Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bend, Ore. Poster Child.

Ready or not, I think Bend is going to become the poster child of excess to the mainstream media.

I suspect that the New York Times article on Bend is only the beginning. For one thing, as the rest of the country is trying to crawl their way out of the hole, Bend will still be digging. As much of the country lies panting in the mud, Bend will be still be slinging dirt.

Like it or not, we're it.

It was interesting to look up "Poverty with a View" in the Urban Dictionary and find that it is applied specifically to Bend. I sort of thought every resort community had that saying.

We'll be in the top ten lists for a long time. Over priced, under employed, and out of luck.

The rest of the country needs someplace that was worse than themselves. They need someone to wag their fingers at. Wow, we have it bad, but at least we're not Detroit or Bend, Oregon!!

Bend has beautiful surroundings, they'll say, but look what they did to themselves. It's a shame.

Our very picturesque-ness is going to be what puts us on the poster. Look! they'll say. See what happens when you build too much. When you drive too much. When you think you're special. When you don't create jobs!

Media will shake their collective heads. Sad, isn't it?

Whatever you do, don't get Bendized. (Damn Californians, mutter, mutter....well, you know how the rest of the country shakes their head about THOSE people.)

Just saying, be prepared to be kicked around for awhile. You'll get concerned calls from relatives. "Are you O.K.? We hear Bend is a ghost town!"

It's not so bad, we'll protest. Really.

But it's too late. We're on that poster.


H. Bruce Miller said...

Good post, Dunc. I especially like this:

"Our very picturesque-ness is going to be what puts us on the poster. Look! they'll say. See what happens when you build too much. When you drive too much. When you think you're special. When you don't create jobs!"

And especially the part about thinking we're special.

The Doctrine of Bend Exeptionalism is what killed us. We believed our own PR about being such a super-wonderful-glorious paradise that everybody on Earth wanted to live here, regardless of cost, and the real estate bubble would keep inflating forever.

We just ain't that special. Propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding, we do NOT have great schools, we do NOT have great medical care, we do NOT have a great climate, and we do NOT have the greatest ski area and the greatest fishing and the greatest mountain biking and the greatest rock climbing and the greatest golf courses in the known universe.

And, in point of fact, we are NOT all that picturesque. At least not more than a thousand other places.

When you bullshit other people it's one thing, but when you bullshit yourself it can be deadly.

Jen F said...

So... should we just hang our collective heads and shrug our collective shoulders and agree with the "mainstream media"?

Or can we just get past this and keep doing our best to make Bend a great place to live for those of us that actually want to live here, and want Bend to be our homes forever?

It just kills me that Bend residents are so quick to jump onto the Bend-bashing wagon. Maybe the root of our problems is a collective lack of community pride, brought on by complainers and whiners who feel that someone should make a community FOR them (but are disappointed when it doesn't live up to their expectations).

Bendite's, take action! Wag your finger back, and hold your head high. If you love living in Bend, don't be ashamed to say so. And if you don't, then don't blame Bend for all of your problems. There are worse places to live in the world (and even the state). Instead, think about what YOU can put into our community, to make it a better place for all of us.

And finally... if you don't think this is a great place to live? Then why are you still here?!

Duncan McGeary said...

I love Bend.

It's the non-Bend parts I don't like.

I understand what you're saying, but I don't know that either cheerleading or bashing really affects the reality of the economy.

I had a couple in yesterday, who were going to buy a house. What I said was, "Bend is a great place. But do some research...."

I think everyone is better off being realistic in the long run.

Duncan McGeary said...

I think the perception of Bend is going to be way worse than Bend is. Because we'll make a good target.

I was getting my haircut, and Ann was telling me that she had friends who were asking if downtown is completely boarded up.

Which is far from the truth.

Just saying....

H. Bruce Miller said...

"And finally... if you don't think this is a great place to live? Then why are you still here?!"

I am SOOOOoooooo goddam tired of hearing some version of "if you don't like it here, LEAVE!"

Do you really think it's that simple? Do you really think we can just drop everything and go? Do you really fail to understand that there are many reasons we CAN'T leave, particularly in the current economic climate?

If it were financially feasible for me to leave Bend I would be out of here in a New York minute. And that is the God's honest truth.

Jen F said...

Blackdog... Cheers for making my point for me. :-)

Dunc... I *am* realistic. My family has been deeply affected by the recession. But instead of complaining about it and taking the "woe is us" approach we're digging in and making the best of things. Which includes giving back to the community and doing what we can to make this a great place for people to live. I'm not saying you don't (in fact, your store is a bright spot for my son)... but my point is why be negative?

"Cheerleading" might not help much, but it's better than jumping on the bandwagon of trash talking and negativity of people that insist they are "stuck" here. And keeping positive has sure helped us keep our spirits up and helped our creativity during tough times.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"Cheers for making my point for me."

And I did that ... how?

"but my point is why be negative?"

My point is, "Why be delusional?" The truth may be painful but in the end it will set us free.

"trash talking and negativity of people that insist they are "stuck" here."

An addiction to "positivity" (aka "denial") is largely to blame for putting us in our current mess in the first place. And if you know a way I can get out of Bend without ending up living in a cardboard box somewhere, I'd appreciate it if you would share it.

H. Bruce Miller said...

And furthermore, how do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you use the word "drat!" on your blog?

Duncan McGeary said...

Jen, I think you're blaming the messenger. I didn't say I wanted Bend to become the poster child, just that it looked like we were in danger of becoming one.

You're not old enough to remember the Love it or Leave It bumper stickers during Vietnam, and the same thing was true then:

You can love a place and still not love everything about a place. In fact, sometimes if you love a place, it's best to point out the flaws so they can be fixed.

If you can't admit there is a problem, you can't deal with a problem.

And finally, I doubt my little old blog is going to dissuade anyone.

HBM's massive audience at the Source, however....that's different.

Yeah! Why are you so negative, Bruce!

By the way, Jen, it actually is a good thing to hear from another viewpoint.


Jen F said...

Thanks Dunc... I was starting to wonder "why did I bother?"

Jen F said...

BTW... my problem is with people who say they love a place and *don't* want to make it better. Which I obviously didn't point out clearly enough in my previous comment... your shop really *is* a bright spot in the community, despite it's cantankerous owner. ;-)

Blackdog... it was super sweet of you to read my blog!! Which types of posts do you like more? There's probably only three categories: the ones about food, the ones with pictures, and the ones with pictures of food. LOL...

H. Bruce Miller said...

"my problem is with people who say they love a place and *don't* want to make it better."

I'd like to make it better, but after living here for more than 20 years I'm very doubtful it can be done. The political system is totally controlled by the realtors, builders and developers so I think we'll never get away from the growth-at-any-cost philosophy that created the real estate bubble and bust (and also made Bend a much uglier and less pleasant place than it was when I arrived here). As Dunc can tell you, we've been through these boom-to-bust cycles before.

"Blackdog... it was super sweet of you to read my blog!! Which types of posts do you like more?"

I read one or two about food. Cooking doesn't interest me much but eating does. (Just look at my picture.)

H. Bruce Miller said...

BTW, Jen, you seem like a very sweet and sincere person and I shouldn't have ragged on you. I apologize.

Jen F said...

No worries... I have pretty thick skin. ;-) But I thought your pic was actually that actor from "State & Main"? I'm horrible with faces.

Guess my POV is, I can't fix the economy. I can't fix the politicians. I can't fix the real estate market or anything else "that big".


I can make life good (or "good enough") for myself and my family. Which by extension makes life better for my friends. And then the love just keeps on spreadin'... right?! Maybe I am naive or whatever, but it seems to work for me.

I'm all about small changes and though it would be great to have a magic wand or even a crystal ball to figure out when things will turn around... I just have to work with what we got now.

And I have to admit that every once in a while I like to have a big ole complaint fest too. But it's usually when they try to take away my beer! (OLCC!!!!)

H. Bruce Miller said...

"But I thought your pic was actually that actor from "State & Main"?"

It's Phillip Seymour Hoffman in "The Big Lebowski" -- one of my favorite actors and one of my all-time fave movies.

But I like to eat too.