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.