Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Dark Underside of "Paradise"

One of the most cherished and assiduously promoted myths about Bend is that it is a wholesome place, an outdoorsy place, a place where folks are happy and friendly and crime is rare. "It's a great place to raise kids," people here are always saying, as if kids were a crop like alfalfa or corn that needs a particular set of conditions to grow.

Mayberry on the Deschutes.

As is usually the case with Bend, the reality is somewhat less rosy than the Chamber of Commerce hype. Some examples:

Yesterday police recovered a body believed to be that of Sandy Meyer, a 72-year-old woman who had been missing for more than a month. The body was in an underground utility box in the backyard of the home in a pleasant gated community in Southeast Bend where she had lived with her husband.

The body of the husband, John, had been found inside the home one week after he reported his wife missing. The cause of death was a gunshot wound. Police think it was a case of murder and suicide. There are rumors that the Meyers had financial problems and John had lost a considerable amount of money day-trading.

On April 14, Kipp Rusty Walker, 19, was singing and playing keyboard at an open mic night at Strictly Organic Coffee, a popular local youth hangout. Without warning he suddenly stood up, pulled out a knife and repeatedly stabbed himself in the chest. He was taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.

On April 8, the Oregon Medical Board suspended the license of prominent Bend gynecologist Dr. David Redwine for having sexual relations with a patient. The patient was Tami Sawyer, a former Bend real estate broker currently under federal indictment for assorted alleged fraudulent activities. She also was the defendant in a lawsuit brought by none other than Dr. David Redwine. (Yes, this really is a small town.)

 On April 7, Darrell Middlekauff, 48, was convicted of murdering his wife, Brenda. Brenda was reported missing in 2002; three years later, her body was discovered stuffed into a steel drum buried near the couple's home in southern Deschutes County. After murdering Brenda, Darrell was shacking up with a 17-year-old girl.

The point of this gruesome recital is not that Bend is a crime-infested hellhole. The point is that people  here are like people everywhere -- driven by lust, passion and greed to sometimes do horrible things. And if people are lustful, greedy and dishonest, moving to Bend won't change them. The pretty scenery and clean air will not bring about a magical transformation. As the old saying has it, "Wherever you go, there you are."

Even if you go to "paradise."

ADDENDUM: I forgot about this one ...

BEND, Ore. -- A shooting in central Oregon that left a Bend woman and her daughter dead, and seriously injured her 2-year-old boy, was a murder-suicide, police said.

Julie Angela Still, 39, shot and killed her 5-year-old daughter, wounded her son, and then turned a .22-caliber pistol on herself at their home last December, according to a Bend police report released Monday. 

More here.


Anonymous said...

Best time in 20 years to .... be a mental health professional.

Anonymous said...

"She also was the defendant in a lawsuit brought by none other than Dr. David Redwine. (Yes, this really is a small town.)"

I'm... I 'just', let it go...

Read about the coffee shop tragedy and thought briefly about linking it here ( but if readers 'live' there I guess they would already know? ) I'm a smart @ss and a blogger, but I'm not a SAB!

Bruce, over the years we'd read about any number of tragedies, "suicides" and all manner of -fraud- via the BendBubbleBlog. In fact, the area earned National attention for being the poster child for all that is "Ethically Challenged" during The Boom. Ben Jones ran endless articles about it.

To such an end, the wife and I have fairly determined finding a retirement haven that "doubles as a great investment property!" isn't even in the running. On the contrary, gravitating toward "the next undiscovered 'hot' spot" only seems to cement you'll be spending your golden years surrounded by opportunists and various riff-raff. Not our idea of a good time? IMHO

Anonymous said...

Wrong again, rotund one.

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H. Bruce Miller said...

Anon. 8:54: Wrong about what? How does some magazine article saying Central Oregon is a good place for hunting refute anything I said?

Buster: Welcome -- but be advised that, unlike Duncan, I won't allow you to post personal insults.

H. Bruce Miller said...

ROTFLMAO!!! The magazine story about what a great place Bend is for hunting repeats the same old "300 days of sunshine" lie. That's a good indication of how credible the rest of it is.

All these "best places to ... " magazine stories are just puff pieces paid for by the towns they're written about. I'd lay 100 to 1 the writer never even visited Bend, just took the bullshit PR fed to him and stuck his byline on it.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"You honestly think that if you wait long enough Bend will return to the non-existent past?"


Anonymous said...


Some recent, very high-quality research says that:

Happiest places have highest suicide rates

No conclusive reason as to WHY, but one can speculate:

"Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life. Those dark contrasts may in turn increase the risk of suicide. If humans are subject to mood swings, the lows of life may thus be most tolerable in an environment in which other humans are unhappy."

Professor Stephen Wu of Hamilton College said:

"This result is consistent with other research that shows that people judge their well-being in comparison to others around them. These types of comparison effects have also been shown with regards to income, unemployment, crime, and obesity."

It's worth reading the whole thing here:

Anonymous said...

My favorite statistic from Outdoor Life is their unemployment statistic.


Really. That's what they printed.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Interesting theory. Another possible explanation is that people in those "happy" places aren't really as happy as they say they are. Still another is that mental health care is less available to them, or that for cultural or other reasons they are less likely to seek it when they need it.

I am prone to depression (you never would've guessed it from my blog, eh?) and have been ever since I lived in New Jersey more than 30 years ago. In my experience, there is much more social pressure to appear "happy" and "positive" all the time on the West Coast than there is on the East Coast, and that pressure exacerbates depression.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Anon. 9:28: Yeah, they seem to have taken their statistics from 2006. Like I said, magazine articles like this are about as useful as "Baghdad Bob" as sources of information.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
I do support one notion of hawaii, it is as far as you can get from WASH-DC, and still be in the USA."

Geographically.., yes! ( Politically, you're in deep doo-doo ) HI never met an entitlement program it didn't like and there's only 1, {1} non-Dem rep. in the whole House! Very busy guy I understand. Upon his death I'm sure he'll be replaced and this will give us a window into the future under One Party Rule.

Knowing Blackdog is NO FAN of pol. jibber-jabber, I'll leave it at that. However, be advised, 'when' entertaining your retirement haven, these are factors that simply can't be ignored.

If ANYTHING, I see quite the opposite likely coming to fruition. HI's Sepratist Movement finally gaining traction to secede from the Union. And who needs to get caught up in that. See, and we did all that sans profanity?

H. Bruce Miller said...

"HI never met an entitlement program it didn't like and there's only 1, {1} non-Dem rep. in the whole House!"

Some of us would consider those assets. Would you rather live in some red-state shithole like Mississippi or Texas?

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Anonymous said...

I have never ruled OUT TX or MS! Been to both, stationed in Biloxi in the AF for almost a year. We got to see the good, the bad and not much 'ugly'.

Lots of friends and relatives there so I'll reserve insults. Here's what I have found: Many people on the Gulf Coast work under the table ( kind of like Oregon? ) They barter, work for cash and KEEP cash!

The irony comes in when they have a nat. disaster ( 'like' Katrina ) and then scream at the top of their lungs; "We pay our 'taxes'! Where's the gubmint support!?" So same as everyone, their cake and and eating it 'too'?

Might... want to do a little research on TX's political climate. While solidly GOP for years.., that's changing. Even while certain counties still vote GOP ( they're doing so by slimmer margins every election cycle.

See, they're pro-business. Tech co's LOVE that! So much so, they leave the uber-restrictive Bay Area behind and start roots in TX. Then ( predictably ) they bring their Liberal POLITICS with them! More cake/eating.

True, as a retiree, you won't have to confront many of those issues. But when the taxes-taxes-taxes on your 1,600 s/f lot ( to park your 1,200 s/f mfr. home ) keep going up-up-up, don't come crying to me. And this is exactly where... we're at. An epic struggle between public employees and a private sector that can no longer support -themselves- ( let alone anyone 'else'! )

BEEN to Singapore. Many times in fact. No Thanks. Spending my ret. years constantly fretting over an Oligarchy/Monarchy's whims ain't for me. I like to party. Assuming we remain stateside, any local municipality that has ALREADY outsourced/privatized the 'services' will rank high on our list. Who needs to be surrounded by 'dependent' Police/Fire/Teachers/Water Dept./DMV/You Name It that likely has a better pension than YOU ever will? And yes, Jim Rogers has more $$$'s than anyone else that posts here. We can track his trades without tracking his lifestyle. And stay off Boogie Street! ( Home of the Tranny-catalog ) Clifford Pier or the mall for me! Jurong Bird Park, Jazz. Sorry but the Sing gals aren't in the same LEAGUE w/ the bal. of the Orient.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"Go for it HBM, go to HI before you die in Bend, don't be like dunc and wait to die in Bend."

I believe Dunc will be quite happy to die in Bend. He's found his comfort zone and he's not leaving it. In a way I envy him for that. I think the happiest people are those who have a modest ambition and achieve it. Years ago I knew the woman who was the editor of the Burns Times-Herald. She grew up in Burns, and it had been her childhood ambition to become editor of the Burns Times-Herald. She achieved her ambition and she was happy. Dunc's ambition is to live in Bend and make his little shop a success. He's achieved it. Good for him.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"My wife is quite happy living in Mexico now playing author"

We had considered Mexico for retirement, but it's gotten too damn dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Sex trafficking in the U.S. called ‘epidemic’


It's not just 'Bend' that sucks, its a USA national thing, Bend is just an example of a failed State, and how the 'most beautiful people' try to move to this place, and destroy it, but essentially the problem of Bend is a USA problem. I have long predicted that the USA would turn to prostituting its children, as a way to fund its lifestyle and of course having no other way to earn money. My metric has always been to watch when the government decides to capitalize on all the children it has under its power (CSD). The veneer of civility is very thin, and the USA is an an insatiable beast.

Anonymous said...

HBM I hate to tell you this, but most of the USA is 'quite dangerous'.

So as in Mexico, ... there are pockets of 'art'.

The problem of Mexico is generic traveling is very dangerous.

Lastly let's not forget that the real problem of Mexico is NOT mexicans its the USA drug addiction, the USA folk are bored to death in a capitalist prison, the welfare state was designed in the 1950's to contain the blacks&mexicans, now after 3 generations you even have white-trash in places like Estacada(Orygun), all these welfare cycle folks need drugs to live their horrible lives. The USA has created a horrible problem for Mexico. Of course the mexican drug-lords are just capitalists in the USA sense of the word, the meanest toughest folk get the monopoly power to supply the USA its drug-need. The horrible murders that the media talks so much of are not different than what our soldiers or Israels are doing in the middle-east. It's just that the media doesn't show 24/7 photos of mutilated palestinians or Iraqi/Afghan children. The USA is the meanest kid on the block for oil, the mexican drug lords in power fight for the drug biz, and USA kills to keep the oil flowing with the USA dollar.
The biggest black-market in the world is oil, second is drugs, both use the US-DOLLAR for reserve. So long as USD is reserve then all is good for the 'beast'.

Mexicans are beautiful people, and in the future Mexico will be a BETTER place to live than the USA, and this is a fact. Once the USA quit's paying welfare the system collapses, then the drug dollars will stop flowing to USA. We only have to wait until the 'beast' is BendBroke(tm).

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Anonymous said...

Here is a problem that needs to be addressed. Bend Police dept should be cut in half.
I am serious. Our police have been turned into "meter maids". ALL THEY DO is write speeding tickets in a town that has RIDICULOUSLY low speed limits. We look like morons to the people in WA and CA having to slow down to 55 from 70 coming from another state. Compounding the problem is Bend;s speed limits which are merely an unlegislated tax. Our speed limits are STUPID as are the management of and the mis-allocation of resources regarding our police. Our police have nothing to do but to hide behind trees and bridges and harass the citizens of Bend. It is a total disgrace!