SISTERS, OR -- There have been some contentious civic arguments in Sisters in recent years, but there appear to be a lot of people who want to improve the discourse. The newly formed group Citizens 4 Community brought in a national speaker, Thursday, from the Minnesota group Speak Your Peace.
Rob Karwath held three forums in Sisters, wrapping up the series at a packed fire station, Thursday evening. He told residents, "We don't for a minute tell folks that 'we should all get along and just be nice.' That's not how communities resolve issues, and that's not how people interact. We're going to have disagreements; we're going to have difficult issues. But, if we can approach each other and expect civility, I'm willing to recognize I'm not going to win every time."
He said, "It's amazing what people will do if they feel like they will be treated right in the process. I'll come back, and I'll come back again and, pretty soon we find some success together; and that's really rewarding. I have seen people in different sides express hope that they can get there."
Karwath advocates for people to listen, show respect, be agreeable and to give constructive criticism in civic discussions to keep the discourse from deteriorating.