The Old Timers Issue | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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The Old Timers Issue

A look back, to see forward

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Face it, if you moved to Bend after 1990, you are a newcomer.

There is a distinct before and after for Central Oregon's hub, a time before one out of five jobs were supporting the housing boom here, as realtors or construction workers, and a time before you needed all your fingers and toes to count the number of breweries in town.

In our Old Timers Issue, we take a moment to remember what Bend was like—with interviews with people who actually lived here and remember what was going on downtown, remember the dirt streets and rolling farm land, remember what residents did before logging miles of road biking and remember measuring their years by the number of days they spent on Mt. Bachelor.

In the 1930s, we are told there were three theaters downtown—the Liberty, the Capital and the Grand. In 1940, the Tower Theatre joined the lineup, and the town was jumping as a mill town and a military training center. But by the late 1970s, the lumber industry was drying up and, as former mayor Bob Woodward explains, "you could roll a bowing ball down Wall Street and not hit a car."

Bend was at a crossroads: It could have become a ghost town, a shell of its former glory. Instead, the 1970s were the calm before the storm, as hundreds of late century pioneers discovered that the town had unparalleled access to a world-class ski "hill," to rafting and kayaking and to country roads for cycling, precisely at the time two new industries were taking hold: mountain biking and craft brewing.

We are so grateful to present six snapshots of what Bend was like in the decades between 1930 and 1989.

Check out the full feature, including perspectives from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, HERE.

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