlled with pilot cars since Sept. 7 when a wind storm and series of wildfires caused devastating damage to communities and creating a series of hazards for travelers.

The Oregon Department of Transportation estimates that over 30,000 hazard trees have been removed along a 40-mile stretch of OR 22 that was heavily impacted by the winds and wildfires. Hazard trees are dead, dying or leaning trees that were damaged by the wildfires, and would likely come down on the highway posing a risk to travelers.

Travelers should be aware of the following:

  • The speed limit is reduced to 40 mph between Gates (milepost 33) and Pamelia Creek Road (milepost 63).
  • Significant work continues in the canyon and travelers should expect delays throughout the burn area.
  • Utility companies are working throughout the corridor to repair power lines. Utilities and ODOT continue to cut down hazard trees.
  • In addition to the ongoing work zones, hazards to travelers include damaged guardrail, roadside log decks and slash piles from the hazard tree removal, as well as the potential for falling rocks.
  • With fall and winter rains beginning, slides and debris flows are a particular concern, especially in areas where the vegetation, tree roots and underbrush have been stripped away.
  • Since many businesses and other facilities were damaged or destroyed by the fires, there are limited services available throughout the Santiam Canyon. Fill your gas tank, pack enough water, food and other supplies for the journey.
  • Travelers are urged to use extreme caution while traveling through the burn area. Add extra travel time or consider using an alternative route.

Access for pedestrians, including those with disabilities, will be available and identified through or around the work zones.

▶️ Report: Central Oregon Latino community is growing, young & motivated – but stunted


Central Oregon’s Latinx community has grown by 17,000 people since 1990, now making up about 9% of the region’s population.

That number, however, still seems too low for Miguel Herrada.

“I don’t see almost 10% of Latinos in any place,” Herrada said. “I’m almost always the only one in that restaurant or that place, and that’s very concerning for me.”

On Monday, the Latino Community Association released a 55-page report analyzing both the contributions and disparities faced by the Latinx community in Central Oregon.

“Being able to identify the areas where Latinos are struggling helps us create a community where everyone can thrive,” Joanne Mina, volunteer coordinator said.

The report discusses population, income, health, education, and housing.

“Because our folks tend to make around, anywhere between $20-40,000 per year, closer to thirty,” Oscar Gonzalez, program manager said. “Most of their income, over 50% is going strictly for rent.”

According to the report, 20% of those in the Latinx community do not feel completely welcome in Central Oregon.

“That’s one of the downsides,” Denise Holley, research and communications assistant said. “Is sometimes, if not yourself then maybe other Latinos, hearing derogatory comments.”

The Latino Community Association reports that Central Oregon’s Latinx community participates in the workforce at higher rates than white residents.

Yet they earn less on average.

Mina says she hopes this report leads to a community where everyone prospers.

“It’s important to be able to identify data,” Mina said. “What Latinos are doing here in Central Oregon and how we fare.”

You can read the full report below

Latinos in Central Oregon 10-7-20

▶️ Weekend rains, snow put an end to fire season, but plenty of work left to be done


Was this weekend’s rain – snow in the higher elevation – that fell on Oregon’s wildfires a “season-ending” event?

For many of the fires, yes. The rain helped immensely.

However, here east of the Cascades, fire managers aren’t quite ready to say the fires are all out.

“We got over 2 inches on the west side of the Cascade Crest. On the eastside we got about 1/3rd of an inch,” said Scott Owen, Lionshead Fire Public Information Officer. “We know for sure it’s a season-ending event on the west side. We are looking up the fuel moisture data to see if it was a season-ending event on the east side.”

Owen says fire managers are hopeful the next storm predicted Tuesday will be a season-ending event for the 204,000-acre Lionshead Fire that, as of today, is only 46% contained.

Most of the rest of the large fires in Oregon are approaching 100% containment.

“A season-ending event doesn’t mean everybody abandons the fire and leaves the area,” he said. “There’s a lot of repair and restoration work that needs to be done.”

More than half of the 1,500 firefighters on the Lionshead Fire have been reassigned to wildfires in California.

Those crews that remain are focused on restoration work.

“Repairing suppression lines, whether that was hand crew or dozer lines, making sure that the trees and snags that fall are chipped and returned back to pre-fire condition,” Owen said. “Also, opening up the roads so the traveling public can travel through there safely with hunting season and winter recreation season is upcoming.”

The Lionshead fire has not grown in two weeks, allowing the Deschutes National Forest to restore public access to Round Lake, Jack Lake Trailhead, and Jack Creek in the Metolius Basin near Camp Sherman.

The Bear Valley, Cabot Lake and Jefferson Lake trailheads leading into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness remain closed, as does the Pacific Crest Trail north of Highway 20.