I'm trying to brace myself for another active summer of live music events. Not easy here. So I'll start by expressing my admiration for the local bands here that are making a concerted effort at demonstrating real talent, in spite of the Bend vibe. Coyote Willow, Honey Don't, Burning Moonlight, Moon Mountain Ramblers, Kim Kelley, Mai and Dave, etc. I could go on and on with the dedicated folks trying to make a go of it here. I appreciate all of you guys and sympathize with you when you are continuously met with the most undeserving, disrespectful people (I won't call it an audience) imaginable as you work your way through the local venues. I respect the resilience you must have to play in a midst of general ambivalence—typically intoxicated and/or otherwise unconscious people with their backs to you, oblivious to your music, and doing everything in their power to talk over the "noise from the band." Add to that the new-age parenting standard so prevalent here that makes it OK to drag restless, hyperactive kids (of all ages) to any free event and let them have their way, having switched them over to "auto." No, they're not "dancing to the music," they are blowing off steam and distracting lots of serious music lovers in the process. In other words, they are as oblivious to the musicians as you are.
So what's a real live music lover to do in Bend? Confine yourself to the Volcanic Theater, Domino Room, or the other handful of 21+ clubs that seem to feature pop/punk bands? Limit yourself to exorbitant fees to see good acts at Les Schwab, sans kids at least? Go to Eugene or Portland? It's unfortunate that those are the options and that more clubs, brewpubs, and promoters aren't providing a venue for all of this great local talent by creating a listener's environment in their places. Since it's clear that Bend's entitled millennial class is content to drive across town to the west side at the drop of a hat, bringing their noise (and noisy kids) no matter who's appearing, provide space where the listening audience can focus on, and communicate with, the artists. There will always be space left for the non-stop chatters and kids. Just not in front of the stage, high-jacking the event. And eventually you might surprise yourself with a place that promotes and honors talented artists. Not a bad reputation for a tourist town to have. As a town that prides itself in attracting more and more people (another issue), there will be a need to satisfy a growing number of folks who seek a more mature approach to entertainment.
And [all] we can do is wish.
—Anonymous Music Lover
KTVZ's reporting of the stabbing underneath the Franklin Bridge this week, and many other stories they report made very clear that the stabbing took place in Northeast Bend. However, what could amount to a matter of a few feet would have placed this unfortunate incident in Northwest Bend. Based on their track record, had the incident happened on the other side of the tracks they would have reported the incident as happening in "Bend," not NW Bend. The Bend Bulletin also reported the incident and they did not feel the need to differentiate between East and West Bend. Why must KTVZ always separate East Bend from West Bend?
Although Bend has grown over the years, we are not New York City identified by burrows or New Orleans divided by Parishes. We are Bend, Oregon, and we all strive for the common good that is the love for the outdoors, good neighbors, strong community and a belief that we give back to our community. My husband and I both volunteer in this community and we live in Northeast Bend. My husband and I, and so many of our neighbors, are professionals and business owners engaged in the community. Yet, KTVZ's reporting of all things Bend and all things East Bend tends to leave the majority of the Bend community feeling they somehow have chosen to live in a lesser community. I would like to point out that the majority of the registered voters in Bend live on the East side. We happily live in NE Bend and are becoming increasingly tired of KTVZ's reporting and the unnecessary divisions they seem to be infusing between East and West Bend.
Why not put the OSU campus where Mirror Pond is? Let the river run through it! And kill two birds with one stone! Not to mention the geese....
—Brian Joseph Mecey
This year, my husband and I decided to coach a lacrosse team for Bend Park and Rec (4th, 5th and 6th grade boys). Neither of us had even watched a game, but we decided to give it a try. And because we don't have kids, we have had no experience with the youth program.
We walked away in absolute awe of this program. Bend Park and Rec provided excellent training for coaches. Rich Ekman, the head of the program, constantly answered our questions and helped us to connect to resources and people.
The overall program was exceptionally well organized (can you imagine dealing with fields, equipment, coaches, parents and referees for 600 kids?). And the program was centered around ensuring that all games were both safe, fair, and fun for the kids. The program was focused on having kids participate, not on winning.
In addition, Bend Park and Rec uses high school students for referees. We thought this was amazing because for many of these youth, this was their first job. I can't think of a better way to encourage youth to take on responsibility and learn to make the "hard calls" of a referee.
As a community we are extremely lucky to have someone like Rich Ekman who uses his organizational and motivational talents to benefit our youth. Congratulations to Bend Park and Rec for yet another outstanding program. And a million thanks for Rich for his continuous support throughout the season.
These programs do an outstanding job not only at teaching kids how to play lacrosse, but moreover, how to be part of a team, work hard, focus, and communicate; all skills that will clearly serve them well later in life.