The tanking commercial real estate market in Bend has caught the attention of Calculated Risk, one of the world's most prominent finance and economics blogs.
Picking up on a story from The Bulletin, CR wrote on Thursday: "The office vacancy rate has doubled from last year and has almost tripled from the low in Q1 2007. ...
"This happened in many places across the country - demand for offices increased with the housing bubble, developers responded by building new office buildings (and industrial buildings, malls and hotels) and now demand is waning just as the new buildings are coming on line.
"The 'good news' in the [Bulletin] article is that 'little building is planned for 2009.' That is also happening everywhere, and while less building might be good news for building owners, it also means a significant decline in non-residential investment in 2009."
Just as interesting as the blog post itself were some of the comments, most of them not too kind to Bend. For example, "Jim" from Portland wrote:
"Poor Bend ...
"Not your typical Oregon town/region. The very worst of the gluttonous real estate developers and brokers, co-conspiring with a city council broken to the whip by the real estate folks and a local paper beholden to those same rapacious forces.
"Their prey were those, many retired, from places like southern CA, looking for a rural - but gaining sophistication - region backboned by recreation ... and 'the great outdoors.'
"The residential real estate situation is much worse than commercial. This could be the prototype for the hyper-hyped retirement/vacation 2nd home balloon - except the balloon grew into a Hindenburg.
"Oh, the humanity!"
Ah well. As Bessie Smith and many others since her have sung, nobody knows you when you're down and out. Or maybe they know you too well.