In 2018, hundreds of Sisters Country residents weighed in on a shared vision for our future. Through surveys, community meetings, and town hall forums, community members suggested dozens of strategies to support a more Prosperous, Livable, Resilient, and Connected Sisters Country.

With the help of a committee comprised of 31 community members, the Vision Action Team, and led by local consultants those strategies were turned into a plan, called Sisters Country Vision Action Plan. Since completion of this plan, a group of organizations, community teams, and local agencies have diligently worked to bring those strategies to life. In July 2019, representatives from those organizations formed the Vision Implementation Team (VIT) to help provide oversight and coordinate projects to implement the new vision. As the VIT wraps up their first year working together, they’ve paused to reflect on what has been accomplished over the past 12 months, creating their first Annual Action Plan Update now available at www.sistersvision.org.

Progress has been made on all 20 strategies included in the original action plan in the past year. Strategies that saw the most progress in the past 12 months include:

• Prosperous Sisters: Development of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Property.

• Livable Sisters: Improved Trail System.

• Resilient Sisters: Wildfire and Disaster Preparedness.

• Connected Sisters: Multi-purpose Community Center.

Development of the large parcel of land long owned by the USFS happened fast after many years of uncertainty. The City of Sisters, EDCO, USFS and other stakeholders met with private developers in early 2019, resulting in the largest portion of the property entering escrow in late 2019. To support the sale, the City of Sisters updated their Buildable Lands Inventory and completed a Housing Needs Assessment. Meanwhile, USFS was debating options for the location of their new Ranger Station, even considering moving out of the area. Instead, they decided to use proceeds from the sale of the main parcel to retain the smaller, north parcel of the property and build a new station onsite! Finally, the City of Sisters and ODOT are currently working on a multi-stakeholder agreement to purchase the remaining “east portal” with the goal of developing a community gathering space.

Sisters Country’s recreation trail system also saw major improvements in the past year. USFS partnered with Discover Your Forest to establish the Deschutes Trail Coalition (DTC). To help identify new areas for potential trail development, DTC is in the process of creating a new spatial siting tool. Once sited, new trail development may get a boost in funding from a Deschutes County grant proposal to the State of Oregon, currently pending.

The County is also preparing to update their Transportation System Plan, which will provide opportunities for community input on a multi-use, regional trail system. Existing trails got a facelift this year when USFS, in partnership with the Sisters Trails Alliance, replaced the bridge over Indian Ford Creek on Sisters Tie Trail, authorized construction of three new connectors to the Peterson Ridge Trail, and finished construction of a state-of-the-art gateway trailhead to the Peterson Ridge Trail System.

Sisters School District, Sisters Park & Recreation District, and Citizens4Community worked together to make progress on the long-term goal of developing a multi-purpose community center. C4C facilitated a series of meetings with potential user groups — from the Pickleball Club to the Chamber of Commerce. Together, these groups discussed their desired uses, and how to develop a versatile space. The group is now exploring options for funding a feasibility study next year.

The Vision Action Plan Update includes a number of new “action items” this year, as community groups and organizations have found creative ways to contribute to the 20 strategies. The VIT hopes more community members will feel inspired to get involved next year, and is looking forward to planning a community celebration this fall (depending on COVID outcomes). The celebration is a chance to recognize those groups and individuals who have been true “vision champions” over the past 12 months and to share the Vision, progress to date, and goals for the next year with the entire Sisters Country community.