There is a fascinating discussion over on H. Bruce Miller's Source blog, The Wandering Eye, entitled; 'Jobless and Foreclosed in Paradise.'
Seems to me to be going to the very root of why people live in the Central Oregon.
I don't have a whole lot of personal experience living elsewhere. I lived in Eugene for school, and for a year or two after -- but I drove over Santiam Pass every chance I got.
I wanted badly to come back to Bend. I felt closed in at the Eugene student ghetto; I felt I needed space. Didn't care much for the rain.
So....Bend, to me, is paradise. I love the feel of it, the fung shui if you will, and yes, even the smell.
Most of my siblings spread to the four winds; my wife would move to Portland to be near the boys and not miss Bend all that much. My Mom missed the valley climate and the gardening season.
For me, it was about comfort zones. My twenties were rough, and I wanted my old home back. My childhood was great; I partook of every outdoor activity that Bend gave, fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, swimming, skiing every weekend, exploring, spelunking, climbing, waterskiing, horseback riding, motorcycling, off-roading (we called it booneystompin'); I had free range over the landscape.
For being a bookish kid, I was an active little bugger. But then, summers were twice as long back then.
I may not do much of any of that anymore, but there is still a rosy memory glow over this place.
So yeah, it's changed a bunch. But I try to see the basic outlines, and ignore the rest. Downtown, Franklin, Greenwood, 3rd St., Division, and so on are still Bend to me, all the outlying areas are like some alien overlay. Northwest Crossing is like another town, to me.
But I've noticed for some time that even though people move here, they don't always seem invested in the place. Even people who are active in local affairs, seem ready to leave if everything doesn't go their way.
Here's a conversation I have a few times everyday. "How long you been here?"
"The store has been here 30 years."
".....Oh.....I've never been in before."
With a big, 'what can I do?' shrug from me.
Even worse, people unaware of my wife's store. I'll probably get explanations in the comments, but really....there is no good explanation.
It's on the busiest corner of Bend (or all of Eastern Oregon, from what I've been told), it has the biggest signs allowed, plus more signs in the window, plus books lining all the windows.
There is no way you can live in Bend for more than a short time without having driven through that intersection -- more than once. No way.
Which means they are 'sleep-driving' through that intersection; unaware of everything around them. Which I can believe, when I see the way they drive.
Anyway, it won't surprise me if people bail out of Bend. They were never really here in the first place.
P.S. How can you not love Bend on a day like this. I so want to close the store and head into the woods.....
14 hours ago