I was saddened to read the personal story about the closing of Santee Alley (Leaving Downtown: Contemplating the end of an era and a dream). It was just another reminder of how the economic downturn has battered the Bend-Redmond area, destroying too many dreams.
I'm doing what I can to help. Part of my job at Intel Corporation in Hillsboro is to spread the word about our commitment to environmental stewardship, so I manage a photo contest called "Oregon Naturally presented by Intel" that celebrates Oregon's natural beauty. I was delighted when JELD-WEN Communities stepped up to offer the prizes - including vacation stays of up to 5 nights at Brasada Ranch and Eagle Crest Resort. I hope our contest advertising is helping attract visitors and that our winners are spreading the word about Central Oregon.
For me, everything changes for the better when I come over Santiam Pass from the Portland area. That's why I bought a vacation condo at Eagle Crest about 5 years ago (thank goodness it was before prices went berserk). So I'm doing what I can.
When I'm here, even though things are tight for me, too, I make an effort to eat out at local restaurants. My visit this weekend I had a great burger and beer at Three Creeks Brewing Co. and pizza at Pizza Mondo on Wall. Next time I'm taking my family to try Chloe's. Sometimes I pick up bike stuff at Eurosports in Sisters and Hutch's in Bend.
The work of numerous wonderful Central Oregon artists fills my condo here, yet for some reason I keep getting more. I've even started getting my hair cut at the Bond Street Barber Shop in Bend.
Keep the faith, folks. This too shall pass. And what brought most of us here in the first place, the incredible mountains, the lifestyle, the great people, are still here. In the meantime, I'm doing what I can.
Bill MacKenzie, Hillsboro