Tuesday, May 27, 2008

As Others See Us

It's always fun to see how people from The Great Outside perceive little old Bend, Ory-gun, so The Eye decided to pass on some observations

Posted By on Tue, May 27, 2008 at 2:30 PM

It's always fun to see how people from The Great Outside perceive little old Bend, Ory-gun, so The Eye decided to pass on some observations made by blogger Jim Tankersley of the Baltimore Sun, who was here to cover Barack Obama's appearance on May 10:


"Central Oregon doesn't see many presidential candidates, particularly Democrats, which perhaps explains why a rocking high school crowd this weekend let Barack Obama get away with a cardinal sin around these parts: Expressing a desire to move in.

"Twenty years ago, Bend was a sleepy little cowboy town that doubled as a jumping-off point for some of America's best skiing (Mt. Bachelor), rafting (the Deschutes River) and backpacking (the Cascade Range). Then the yuppies discovered it and realized they could live a short drive away from all those things. Some came from Portland three hours north, some from California. Most brought money, which fueled a huge wave of building and sent housing prices soaring. The newcomers and some city annexations served to quadruple the town's population over two decades.

"And so, when the Obama campaign and the national press descended on Bend this weekend and marveled at the crisp air, the sagebrush smells and the snow-capped mountain views, the general, only half-joking response from the local press was, yes, it's a great place. But you'd hate living here. Please, please don't move here."

(The Eye strongly suspects it was the juniper, not the sagebrush, that Tankersley was smelling. But we couldn't expect a Baltimore boy to know the difference.)

"Obama took multiple opportunities to admire his surroundings. 'You guys have some pretty real estate out here,' he said at the beginning of his speech at Summit High School, a fairly new building that serves a side of town that barely existed in the mid-1990s. 'I'd like to stick around. Who's going to teach me fishing?'

"The crowd cheered its approval. Somewhere, we're sure, some native Central Oregonians grumbled."

Maybe - but the realtors were jumping up and down with glee.

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