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SISTERS, OR -- Sisters-area residents are encouraged to share their thoughts on the current state of the region and the direction it’s headed over the next two decades. The Sisters Country Horizons initiative is a joint effort between the City Council, Deschutes County Commissioners and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council. 


Sisters Community Development Director Patrick Davenport says there will be several opportunities to get involved, including a survey of local concerns, "Is it affordable housing or is it dangers from wildfire risk? Is it the community connectedness – are we able to talk and communicate civilly with each other? Is it some services that are lacking, are there some land use issues on your mind? Topics like that; they’re pretty wide ranging and some of them are open-ended questions." The survey will be available online later this month, and will be distributed at local events over the next few months.
"The survey is just one tool," says Davenport. "We’ll be having community meetings – you know, the traditional ‘invite the whole community’ and there will be a joint exercise where 150 people can come in the room. We’re right in the middle of conducting interviews with various members of the community, right now. So, these are discrete interviews where consultants leading the project can get one or three or five people with similar interests in a room and have candid discussions." And, he says there will be outreach booths at local events, like the Sisters Rodeo and Folk Festival. 
Because it's Sisters, of course there will be a quilt involved, "We’re partnering with a group called Citizens4Community. They want to make a quilt and have little patches of maybe one or two sentences of how they feel about our community, ‘What would you like to see? What’s special about our community?’."  The first quilt-square event takes place Friday afternoon at Ray’s Food Place. Click HERE for a full schedule of events for the "Values and Visioning Quilt." 
Davenport tells KBND News cities across the state have conducted studies of public opinion to help guide future decisions, but this will be on a "Sisters scale."  A similar visioning project was completed for the Sisters region in 2007, but he says a lot has changed since then. All of the input gathered in the coming months will be put into a "Vision Action Plan" expected to be released by the end of the year. 

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