Saturday, April 10, 2010
Beauty Is Only Skin Deep, But Suckiness Goes Clear Down to the Bone
I've pretty much concentrated on the suckiness of the Bend climate, which is unfortunate because there are SO many, many other ways in which Bend truly, deeply and profoundly sucks. So today I'm going to focus on one of them: Bend's ugliness.
I know, I know -- all the tourist brochures and the Chamber of Commerce Web site brag about how beautiful it is. But take it from ol' Blackdog: The tales of Bend's beauty are almost as full of horsepuckey as the myth of "300 days of sunshine."
There's a lot of natural beauty in the mountains and the high desert around Bend, true. And there are a few pretty residential neighborhoods in town, such as the one near Mirror Pond, which is the place you always see pictured in the ads and brochures. (Incidentally, Mirror Pond is filling up with silt so fast that in a couple of years they'll have to rename it "Mirror Mud Flats," and the city doesn't have money to get it dredged.)
But much of the man-made environment in and around Bend, let's face it, is just plain butt-ugly. In fact, I can't remember another place I've seen that combines so much natural beauty with so much human-made ugliness.
Take 3rd Street, an unbroken string of strip malls, lube shops and franchise fast-food joints running right smack through the middle of Bend from its southern edge to its northern border.
Or take "the Costco District," a concentration of big-box retail stores and hideously ugly apartment buildings on Bend's northeast side.
Or take pretty much all of the east side of town, which offers scenic vistas of corrugated metal industrial buildings, car dealerships and rental storage places.
Or for that matter, as far as I'm concerned you can take all of Bend. Damn, it really sucks.