I've been paying attention to the economy in Bend long enough now to notice certain seasonal rites.
Every spring, we get the "upbeat" reports. We are headed for prime tourist season, and or housing sales market. Time to roll out the Star Making Machinery. The Bubble Blowing Contraptions. The Hail Friends and Well Mets Sloganeering.
So any uptick -- any uptick at all -- will serve as positive news.
But I've also noticed that you can find positive and negative in the news at any time, sometimes with the same statistics, depending on how you interpret them. It's the spin, baby.
KTVZ has a really upbeat story on all the building in N.W. Crossing -- the development that seems to have the largest or the most adamant supporters. We were being told two or three years ago that the West side would be immune to any downturn, then it was, well maybe not the entire West side, but N.W. Crossing. I think the building there is more a case of: in for a penny, in for a pound.
Still and all. Downtown Bend continues to keep it's vacancy rate down. The town seems to be holding onto most of it's population -- we aren't turning into Detroit. Most importantly, we haven't turned into the poster child for boom and bust -- I think because most people aren't paying attention, and the bust lobby (bubble bloggers and such ) just dropped the whole issue. "See?" they said, and walked away.
The local real estate blogs are publishing some real nonsense, and no one is challenging them much. People are still moving to town, and still buying -- and when I talk to them at the store, I swear they have no idea that Bend is any different than anywhere else when it comes to the economy. Blessed ignorance.
So while I've lost a whole bunch of regular customers, I've also gained a few newcomers. Why and how they are managing to move to Bend is a bit of mystery.
The subtext is the alarming number of people who have lost their homes, around here. I'm amazed how cheerful some of them are about it -- but what you gonna do? Jobs? People scramble admirably, and find ways. People are survivors.
Bend's economy remains a mystery -- almost as much a mystery as it was when it was booming.
5 hours ago