Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Making local habits a priority

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 2:48 PM

Taped to the register at Bend’s Workhouse in the Old Ironworks Art District is an old tea bag tag that says “Together we can do what we can never do alone.” Owner Cari Dolyniuk told me that this little nugget of wisdom sums up the way that she and the other three shop owners at Bend's Old Ironworks Art District approach their vision for the dynamic arts center they have created at the intersection of Colorado and Scott avenues. I visited their art mecca over two days last week to see for myself what can happen when a group of hard-working, retail-minded artists work together to establish an infrastructure that supports craft, fine art, creative innovation, and the local economy.

As I sat in Chad Fox's Cindercone Clay Center, throwing woodchips for his longhaired shaggy dog named "Bird," we talked about whether Bend is ready to embrace a new model for art retail and production at a time when some fine art galleries struggle to keep their doors open. “This is definitely something Bend needs; especially at the rate we're growing," he said. "This could potentially be something that thrives and becomes something as society and culture as a whole changes.”

At this point, pretty much everyone in America knows that it's better—for the economy, for the environment, for families, for your soul—to shop local. Sometimes things like convenience and ignorance stand in our way of making sound retail choices. But when I saw the huge scope of items for sale in the Old Ironworks District—everything from vintage-inspired swimwear at Stuart Breidenstein's shop Stuart's of Bend, to moon-faced incense burners at Cindercone, to upcycled jewelry at Workhouse—I realized that the neighborhood offers much more than fine art galleries and gift shops. The folks who work and sell in the Old Ironworks District are dedicating themselves to craft and handiwork by creating quality goods that people can use and enjoy for years.
  • Tambi Lane

Brendstein said, “It’s up to us to make useful things too, for artists and crafters to not just make cool gifts that get set aside.” He and the other shop owners—Dolyniuk, Fox, and Armature's Tambi Lane—want to see their growing art colony manufacture quality goods that are capable of turning around the economy, both for artists and for the greater local economy. It makes sense when you realize that a dollar spent supporting a local artist stays in the Bend economy; the artists themselves are local-minded folks and are more than likely to turn around and spend that money in the neighborhood too. 

Bend is at a crucial moment that is both exciting (for those of us who moved here from someplace else) and unsettling (for the born-and-raised Bendites) as the city's population booms and industries take off. We have the opportunity to play a role in the shaping of our city's identity. Bend is internationally known as a place for beer, cycling, outdoor adventuring—why not work to make our fair city an art town too? Places like Sante Fe, NM and Jerome, AZ have built entire tourism industries around buying local art. Couldn't we use our dollars to vote for the kind of culture and economy we want our city to generate?

Next time you're getting a coffee and pastry fix at Sparrow, take some time to check out the shops in the industrial brick buildings just across the courtyard. You'll be supporting local craft and the idea that Bend is a place where innovative, arty, weird, and cooperative ideas can thrive. 
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Monday, June 2, 2014

Hate Your Job? You're Not Alone

Posted By on Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM


Once upon a time in my '20s, when I was complaining to my mother about a soul-less retail job, she offered this completely depressing reminder: "Everyone hates their job." While that may no longer be true for me, I get that I'm one of the lucky ones. So, if you woke up on this Monday morning channeling Nancy Kerrigan ("Why me?"), the New York Times has an interesting column exploring what it is about that J-O-B that makes you want to stay in B-E-D.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

City Council Revisits Downtown Building Heights, Approves Limited Variance for First Reading

Posted By on Thu, Sep 5, 2013 at 12:36 AM

The lot adjacent to bend Brewing Company remains empty due to lack of developer interest. Property owners say a height variance would give them more options. Source Weekly file photo.
  • The lot adjacent to bend Brewing Company remains empty due to lack of developer interest. Property owners say a height variance would give them more options. Source Weekly file photo.

"Oregonians hate two things," Councilor Victor Chudowsky said, referencing a quote from former Metro Executive Officer Mike Burton that appeared in National Geographic magazine. "They hate sprawl. And they hate density."

It was a fitting summation of a lengthy debate over a proposal to reinstitute the prohibition on height variances on the west side of Brooks Street between Franklin Avenue and Newport Avenue.

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Riverside/Galveston/Tumalo Closure Sparks Safety, Business Concerns

Posted By on Thu, Sep 5, 2013 at 12:34 AM

Residents says drivers arent following the intended detour. Image via City of Bend.
  • Residents says drivers aren't following the intended detour. Image via City of Bend.

The intersection at Northwest Riverside Boulevard, Galveston Avenue, and Northwest Tumalo Avenue is only two days into a two month construction closure, but area residents and business owners are already over it.

At the Sept. 4 Bend City Council meeting, the visitor's section was filled with concerns about the project's impact. Among the chief concerns: Increased traffic on State Street, pedestrian safety, limited access to Galveston Avenue businesses, and a lack of advance notice for those in the effected neighborhoods.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Best Deal on Craigslist > Bend

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 3:39 PM

This was posted today on Bend's craigslist site.

Best views in Central Oregon.
  • Best views in Central Oregon.

Okay. In review $60,000 gets you: a store, a boat-rental business (10 row boats, three pedal boats, dock, and inventory), your own spot on Three Creeks Lake. Oh, and some of the best (and most secluded) views in Central Oregon. Porch overlooking the lake and Tam Rim? No big deal...
I'm currently in talks with our publisher, trying to convince him that the Source needs this building as a "writer's retreat." If, however, the Source is unable to find the resources to buy this gem, I hope it goes to someone with vision. This is a wonderful Central Oregon asset.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

T-Mobile: Economic Promise and Reality in Redmond

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 12:31 AM

When Redmond leaders announced roughly eight years ago that they landed T-Mobile’s call center and more than 300 jobs with it with a combination of tax breaks, cheap land and labor, it was an economic development coup on par with Prineville’s wooing of Facebook, or at least it seemed like it in the pre-social media age. I recall then-Governor Ted Kulongoski choppering into the Redmond airport for the ceremonial ribbing cutting.

Less than a decade later, and a sea change in the cell phone business, T-Mobile is pulling up stakes in Redmond and several other areas around the country as it seeks to regroup in the cutthroat cell phone world where it has been relegated to an also-ran in the line of U.S. carriers. Earlier this year, AT&T pulled the plug on a deal to merge the two companies after federal regulators scrutinized the deal.

In all T-Mobile is closing 7 of its 24 call centers nationwide and laying off roughly 3,300 full and part time employees, including 363 in Redmond. While T-Mobile assures that it will be hiring many of those associates back in coming months and years when it finishes “restructuring” they won’t be clocking in at Redmond. Those jobs will be added at the remaining call centers, and no doubt, at entry level wages.


Read the city of Redmond’s response here:


REDMOND OR – T Mobile USA informed city of Redmond officials today of their plan to close their Redmond based call center, in addition to several other call centers nationwide at the end of June.  The T Mobile call center is one of Redmond’s top 5 largest employers, and this closure will directly impact the 363 employees currently working at the Redmond facility.

T-Mobile also informed city of Redmond officials that most of those affected will have the option to transfer to jobs at remaining call centers in other states, including Tennessee, South Carolina and Maine. T-Mobile said it will be hiring for 1,400 positions at the facilities to remain open. There will be a net loss of 1,900 positions as a result of the company-wide consolidation. Employees still working at the Redmond call center when it closes will receive career coaching, severance and two months of paid health care coverage, T-Mobile said.

“They’ve been a good corporate citizen and have provided job opportunities for many people living in our city and in the surrounding cities,” states David Brandt, Redmond City Manager.  “While the closure will not directly impact the city’s general budget, the decision will be particularly difficult for many of our families, particularly those who have both the husband and wife working there.”

 “While this is difficult news for the Redmond community and our hearts go out to the 363 people that work at T Mobile, EDCO and REDI have seen activity swell for new business prospects and several in this industry,” remarks Jon Stark, Manger of Redmond Economic Development Inc.  “The existing turnkey facility and the current available workforce are assets to help leverage these prospects in Redmond direction.”  The city of Redmond will continue to work closely REDI and EDCO to identify potential leads and to get this employment and building vacancy filled as soon as possible.

T-Mobile opened up in Redmond in 2005 due to the City’s recruitment efforts and Enterprise Zone program.  “We are obviously very disappointed in learning of T-Mobile’s closure and the resulting layoffs in our community.  However, we will continue to work towards providing programs and policies that are attractive to businesses and creating jobs in Redmond”, notes Redmond’s Community Development Director, Heather Richards. 

“This is obviously a set-back for our community’s economic recovery, but Redmond is resilient and we will get through this,” remarked Brandt. 


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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Storms still on economic horizon

Legislature must deal with $340 million shortfall.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 8, 2012 at 11:30 PM

In case there was any doubt, officials released an economic forecast today predicting more storms on the horizon.

Even as economic indicators show Oregon’s economy is slowly growing, the state said today that job creation still remains “glacial,” according to the forecast from the state’s Office of Economic Analysis.

That means a number of things for state officials and for you.

For starters, lawmakers currently in session in Salem, will have $35 million less to work with than they thought they would. Most of Oregon’s revenues are generated by income taxes and when unemployment is high, revenues are low.

In the weeks leading up to the session, which began Feb. 1, elected officials estimated they would have to deal with a $100 to $300 budget shortfall because of low tax revenue.

The news out today showed that state revenues will be even less than expected, bringing the current budget hole legislators must patch to $340 million, according to the report.

Legislators are likely to have to cut state programs further to deal with that gap, said officials from Central Oregon prior to the session.

For average Oregonians, this could mean reduced access to state services. It also means that housing prices are likely to remain low and that jobs will continue to be scarce at least for the near term, according to the report.




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