Home Back Issues July 2011 Bend's economy is coming back to life

Bend's economy is coming back to life

| Print |  Email
Articles - July 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Article Index
Bend's economy is coming back to life
Page 2
Page 3: The spirit of invention
Page 4
Page 5: Innovations
Page 6
Page 7: The new austerity
Page 8: A way forward

 

The housing crash infected everything in Bend. Plummeting property values left everyone feeling poorer, and paralysis took hold. No local buyers emerged for businesses put up for sale, and the new owners moved operations out of town, eliminating more jobs.

“All these things came rolling in at once, one piece of bad news after another,” says Lee. “At the same time, we still had some companies holding their own.”

For Bend to recover from its three-year slide into the abyss, it will need more than companies holding their own. It will need companies capable of thriving independently, without dubious loans or short-lived subsidies. It will need savvy opportunists who understand how to develop new technologies, capitalize on trends, build on strengths and create jobs. It will need businesses that bring money into the region rather than relying on local spending.

Lee and his colleagues at EDCO are well aware of those needs. They reel off a list of companies poised to take off, and I recognize many of the names from my appointment calendar for the week. Lee says he talks with potential entrepreneurs considering a Bend startup about once a week on average.

“We’ve got a lot of early-stage companies getting into that next level and getting real customers and real revenue,” says Strobel. “It’s been exciting. It’s not 300 employees at any one place, but it’s six employees here, eight there.”

That strikes me as a good sign. The latest research about job creation indicates that the best strategy is to develop and support a wide variety of businesses with entrepreneurial flexibility. With the rise of cloud-based computing, great startups can be anywhere. Why not Bend? For all of Bend’s extreme growth and financial turmoil, it remains a stunningly beautiful place. That point hits home a few hours later as Shelly Hummel drives me across Bend’s west side, pointing out mountains and listing the many gorgeous spots I absolutely must explore while I’m in Bend. The client Hummel is showing around town this afternoon is moving here from the Bay Area at least partly because Bend made Outside’s list of best places to live.

Not long ago, Bend topped a more dubious list, as Global Insight’s most overvalued housing market in the nation. It was an ominous sign, but it was also a bit misleading. The simple formula of median income as a percentage of median housing price does not take into account the value of the rapids of the Deschutes River flowing through downtown, or the view of the Sisters, Smith Rock, Mount Jefferson and more from the many available homes in the west side. There are reasons why these lots sold for $300,000 to make room for million-dollar homes. There are also reasons why those homes were never built, and that buyers are upside-down on their mortgages.



 

Comments   

 
Kat Merrick
+1 #1 Bend Economy Coming back to LifeKat Merrick 2011-06-27 14:19:00
Thank you for your honest, critical evaluation of Bend's overblown speculative real estate market pre-2008. I was however, very disappointed that while you were able to id the historical damage caused by the speculation, you failed to notice or mention that the speculation is still going on.

Despite the recent crash in the market, and 1,000's of homes on the market in Bend the City of Bend is allowing the developers still standing to continue to clear natural land and lay infrastructure for additional homes - something this town clearly does not need. Northwest Crossing is currently the worst offender.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Puppie Woggins
-1 #2 EVERYTHING IS JUST FINE IN BEND, AS ALWAYSPuppie Woggins 2011-06-27 16:10:28
I don't know what this "Kat Merrick" (possible descendant of "ELEPHANT MAN" John Merrick) is talking about, because everything is JUST FINE IN BEND.

There never was a Bubble, and therefore there could have never been a crash. We all have reason for ETERNAL OPTIMISM here in Bend, because any GOD FEARING person knows, the only thing you need to prop up real estate prices is a RIVER. And possibly mountain views. And proximity to skiing. Jobs? Psh, that is so 2006.

There are some that call us CRACKED-OUT NARCISSISTS. Some call us CALI-BANGER MORONS. Some call us FART-SNIFFING DIP[blocked]S. And then there are some, possibly the worst of all, that call us some fourth thing. You know what I say to that?

Anyway. Bend is OK. As soon as we get past this little rough patch of DEVELOPER SUICIDES, IMPLODING BUSINESSES, and POSTAGE-STAMP SIZED SUBDIV'S THAT WILL NEVER BE BUILT AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE, well, we'll be just fine. JOPLIN-FINE as my grandpappy calls it.

I for one am glad that the bubble we never had brought cali-spankin speculators to this town. They done made it a much better place to live out my final years. Now they can tell me in person how they will change Bend into the last place they lived in Southern California, a place they despise, but still a place they feel the need to re-create here. Thank God for these Saints.

Frankly, this whole FINANCIAL CRISIS is really a blessing in DISGUST. Fer (yep, Fer) instance, now the entire town can forego the HARDSHIP of home ownership, and can eternally join the Rental Set, with parties every night, and only the occasional METH-FUELED GUN BATTLE to offend the eye.

Secondly, everyone is flat-ass broke. Ever-budee was getting pretty uppity, with their non-stop eating, feeding their kids and driving to work.

Third, people like working forever, and now since our munee is gone, we can all count on working forever, hopefully dying at work before they then run our corpse down the kitchen disposal at Mikkie Doogles.

Unemployment. Suicide. Landscape gashes instead of ugly trees & open areas.

THANK YOU CALIFORNIA! THANK YOU BEND CITY COUNSEL SELLOUTS! THANK YOU EDCO! THANK YOU COBA!

If this past decade has taught us nothing, it's taught us... Well, it is clear we haven't lurnt much. I just hope people see thru the MEDIA-FUELED HORROR, and open their eyes to the truth:

BEND IS ABOVE AVERAGE, ALL IT'S PEOPLE ARE FAR BETTER THAN AVERAGE, AND EVERYTHING WE'VE EVER DONE IS BETTER THAN AVERAGE. IN FACT, WE ARE BETTER THAN OURSELVES. IN FACT, WE ARE BETTER THAN THAT.

Now let's all get back to the business of WILDLY OVERMARKETING OURSELVES, cuz it seems clear from the consequences of the past, that it will do us nothing but good in the END.

P.S. Never was a bubble.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
LavaBear
0 #3 Where have all the locals gone?LavaBear 2011-06-27 18:19:47
It appears that every single business featured in this article is owned by people who have no historical ties to the area. People like myself who were raised here, bought residences before 'the boom', are highly educated and experienced, are rarely EVER recognized for their achievements. Starting a new business (not tech, retail or industry-relate d) is truly very difficult, with little community support. A lot of us have already been run out of our hometown, which by the way, was a much easier and enjoyable place to live in the '80s and early '90s before everything on two legs moved here. I miss the serenity we once had. I miss the affordability. I miss my friends who have been forced to move away. Developers have virtually erased our history and traditions and trampled Bend's natural spaces as they grow in every direction of town, like a spreading cancer. Maybe an article should be written about that, the REAL Bend, and interview the REAL people?
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #4 RE: Bend's economy is coming back to lifeGuest 2012-07-07 07:03:54
I used to live in Bend from the mid-70s to the early 80s. it's too bad what's happened but things in 1980 got really bad so I had to vacate and relocate. Most years I still visit Bend. In all the time I lived in Bend earning a living has been difficult at best. In recent visits, I don't see much change except for the massive highways that replaced that 2 lane roads. The main cause of employmenr is the restrictive land policies. It is difficult to impossible to create subdivisions in the Bend area.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

What I'm Reading

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kim Ierian, President of Concorde Career Colleges, and Deborah Edward, Executive Director of Business for Culture & the Arts, share their recent reads.


Read more...

Semiconductor purgatory

News
Monday, October 06, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.


Read more...

Report Card

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Strong public schools shore up the economy, survey respondents say. But local schools demonstrate lackluster performance.


Read more...

Knight Vision

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Travis Knight wants to release a movie a year. Can he pull it off?


Read more...

How to add positivity to your team

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 12, 2014
happy-seo-orlando-clientsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

I often talk about what leaders can do. What about followers? If you’re a team member and you’d like to add positivity to your team, what might you do?


Read more...

Books Rule

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JON BELL

Powell's stays relevant in the digital age.


Read more...

Constant Contact

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

To prevent burnout, companies are banning email and after-hours communications. But is the 24-hour workday here to stay?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS