A couple of local media stories that raised my eyebrows.
First a "things are looking up" story from John Stearns in today's Bulletin, "Bank Back to Playing Offense."
Says Patricia Moss, CEO of Cascade Bancorp: "Now we're actively calling on businesses and saying, 'If you have a need for the dollars and ability to repay, we're here to do small business lending..."
On the other hand: Later in the story: "But many small businesses are struggling with the economy and won't qualify, Moss said."
O.K. Fair enough. Basically, they'll loan to any business that doesn't actually need a loan, and won't loan to any business that actually does need a loan.
Business as usual.
But it's the gray area in-between that really counts. The businesses where it might be a small risk to loan to, but which have potential. But business that could really spring to life with an infusion of cash.
I have no way of knowing if Bank of the Cascades is loaning to this middle zone: but I suspect not.
The last Cascade Business News was a whopper.
Usually I leave this 'newspaper' alone. It does what it does -- promote local businesses with feel good stories, boosting the prospects, being your basic Babbitt.
Again, fair enough. I suppose someone has to do it.
But this last issue went a little beyond that.
The local business community brought in an outside speaker to a conclave and asked him for his honest opinion about the local economy.
Here's what Economist Bill Watkins said, "Three years after the beginning of the recession, and a year after the end of the recession, Central Oregon's economic prospects are distressingly dismal, characterized as they are by continued job losses, still-declining real estate prices, negative net migration and economic growth so weak as to be barely measurable."
The CBN's response was to line up 50 businesses and a bunch of local to contradict that statement.
To me, this is intellectually dubious.
Starting with Pamela Hulse Andrew's editorial: "Taking Issue with Gloomy Economic Predictions." (It's fair to point 0ut, the Ms. Andrew's recently declared personal bankruptcy.)
Most of the other "coaches and consultant" quoted in the paper were to my mind equally dubious.
I personally don't think the economy in Bend "is getting better" and I think that saying so, and especially doing everything you can to try to drown out a objective third party who you asked their honest opinion from, is just boosterism gone wild.
5 hours ago