The Shire, the ill-fated, Tolkien-themed housing development on Bend's southeast side, has become a national symbol of the follies of the real estate bubble. Latest evidence: a mention in Harper's Index, the venerable monthly's compilation of interesting and quirky statistics.
In the October Index, Harper's notes: "Number of the sixteen lots in The Shire, a 'place of enchantment' in Oregon, that sold before the project failed in July: 1."
The notoriety of The Shire actually has gone international: "News of the Weird" has written about it, and even a newspaper in faraway New Zealand has picked it up. (The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in New Zealand, and the town of Hobbiton set was built on farmland there; today there are guided tours of the place.)
Right below the Harper's Index item about The Shire is this one: "Average percentage change in median home values when the proportion of same-sex couples nearby goes up by 1 percent: +9."
Maybe The Shire could have better luck marketing itself as a gay-oriented community. Hey, we've always wondered about the relationship between Frodo and Sam.