Was talking to a sub-contractor friend, wondering where all the workers -- who were building twice as many houses last year -- went. He said, many of the Portland outlets, who had come in toward the end of the bubble, have packed up and headed back. That would explain part of it.
Was having one of my many discussions about downtown Bend, and asked an out-of-town customer standing at the counter what she thought. "You are so screwed," she commented. "It's very strange that you have offices selling destination resort deals in a yuppy, tourist downtown. Just goes to show what's important in the local economy."
I went home last night, and there was several local Realtors advertising on T.V. I hadn't really noticed that before. That seems unusual as well. (And, oh by the way, to me, posing with your two wolfhounds just makes you look pretentious, not sophisticated....)
Looking through the Source and seeing all these fancy new stores -- located on the outskirts of Bend, on streets I've never heard of. Only someone who has never lived here would pick those locations.
Which got me to thinking about all the stores who not only have popped up in the last few years because of the bubble who are also dependent on the bubble continuing.
I remembered the guy who had a flooring business from Portland, who commented that there were more flooring businesses in Bend than Portland. (Portland's pop. being roughly 500k, and Bend being 75k) That can only be explained if many of these flooring businesses are servicing the new contruction.
I'll use Longview, WA as my test case, because I just was there, and researched it a little. It's a town that grew from 30k to 35k in 10 years. So, they needed, at, say, 3 people per house, to build 1666 houses in ten years (166 houses per year.) Let's say, and now I'm just making up figures to make a point, that existing houses need flooring replaced on the order of 3% a year basis, or roughly 300. So, lets posit that there are three flooring outfits in Longview, who split the new and the old jobs, each doing 155 jobs a year. Any new flooring business would have to eat into or replace the existing available jobs.
Take Bend with the same numbers. Under the same made up criteria, there might be a need for 750 jobs a year for existing houses, which would make room for about 5 ongoing outfits. But there might be many more outfits who are servicing the NEW housing. What happens when they stop being built? Extend that to roofing and landscaping and plumbing and electrical and furniture and....
We are so screwed.
3 days ago