Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I've been trying to imagine what this town is going to look like in ten years. The announcement of yet another major department store is coming to Bend, (where Jakes used to be) along with tens of thousands of retail square footage, is like the other shoe dropping. There seemed to be a short pause in the new retail there for awhile, especially on Third Street, but it looks like we're off to the races again.

While downtown has never really stopped growing, there certainly has been a sudden surge. Answering the question of who was going to inhabit all these new buildings.

And then there is the contempt a local developer has for our laws in cutting down all the trees he wanted for land he won't even be building on for a long time to come. He's might be fined 50k. What? The timber is probably worth more than that!

With the housing bubble really kicking in, all this is hard to explain. The only analogy I can come up with is the way the Russian Army handled minefields in WWII. They simply sent waves of soldiers over the mines until they were exploded.

As I mentioned the other day, new retail appears ready to open whether it makes any sense or not. Some of them are going to explode mines, but the army will get to the other side.

Like I said, charging the enemy with a couple of other soldiers is insane. But if everyone else in the division joins you, it has a chance of success. The machine guns will mow alot of men down, but the army moves on.


Duncan McGeary said...

So what's Bend going to look like in ten years?

If most of the growth in Bend over the past 3 or 4 years has been in real estate and construction, if it's true that there aren't a plethora of high paying jobs, what it means to me is that Bend is going to be inhabited by two types of people.

The people who can live here, and for whatever reason -- independently wealthy, retired, or commuting -- don't need to earn a living here.

And those of us who service those people, along with tourists.

If the destination resorts continue to get built, if subdivisions are finished, if baby boomers keep coming.

I'll try not to impose my moral values on everyone else, but this sounds like a third world country. The rich and everyone else. The rich live up on the hills and along the river, in gated communities, while the poor live on the flatlands and in the scrub.

There'll be a small middle class --
professionals and government workers -- some of who will chose to live on the hills, some who will live on the flats.

Personally, if I had the kind of money to buy a huge mansion and a new S.U.V., I would chose to live in a smaller house with a smaller car, and hopefully do something more productive with the money. But...again, I'll try not to judge the other way of living.

I just don't see a huge divide between the rich and poor as being a healthy atmosphere.

Of course, it already exists. I know that. But I wish our community had developed so that decent paying jobs were created.

Anonymous said...

I just don't see a huge divide between the rich and poor as being a healthy atmosphere.


This is why the 'rich' are mum about all the prisons that are going to be built.

Duncan McGeary said...

Meanwhile, there have been a couple of articles I've read recently that proclaim that house sales, for all intent and purposes, are dead.

I've been thinking this for some time. Oh, I'm sure they'll come out and say that, say, 100 houses sold last month, but really, I'm not sure that means much.

In my own neighborhood, of the 5 houses that have been for sale over the last year or so, only one has sold. And if I'm right, it didn't really sell to (as Hollern would say) to 'real' people with 'real' jobs. Can't go into why, but still....

The others have all dropped significantly in price, but I still don't think they're being looked at.

It reminds me -- pardon -- of sports cards.

Cards as a business have been dead for years, but I still have enough accidental sales to carry the product. It means I'll have a month with good sales, followed by a month with almost no sales, followed by a month of a few, and so on.

But it's all incidental and unpredictable, and not something you'd want to base your livelihood on.


Anonymous said...

Just because a few restaurants have signed leases with downtown empty shells, and somebody may have signed a lease for oct2008 @ Jakes, I wouldn't call this a RETAIL explosion.

The fact is the news just keeps getting worse.

There is $1.2 Trillion dollars of consumer spending that just got pulled with the table with the loss of HELOC.

I agree with your proposition ( corporate level ), that you can't win the war if you wait, so build and get your troops ( shops ) out in the field and try to be the last man standing, and declare yourself a winner.

I also agree on the personal level, to keep things simple, e.g. small home, and small car.

When you have a disparity of wealth, you'll be a target, I can see a lot of SUV's getting tagged, or worse very soon downtown. There are already 100's of cameras, there will be probably 1,000's in Bend very soon.


I have lots of friends in Bend, in their $2M mcMansion in a gated community that 'bet' that as their primary investment, that are now stuck. Then there are folks that have simple homes, and simple MTG's, ... Life is just simple.

There's lots of money in Bend, somebody is going to get it, if you don't have presence, you'll get ZERO.

Anonymous said...

contempt a local developer has for our laws in cutting down all the trees he wanted for land he won't even be building on for a long time to come. He's might be fined 50k. What?


Cost of doing business in Bend. Pay fines, little else.

This is probably the saddest thing in Oregon, with 'environmentalists' declared 'terrorist', and the complete loss of 'earth-first', ... real green groups, ... The FBI infiltrated ALL Green Groups in Oregon in the last 20 years and destroyed them, from the inside. Agent provocateurs.

Today in Bend you only have 'fast growth' ( sebastian ), 'smart growth' ( hollern ), and "slow growth" ( abernethy ).There is NOT a single voice for NO-GROWTH.

Even more sad, is that in a depression, that I feel is coming, you'll see little to no desire to save what's left, because people will be desperate.

Anonymous said...

I have long felt that south-third and north-division, have too long been ignored.

It's good to see, that folks are going where the prices are reasonable, its also clear that south end of town by the walmart, and Fred-Meyer is going to be the blue-collar shopping belt.

Cooley & I97 are a complete mess, until the bypass from Bend is hard connected from Bend to Redmond, its going to be grid-lock. Seems like every day now someone is dying between Redmond & Bend on I97.

I'm sure all those anchors love the fact that I97 is on their front door, but the fact is there should be off-ramps, and that whole area has become a parking lot.

I think that most south-bend will not even think about going north in the future, and thus creating south bend retail front makes good sense.

Anonymous said...

Duncan McGeary said...

So what's Bend going to look like in ten years?


Well, I97 ( third ) through town, will once again be a parking lot, just like before they built the bypass.

What is Bend? It will be like PDX, where East Folk don't go west, and West folk don't go east.

It will cost so much to park your car anywhere that nobody will go anywhere. It will cost $10/day to park anywhere in the forest or desert, so hiking will only be for the rich. ( This is what they have done to Sedonna, AZ ).

Anonymous said...

You probably already know this duncan, but as a retail merchant selling paper your going to be a downtown novelty.

Folks will walk by and say "whats this little shop, they don't do hair, food, or real-estate', 'whats this ol guy doing here?'

'He doesn't even sell wine, my'

RDC said...

Keep in mind that many retail chains make their decisions upon market demographics and do not necessarily slow down expansion during slow periods. If anything moving in during a slow period enables them some price advantages, as well as allow them to establish themselves and get market share in preparation for the next good period

Jennifer said...

I think it's another move in an ongoing spat between the city and Ward, don't you? I'm surprised the Bulletin put it on page 1.

Duncan McGeary said...

The Wards have been developing land around here forever. The matriarch of the family, Iris Ward, was great friends with my Mom, Libby McGeary. She was very nice to me; I still have the pottery mugs she gave me at my high school graduation.

Jan Ward fired me once. But he was probably right to do so; I was 17 and showed up for work not wanting to work that day, and we were clearing brush outside his office.

Can't really hold it against him.

Still, they seem to play hardball.