Looking up predictions from four years ago has made me realize I haven't made a prediction about the economic future of Bend on this blog for some time now.
There was one other prediction that I remember making: I don't need to look it up, because I remember it exactly.
Back then, the average cycle of a housing downturn was seven years, top to bottom back to top. (Based on bubbles in California and Texas, there had never been a national downturn in housing, as was mentioned repeatedly during the bubble because you know, cause it's never happened before must mean it will never happen....)
So my expectation was that it would be seven years or more. Probably more, since this was the mother of all bubbles.
The economy, I think, has followed housing in it's ups and downs. (That and no jobs -- which, at least locally, is also connected to housing.)
Anyway, I think what's been happening since that first year or two of significant declines is that we have been bumping along the bottom. I think small downturns are continuing, at least in my business, but the smaller declines could be due to other factors -- like comics not selling, or my not spending oodles of money on establishing new inventory lines (things always sell better when you're building inventory, because -- well, you're spending more money than you're making.)
So...I expect we'll bump along the bottom for a while longer. Especially in Bend. We avoided Armageddon but we are living in a dysfunctional economy.
Bend continues to draw newcomers, and lose oldtimers, and wobble back and forth as to whether we are a hot place to live, or yesterday's news.
The longer we wobble, the more likely I think we'll come back. As long as we don't get a loser reputation.
On one hand, I expect we'll get more of the type of rational decisions made by the Redmond Airport candidate who decided that his wife had little opportunity for a teaching job in Redmond.
On the other hand, I continually see newcomers who come in the store and say, "Whoooeee! We're starting a new business!" (And, as always, it drives me nuts that there is no way to get accurate information about how other retailers are doing, other than the opening and closing of stores....)
So, at some point over the next two or three years, I expect to start beating last year. Not by much, but a little. And then a long slow climb back up to my "goal." I don't know if we'll get to previous sales levels -- I suppose inflation will eventually get us there. But I'm only 20% from where I want to be, and I think I'll probably get there within a couple more years, maybe three years, maybe four....maybe.....
3 hours ago