A Community Thread: What does community mean to you?
Dan McGarigle: Long story short, where we—especially these days—we follow headlines, we turn on the news, we're bombarded by media from all over the world. I don't believe that those things actually affect us as much as the community around us—how we engage it, how it engages us. They say, Think globally, act locally. You know, you can paraphrase it anyway you want, but ultimately, the community that you keep is a huge influence on the quality of your life.
Bend's got a great community. Right now, it gets pushed and pulled on a little bit just because of growth and so many new people moving to town, but I really do believe that Bend still is one of the greatest communities in the country. It is as much intoxicating as the accessibility to the outdoors and the lifestyle. You can have those things, but if you've got a dysfunctional community or a community you choose not to participate in, you're missing out.
My mom was always heavily engaged in her profession, as far as health care and volunteering and being involved with community efforts and things along those lines. Seeing that as an example as a child, it really had a profound impact on me as far as who I am as an adult. I don't really think that the community I grew up in was as engaging and as active as the one in Bend, but taking that influence and bringing it with me and making that part of who I am—who Pine Mountain Sports is—that's only helped me live the life that I want to live. My mom gave me the tools, that when I did find the community I wanted to be involved with, to get in. To make an impact. To do the things you want to do. To not listen to the people who tell you No, you can't or Nobody does that.
ACT: Do you have thoughts regarding Bend's growth?
DM: I would tell you that I don't prescribe to it, personally. I don't understand it. These days things are so touchy and to tell people, Hey, you're from a certain area, you can't move here... that sounds like a big-picture thing we're hearing right now. That's not the community that I want to participate in and, more importantly, that's not the community that I'll ever believe that Bend is. Because, simply put, that's not me. That's not my friends. That's not something that I think Bend is or want it to be. You know, I was here first? Come on, that's like the lamest excuse in the world (laughs).
But I do understand where people are coming from. The direction that I share with people is that if you don't like the way that certain people are acting in the community or that you believe that the community is going, the only way to keep the community the way you want it to be is actually to be the community that you want it to be. And that means that we, as the people who want Bend to keep the character that it has—the small town feel, the expectations of one another, whether it's treat each other in a certain manner or participate at a certain level—it's up to us as every individual inside it to be that. If we choose to use other people's direction as ways to allow it to waver from our own, then that's on us. That's not somebody else's fault. That's on us for changing the way that we view the community that we live in.
What we preach as longstanding members of the community—as a small business, as the culture of the outdoor community here in Bend—is what people will follow. You have to believe that. Because you can't beat into people what you want them to be. That just doesn't work. And you can't think lesser of them because they aren't quite used to participating in a community like the one we envision. So, anytime I hear people complaining about the way that things are changing, my constant reminder to them is, Well then don't let it. Then represent what you want our community to be.
See and hear the entire interview at acommunitythread.com.
Joshua Langlais is a local photographer and the creator of "A Community Thread," a project for which he interviews folks on the subject of community, its importance, and how we function as individuals within it. This is an excerpt from his interview with Dan McGarigle, the humble, enthusiastic and ever-encouraging owner of Pine Mountain Sports, in June of 2017. While it's from the archives, its relevance to today is sobering.