I'm amazed by the amount of passion -- anger, even -- that BendBubble2 can bring to his posts about the Bend economy. I mostly agree with him, but all I can summon is a sigh, a shake of my head in dismay, and a little bit of doubt.
After all, I never, ever expected all the development that has happened in Bend, so far.
But, I still think we're like the guys who saw NASDAQ go from 2000 to 4000, and are screaming warning, while NASDAQ blithely continues to 5000 -- before collapsing in a heap of rubble.
I can't conceive of any scenario where all the Old Mill development will either be built, or if built, will be filled. The destination resort situation makes me roll my eyes. Seriously, there are "FOR SALE" signs everywhere I look on the west side of Bend. That would normally slow down future building, you'd think. So either these guys are stupid or desperate.
The thing about reality is that gravity will take hold. Real economic forces will eventually kick in. I think these guys are really good at spinning it, creating cloud machines, never mind the man behind the curtain. But it will eventually catch up to them.
And the Bulletin continues not to provide much critical insight. Today's editorial seems to be a great example of that.
Bear with me; I'll be searching for the right terminology.
It seems to me that there are two kinds of jobs markets. There is the 'base' market, that creates jobs, and then there are the 'service' markets which service the people who work those jobs. It seems to me that the only real 'base' market that we have that has any real force in Central Oregon is Tourism. Mt. Bachelor creates real jobs. (if incredibly low paying); if a 'transportation' company is created to transport the workers to the mountain, that is a 'service' job, that wouldn't exist if the 'base' job hadn't been created, along with all the financial services that the employee needs, the housing, the utilities, the health care, etc. But without the Mt. Bachelor job in the first place all the services wouldn't be needed.
So the Bulletin makes a big deal out of the increase in employment in ...."transportation, warehousing and utilities sector, with both education and health services and professional and business services not far behind."
Service jobs, every one of them. I still think if the business of Bend is growth, all we are doing is chasing around each other for money. But what generates the original pool of money? I sell comics to the guy who sells shoes who sells to the guy who sells ice cream who sells to the guy who details cars who sells to.......and so on. But someone has to generate the original dollar, don't they? The original money appears to me to be a few small industries, tourist dollars, and the bagfuls of 'stupid' money that people bring to Bend for the lovely lifestyle.
We are depending way too much on the third option; because it counts on Bend being affordable, on the newcomers ability to sell their houses where they came from, and with them continuing to be so enamored of our lifestyle that they'll put blinders on. But most important to me, once the equity infusion has taken place, many of these newcomers are going to need to find real jobs. They'll look around and see only low paying service jobs. That or we are depending on people who are so rich, that they can just continually lose money in Bend, dissipate their fortunes, because, gosh, Bend is just so much better than anywhere else.
Maybe so, but that depends on perception, and if that perception ever changes, we won't get those people either.
BendBubble2 rakes our city fathers over the coals for not creating real, job producing industries. I just don't think we're likely to get those. We are too isolated to make that practical. But we don't need to be insanely boosterish either.
I think the Becky Breezes and the Norma DuBois of the world have an inkling of what's happening and are whistling through the graveyard. They've committed to their insane plans several years ago, and can't back out. What else can they do?
But we don't need to be so gullible.
3 hours ago