Hallelujah -- Bend has made another of those "Top 10" lists. This time it's NorthWest Crossing being hailed as one of the "Top 10 Cottage Neighborhoods" in America by Cottage Living magazine.
What's a "cottage neighborhood"? It's not exactly clear. But according to the magazine's website, the places on the Top 10 list are "communities [that] make us feel deep-down good. The kind of good that springs from inspiring design, from a sense of belonging, from taking care of ourselves and others, and from doing right by the environment. If you live in a cottage, you're probably already treading lightly on the planet. And if you live in a tight-knit community, chances are you belong."
In its description of NorthWest Crossing, the magazine burbles:
"People move to Bend, in Oregon's high desert, for outdoor action - limitless mountain biking and hiking trails, world-class fly-fishing streams, challenging golf courses, and skiing and snowboarding in the Cascade Mountains, closer to Bend than the average American's daily commute. So imagine also finding a neighborhood like NorthWest Crossing, where proximity to all those wonderful activities is matched by an equally healthy quality of life." (Ah yes, that famous "quality of life.")
"The mixed-use Traditional Neighborhood Design centers on a circular 5-acre park and retains many of the original ponderosa pines, giving it a lived-in feel. 'Everybody walks,' says Christi Haynes, who moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Bend 'for the lifestyle.'" (Ah yes, that famous "lifestyle.") "'And 'everybody says "Hi." I'll meet my girlfriends at NorthWest Crossing for lunch and they'll say, "No wonder you wanted to come here. You know everybody." It's true. I feel like I belong.'"
According to a press release put out by NorthWest Crossing, the development was picked "for putting smart growth principles above quick profits during the population boom of the early 2000s, and the neighborhood's commitment to creating a natural extension of Bend's west side. The magazine highlighted several other unique features including the integration of parks and schools, access to trails and public transportation and preservation of the area's mature ponderosa pines."
The Eye hauled out our trusty dictionary (well, actually we accessed it on line) and discovered that "cottage" is defined as "the dwelling of a farm laborer or small farmer" and "a usually small frame one-family house." A $700,000, 3,000-square-foot McMansion doesn't seem to fit that definition - nor does it seem to be "treading lightly on the planet."
In fairness, Cottage Living does say that for about $340,000 you can buy "a single-family cottage of 900 to 1,300 square feet" in NorthWest Crossing. To prove the point, it has a photo of two small houses sporting what appear to be faux thatched roofs.
And what the hell, if calling NorthWest Crossing - or anyplace else in Bend - a "cottage neighborhood" helps move some real estate, we can't complain.