Sisters’ city government will have a bigger and bigger role to play as Sisters moves from hunkering down and trying to weather the COVID-19 storm toward navigating the changed landscape the storm has left behind.

The City used its very limited capabilities to respond to the rapidly-unfolding crisis in a timely and judicious manner, taking early precautions for the health and safety of staff and public; discouraging but not aggressively shutting down travel to Sisters; working with suddenly shuttered or interrupted businesses and out-of-work residents to manage utility billing and the like.

Civic leaders and staff have worked hard to make sure that Sisters has a seat at the table, access to resources, and a voice in decisions that will have a profound effect on the community — though Sisters must recognize that we are one very small voice amid a great clamor.

Going forward, the City will need to maintain a fine balance between consistency and flexibility when it comes to enacting or modifying policies to help residents and businesses recover. The City will have to communicate very clearly and consistently with local residents, visitors and businesses in an environment where information can be confusing, contradictory — and can change quickly.

Effective communication is a two-way street; the City needs to hear from its constituents regarding their circumstances and needs, always recognizing that the City has limited resources and capabilities and is constrained by the requirements of county and state authorities.

Right now, it’s easy to get frustrated to the point of fury and despair with government action or inaction that seems confused, out-of-touch and often counterproductive. Here in Sisters, we can make sure that we’re all pulling in the same positive direction, working in good faith under profoundly trying circumstances to do what we can with what we have.

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief