Sisters seeks to establish a community vision

Visitors walk the sidewalk along Cascade Avenue in downtown Sisters on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (Ryan Brennecke/Bulletin file photo)

Sisters officials want to establish a vision for the city.

The Sisters Country Horizons project, a yearlong process that kicks off later this month, will involve the city, NXT Consulting Group, the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and Deschutes County.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for city and county residents to collaborate on a collective vision for the future of this region,” said Nick Lelack, Deschutes County’s community development director.

The project focuses on four main concepts — livability, prosperity, resilience and community engagement. Those are broken down further into categories that include housing, disaster preparedness, economic development and volunteer opportunities.

That view of what kind of community residents want to see will provide a streamlined guide for future planning, said Steven Ames, a consultant on the project along with Stephen Maher and Ruth Williamson.

Residents in both the town and surrounding areas are invited to give feedback. The vision will include all residents within school boundaries.

“We will be doing community outreach meetings, not only just in Sisters, but all the other little outposts,” Ames said. “From Camp Sherman to Black Butte, we want to hear from everyone.”

The first phase of the project set a timeline and developed a work plan between stakeholders and was completed in February. Residents will be able to take an online survey starting March 22 to provide feedback that will shape the framework of the plan. A community outreach campaign will continue through the summer, before the final Vision Action Plan is released later this year or early 2019.

“We want to look at where we currently are as a community, what we value, and where we would like to go,” Patrick Davenport, community development director for Sisters, said in a press release. “This is a great opportunity for residents and community leaders to shape our future together — and for the benefit of all.”

The previous vision project was completed in 2007 but the city, which has more than 2,000 residents, was unable to keep it relevant with the amount of growth it experienced, Ames said.

“There were a lot of goals that came out of it and they actually achieved a lot of the things that were in that (previous) vision, but it got filed away and hasn’t been deeply used since that time,” he said. “The process that we have proposed is much more participatory and much more visual.”

The ability to take advantage of multiple social media platforms and a strong physical presence at community meetings and forums will help keep the new vision relevant in the community, Ames said.

Similar to the Bend 2030 plan, establishing a vision for Sisters Country will help city staff set goals when updating future master plans.

— Reporter: 541-617-7829,

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