One tasting session at Brewfest just wasn't enough this year, so I went back for an extra night and double-dipped on that hoppy goodness. Thanks, Brewfest organizers and volunteers, for a mighty fine time. But I gotta say, the grinding club music is an odd fit. How about considering bringing in some local handcrafted music to go with those handcrafted brews? Maybe feature a stage with rotating performances of different kinds of tunes? Personally, I'd raise a mug for some boot-stomping bluegrass.
BEND: BIG ENOUGH!
In a world of ambivalence, semi-engaged citizens of Bend ponder the big picture issues. Why does the evil State of Oregon dare impose their "crazy" urban planning constraints (aka "urban growth boundary") on our avaricious Northwest Crossing and Eastside developers and our opportunistic Airbnb entrepreneurs/property owners? Why do our ill-prepared and clueless city council members continue to push the idea that Bend needs to accept, facilitate, and enable the projected 15-plus percent a year growth?
Fact is, given the finite land base, level of employment (or lack-thereof), infrastructure, and ability of local government to responsibility manage this community, Bend IS big enough! The incredible unrelenting influx of millennial migrants from the California Bay Area, Austin, Portland, and elsewhere and the omnipresent un/under-employed fun-seeking slackers, is quite frankly, unsustainable. As is the prospect of folks continuing to snap up cheap, Eastside suburban track houses or jam themselves into dormitory-like quarters elsewhere, equally unsustainable and undesirable. While the City focuses on creating the grand boulevard/freeway to the Eastside (Reed Market Road) to respond to the developers' demand, the remainder of Bend roads suffer neglect and crumble. I personally live on a dirt road with 14 houses on it, a half block from Wall Street in town, which is destined to stay that way. A neighborhood so insignificant and off the radar that the City recently claimed that it can't afford to place a "Dead End" sign on it. And a dead end it is!
Bend is NOT ready for prime time. Its government has demonstrated, repeatedly, that it can't handle the challenges of a town of 80,000, much less the horror show that is anticipated. Relax, stop, and smell the roses. Take care of what you've got.
ACCUMULATING LITTER ALONG BEND'S ROADWAYS
I love Bend, and I am so sad to see all the litter accumulating on our roadways and streets! As I drive and bike around town, and to work, I feel overwhelmed as garbage accumulates on the sides of our roads and the City of Bend does absolutely nothing...at least here on the east side. For example, has anyone else noticed all the trash strewn by the sides of the road on Highway 97 as you drive into Bend past Trader Joe's? What do tourists think as they enter our city from Redmond Airport? Have you pedaled your bike down Empire Boulevard toward Pine Nursery Park and seen the bushes sparkle with glass, plastic wrap, and various construction debris? We as a city need to take action, because our beautiful region is getting trashed as people scurry around trying to recoup their economic losses sustained after 2008. I celebrate economic recovery in Bend, but we need to balance it with taking care of our beautiful environment and resources. I propose a public awareness campaign spearheaded by the Source Weekly first raising community awareness by shining a bright light on the problem (cover story?), then discussing existing resources/city practices, and finally calling for corporate sponsors to mobilize citizen volunteers to rove, collect, and celebrate. Imagine the positive PR, enhanced community ownership of our streets and visible benefits of our collective action.
DONE WITH BICYCLISTS
Notice to bicyclists: I am so done with you. Pay attention that I said "notice," not "warning." You don't pay attention to warnings such as stop signs, yield, or general safety rules. You don't look. You don't signal. The only thing you do is what you damn well please to do. You have a nice, wide, safe bike lane to your right, yet you choose to exercise your right of way by riding in the vehicle lane. Or side by side by side with a couple of your pals.
Yesterday afternoon, my eggs, perishables, fragile items ended up in a mess on my floor board because I had to slam on my brakes to avoid missing you as you ran a stop sign. I'm tired of you going the wrong way, zipping, weaving, hitting an intersection, and making a hard turn into a crosswalk being a "pedestrian" despite the fact you are still a moving vehicle and going considerably faster than even a runner. You expect a motorist to react fast enough to miss you and get indignant about the screeching of brakes and horns.
Guess what. You get hit by a car and you will lose. There are consequences to careless, unthinking, rude, and scofflaw behavior.
I will watch with rapt attention the court case when you pull some crap like this and take out a pedestrian, causing injury to both of you, and you both sue each other. Be interesting to see who ends up having the superior "right of way."
A SHORT-SIGHTED RESPONSE TO PROGRESS
I'm a soon-to-be 65-year-old building contractor, here 38 years. I drive around quite a bit, between jobs, lumber yards, etc. What prompted me to write was four cars running the same red light on Third Street—not a care in the world. Happens all the time now.
Who are these people; where are they coming from that this is acceptable? No turn signals, 10 miles under the speed limit or 10 above. All very unaware and unfocused.
We're trying to turn a mill town, with mill town infrastructure, into a big, cool city. Traffic is already failing and frequently completely fails. Up till about three years ago, I was resigned but welcoming as long as you were good people. Now Visit Bend says that's not enough—we must attack the shoulder seasons.
And, now—you want to put a college on the west side. My word. I know of no one personally that doesn't want a four-year college; I know no one personally that wants it anywhere close to there.
I do not live in a bubble—I live in blue-collar land, where a lot of people can't afford to live here anymore, and this seems like another very short-sighted response to progress. In my opinion, do not put the college there—you will regret it and we all will suffer. I do this aware that I might be written off as just another pissed off old timer by the new masses. I wager, though, that three years from now, a lot of people moving here today, will agree.