Prepared by Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp

Early this summer, Deputies with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office assigned to the City of Sisters, have been investigating an increase of criminal mischief, trespassing and other criminal activity at the Sisters’ East Portal Interpretive Site. This is located at the intersections of Highways 20 W and 242, just west of downtown sisters. The site, owed by the US Forest Service, includes a parking lot for passenger cars, recreational vehicles, an interpretive kiosk display, and a rest room facility.

In June, Deputies and USFS Law Enforcement Officers began enhanced patrol of the area during the late night hours and contacted teens, transients and hitchhiking campers. While law enforcement presence has reduced the calls for service, the site was littered with human waste, soiled clothing, discarded luggage, broken camping equipment, alcohol containers and drug paraphernalia. Most recently, a city cleaning crew interrupted a transient attempting to light a warming fire inside the bathroom.

Overall, the East Portal Interpretive Site became uninviting and citizens reported felling unsafe approaching the site or using the facilities. Additionally, it was not representative of our Sisters community.

Yesterday, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Sister-Camp Sherman Fire District Firefighters came together and collected a considerable about of trash from the site before washing out the kiosk shelter with soap, brushes and a fire hose.

The site is open to the public and we encourage the public to report any future suspicious activities.The Sheriff’s Office is working with the USFS Sisters Ranger District to improve the security with improved lighting and increased patrols.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is always seeking out ways to make our communities safer and our quality of life for our citizens better. Please contact one of our Deputies, or call our office at 541-388-6655 or on social media with any tips about how we can help prevent and reduce crime in your community.