Sunday, December 16, 2007

I grew up at the end of Roanoke Ave. in the lower west hills. I could go out the front door, over the fence, and follow a line of vacant lots and gullies all the way to the top of the west hills and have to cross only two roads. From there I could pretty much go east, south or north without running into anybody.

It was my stomping grounds with my friends. We were free to roam. When I was 13 or so, my Dad and I built a motorbike, and my friend Steve Davies had his little bike, and we would zip all over the place, as far as Shevlin Park. No houses, of course. But more to the point, no one hassled us, even the police. It was fine as long as we didn't do any harm.

Pedro's comments in my last blog about being hassled by 'security guards' in black near Tetherow reminded me of an incident years back that was one of the first sign to me that things had really fundamentally changed in Bend.

I was showing Linda some of my old childhood paths, driving some back roads in the west hills (when there were still some back roads), and we came across two women and dogs waving at us frantically. We stopped.

"This is a walking trail!" one woman said, with her eyes glinting in anger.

"I'm sorry! We came through a back way and apparently there were no signs."

"Of course there were signs. This is 'private' property."

Now, I was horribly embarrassed, but it was an honest mistake. But what I most remember is the cold look in both womens' eyes that seemed to be saying to me:

You don't belong here.....

All that roaming territory is gone now. Covered by subdivisions.

When I lived in the student ghetto in Eugene, I had to get in my car and drive a minimum of 40 minutes to reach a place that was neither private property or a public park. I really felt hemmed in.

Here in Bend, I'm only ten minutes by car away from public lands. But it used to be, I could walk out my front door and not worry about getting on anyone's nerves.

The price of progress, I suppose.


Duncan McGeary said...

Have I already told this story?

The longer I do this blog, the more likely I'll repeat myself.

I suppose some of it bears repeating, as long as it's apropos...

BilboBend said...

In a way even the public land is that way now, the COTA 'mtn bikers' own phils trail, and ALMOST ALL of the land on both side of SKYLINE all the way up to Broken-TOP, Mrazek, ...

The nordic club owns swampy, meisner, dutchman, ...

Dog people are allowed ONLY to use Edison.

Almost all the public lands are spoken for, if you dare go anywhere, and not look like of the owners, you will get the stare, and yes there are no signs,

It's just understood,

Sort of reminds of me 'public beaches' as a kid, if you didn't live there, if you weren't a local, you got ran off. The surfers were very territorial. I guess its human nature, 100's of years ago hunting was banned in Europe. Only the land-holders had the 'right' to hunt.

Now with Millions of cameras in London, its only a matter of time, we have millions of cameras in the woods around Bend, always watching, always monitoring. Somebody might being doing something that's NOT normal.

Everyone in each area doing the same activity, with the same brand of equipment, dressed the same. Just try and xc ski these days with wool, and you'll get the stare.

In the day, when places aren't so populated, folks were generally glad to see another on the trail.

Bend was sold to the MOST WEALTHY, they came to Bend, to be secure in their gated-community. There is a general attitude of these near the gated community that they OWN the land around them. Their community's have fences, and behind the fence is 3ft boulders in a continuous chain.

In Bend anything is possible, the city-hall will back any crazy 'ban', true freedom in Bend?

In the day you left your house, walked in any direction, and you just walked, and walked, and again, if you meet another on the trail, it always became a chat.

These days if you want your dog to run, you have to drive to big-sky, ten miles east of town, only place in town that a dog can legally run in the city limits. The point here is that EVERY activity is now becoming a drive. Which of course means everyone is always in their car, which is what they all left in Cali.