Note: Neither the editor of this newsletter, nor SOS/Sisters Rural Advisory, LLC, claims responsibility for certifying the accuracy of any statements made independently by individual participants.

WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO...
 
 “Save Our Skies “ (SOS)  and Sisters Rural Advisory, LLC.


The SOS group formed in August of 2016 after a skydiving operation was introduced at Sisters Eagle Airport.  While use by private planes at the airport had never been an issue, the new commercial recreational activity impacted many Sisters Country residents and visitors. Extreme takeoff noise and the constant drone from planes circling to gain altitude wereseriously affecting the ability of many residents and visitors to enjoy some of the unique environmental qualities of the area. These intrusions numbered as many as 16 or more a day, beginning early in the morning and often extending late into the evening. 

We were never informed about the skydiving operation during the annexation process that extended the City boundary to include a narrow strip of land that is the privately owned, public use, Sisters Eagle Airport. This strip of land is surrounded by residential areas on three sides. These residential areas lie outside the City limits. Thus, those of us most impacted by activities at the airport did not even get a chance to vote on the annexation, much less a later unveiled expansion plan.

Certainly none of us anticipated noise impacts caused by commercial recreational uses like skydiving.  Such uses were not mentioned in the City of Sisters notices for Planning Commission Meetings, City Council Meetings, or articles in our local paper.There was no mention of these types of activities in the ballot measure used for annexing the airport to the City of Sisters.

A search of County records has revealed multiple deeds with language that specifically prohibited skydiving, gliders, and some other activities, making it clear, historically, that the purpose of this airport was primarily to serve the local community and its citizens, not to enable noise-impactful, for-profit recreational activities. The protections the deed restriction afforded were in place when most of us bought or built our homes. At the bottom of this page, is a power point slide that details these deed issues. 

Our aim at present is to achieve an end to the noise impact of skydiving or future commercial aeronautical recreational activities.If an end cannot be achieved, then exploringa reduction in the number of flights, hours, days or variation of flight pathscan be considered through mediation, if airport personnel are willing to acknowledge that there IS a problem.Modificationsto the skydiving activities were proposed by individuals in the past but were were repeatedly rebuffed. 

Many of us came together in August2016 to form a loosely organized group of concerned citizens (SOS), now numbering more than 130.  Early on we researched regulations and laws as they pertain to Sisters Eagle Airport. We uncovered a number of issues, among which are:


  • The skydivers were landing in areas that were not zoned for the activity. We brought this to the attention of local government staff.
  • The skydiving company and the airport did not comply with the requirements of the City of Sisters or Deschutes County for conditional use permit r the landing zones.


Sisters Eagle Airport submitted a request to ODA (Oregon Department of Aviation)for an upgrade in listing status. Their request included a map that would have increased the size of the airport zone by 400%. The zone map was subsequently rejected after we brought the matter to the attention of ODA, the City and County.

In September 2016, it was determined that we needed to develop a more formally organized legal entity to serve as an umbrella organization for the SOS effort. This group, The Greater Sisters Rural Advisory, LLC, has as its purpose: “Obtain, organize, and distribute information to citizens who reside both inside and outside the city limits of Sisters, Oregon and to inform these citizens how decisions impact them so they may have a voice in local government and any lawful activity.” A 10-member steering committee was formed and provisional officers elected. The SOS mission was adopted by a vote of the LLC steering committee.

We have made significant progress in the ensuing months, much of which has been reported to SOS subscribers in our newsletters and at monthly general meetings. If you support our efforts and wish to sign up to receive the SOS newsletter, you may do so by clicking on the SIGN UP tab on the Home page of this website. We also hope you will choose to become a voting member of the LLC by contacting: sistersadvisory@gmail.com. Together with your request to become a member of the LLC, we invite you to indicate how you, personally, are impacted by the airport noise. You may also address your questions, and suggestions to this email address. 






Save-our-Skies


 
Research by members of the LLC have discovered recorded deeds which specifically prohibited skydiving and other recreational activities. To explore how these and other legal items might help us to regain our tranquility will necessitate the use of a land use attorney. If you would like more details on these legal issues, drop us an email at  SistersAdvisory@gmail.com and we will be happy to provide them.