farewell bend all over again

Bend, Oregon, was originally called Farewell Bend. I'm not sure what the farewell part had to do with anything, and maybe it was dropped for seeming a little fatalistic or hopeless, but Bend is so named for a curve in the Deschutes river. The Deschutes is a hell of a river and it flows right through town, the Willamette of Bend as it were, only their river is fenced of for habitat restoration and it smells fresher than the mighty sewage infested Willamette. I'm pretty sure some legs of the river are meccas of Fly fishing and white water rafting, but in town there it's slow, flat, shallow, and meandering. And fenced off, like I said, but there is a small enclosed part where you can water your dog or throw sticks or balls in there for them to retrieve.

Scott moved there in late January I think, or maybe it was early January. He's enrolled at the community college there and trying to get his life onto some other tracks, tracks that don't follow the I5 corridor through the Willamette Valley, tracks that aren't poured in concrete infused with the legacy of our dad. I only spent a weekend there, but Bend seems full of these people-- sun chasers, snow dogs, sport climbing freaks, and desert animals. I just finished a book of Hunter Thompson's letters. Excuse me.

This is Pilot Butte, the extinct volcano visible from nearly everywhere in town. It's a steep flat cone, and one of three extinct volcanoes within city limits in the US. One of the others is Mt Tabor in Portland, and I believe the other is in Mississippi or something. I'm not doing any research for this post. From Pilot Butte you can see nearly every mountain of note in Oregon-- on this day a haze had settled over the city but we still saw all the sisters, Mt Jefferson, Mt Hood, the Smith Rocks, several Buttes (Black Butte included), and several southern formations, the names of which I don't recall. This guy was making a video opus of his Bend Vacation (as was I, though short any actual moving pictures), with rambling, barely intelligible, half baked narration throughout. Hmm, that seems familiar. Was that actually me standing up there?

The town doesn't stretch too far in any direction (except towards Redmond, which Scott explained as Bend without any of the charm, by which I think he meant it was all new mini-malls, sub developments, and flat sandy ground, where Bend has two Buttes, a river, and genuine culture), and though it is certainly one of those towns that fueled our recent real estate boom, I think the growth there was reasonable, and as long as they quit sometime when it was clear that it was time to fold the growth, I think the expansion seems sustainable. Three quarters of the buildings had the architectural markings of the 90's and 00's, but there were not rampant vacancies that I saw. Most the people that I met were not locals (except the people at the skatepark), so I think Bend was one city where the bubble was actually spurred by an explosion of immigrants. The only real-estate abortion that I really encountered was a closed golf course in Scott's neighborhood. It seemed like they closed the course to install more housing, but many houses remained unbuilt. Who ever is holding that land is probably sweating, but at least it's not from excessive water bills.

Scott getting air-born. One skater at the park, when he learned that I was visiting from Portland, was quick to point out that mine is the most depressed city in the US. I actually think that people in Bend are very aware of this distinction, but I don't know why. They all seem very happy to be where they are-- maybe they're cognizant of the fact that Portland is the cultural capital of the state and feel like Bend will have it's comeuppance once all the Portlanders of note suicide, which should happen any day now. I'm not sure. The Bend skatepark was built before they started hiring skaters to build the parks (think Dreamland or Grindline) and it's a pretty shitty park, but in my mind the worse the park the more fun it is. This one was over-run by razor scooters and high schoolers smashing Redbulls and cigarettes.
Scott and I were really cutting up at the park, speaking in insane voices and goofing off and not shredding to the maximum of our abilities. I, for one, am 27 and too old for that shit, and Scotty has been a part-timer his whole life, so board flipping grinding combinations were just off the table to begin with. Add the strange hangover but vitamin D surplus and the general gaiety that our meeting creates and you had general tomfoolery, we acting the fool. As we were leaving, a hooligan muttered, "later fags," and the scene remained foolish, with us threatening sodomy and quickly peeling away into the sunset. The dog had a bleeding face and I had to get him home to administer the antibiotics. We talked tough on the ride out, but the simple fact was that the hood in the parking lot had just invited trouble, which I still can't figure out. We were both larger than him, and while I've never been a bruiser I know Scott can tumble with the toughest of them. I guess he read that I was a peacenik and that that inclination would over-ride any wrath from my brother. That or a Redbull rage had over-come him, and he required violence no matter the consequences.


Daemon said...

This is great

Scort Vee said...

Thanks for coming out brosef. As always, it was a pleasure to see you.

John said...

I just want to add that Scott has a seriously classic regular footer style, skate-wise.