Mike Hollern and Bill Smith, two of Bend's biggest developers, spoke before the City Club of Central Oregon last week. They predicted that Bend will have a population of 250,000 by the year 2050.
No, there aren't any extra zeroes in that number. It isn't a typo. It's 250,000. A quarter of a million.
That's greater than the population of Glendale, AZ, St. Petersburg, FL, Rochester, NY, Madison, WI, Baton Rouge, LA or Salt Lake City, UT, to name just a few.
It is more than three times the present population of Bend, which is hovering around 80,000.
What's going to cause the population of Bend to more than triple in the next 38 years? Well, Mr. Hollern and Mr. Smith were a little vague about that, at least according to the account in our local fishwrapper, The Bulletin. But one thing that Smith said sounded awfully familiar:
"'Quality of life is better here than in many other places,' Smith said. It's an area 'that is constantly being rediscovered' by tourists who visit to ski in the winter, stay at resorts and take in the area's natural resources in the summer."
Ah yes, that good old "quality of life." Wasn't that what all the local boosters back in 2006 or so were saying would insulate Bend from the real estate collapse that was happening in California, Vegas, Florida and other areas?
We were different from those places, they all said. We had a wonderful quality of life. A unique quality of life, even. Everybody wanted to live here.
I don't have to tell you again how that worked out.
And yet here we are, six years later, and the boosters are telling us again that not only is our fabulous quality of life going to pull us out of the current depression, but it's going to be the draw that triples our population in less than 40 years.
And people are listening to them.
Folks here are strange.
And now, for a review of last month's temperatures:
Comfortable Days: 0
Tolerable Days: 1
Cold Days: 28
Comfortable Days: 98
Tolerable Days: 60
Cold Days: 146