For many years The EYE has been intrigued (and baffled) by the persistent claim that Bend has "300 days of sunshine a year." Where did it come from? How was that number arrived at?
We still haven't been able to answer those questions. But while poking around on the Web the other day we came across some interesting data that appear to call the claim (or maybe we should call it a myth?) into serious question.
The City Data website has exhaustive information about hundreds of American cities, including Bend. Among the information is data about climate factors - precipitation, humidity, snowfall, temperatures and, yes, sunshine.
Judging from City Data's "sunshine" chart for Bend, it hardly looks like we have 300 days a year that legitimately qualify as "sunny." In fact, if you go by the chart, Bend has substantially less sunshine on a percentage basis than the U.S. average for about 10 months out of the year - every month except July, August and part of September.
Klamath Falls - whose Chamber of Commerce also claims 300 days of sunshine a year - seems to have more legitimate bragging rights: The chart shows its sunshine percentage is equal to or above the U.S. average every month of the year, and far above it from April through September.
But what the hell, we're sunnier than Portland - although not all that much.