This stuff is graupel.
For the past couple of weeks in Bend, we've been treated (using the word in a general sense) to occasional showers of graupel. Graupel is snow that takes the form of pellets. It is created when layers of rime accumulate around snow crystals.
In appearance, graupel resembles those small white plastic pellets that you'll find inside a beanbag chair, should you be unfashionable enough to still own a beanbag chair and foolish enough to cut it open. Graupel looks like hail and is easy to mistake for hail on first glance, but it's soft. You can tell graupel from hail when it's falling because graupel doesn't bounce.
I had never seen graupel before moving to Bend, and my reaction the first time I saw it was along the lines of: "What the fuck is THIS shit?!?" But after two and a half decades in Bend, I have lost the ability to be surprised by anything that falls from the sky. If flaming toads started falling from the sky in Bend it wouldn't surprise me.
Graupel almost never accumulates enough to cause any problems, so we take it in stride. It's just part of the ever-changing, never-ending pageant of suckiness that is Bend weather.
Postscript: Just drove home from taking Mrs. M's car to Les Schwab to get the studded tires taken off (another absurd aspect of life in Bend that I'll blog about someday) and rode through a pretty intense graupel storm. What's the verb to describe graupel coming down? Is it "graupeling," as in, "It's graupeling really hard now"? Does anybody know?