Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bend's Newest Business Plan: Flip & Strip.

OK, just when I think Costa has woke up & smelled the homeless, he puts out something like this:

Where all the jobs have gone

By Jeff McDonald / The Bulletin
Published: June 28. 2009 4:00AM PST

The meteoric rise and fall of Deschutes County’s unemployment rate has garnered national headlines as a prototypical boom and bust story, but what lies behind the county’s unemployment rate increase of 12 percentage points from May 2007 to May 2009?

Where have all the jobs gone? And how will the region look when it recovers?

Many companies reported difficulties finding employees in May 2007, when Deschutes County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.7 percent.

Now, with an unemployment rate of 16.7 percent reported last week in the county and rates of 16.4 percent in Jefferson County and 20.9 percent in Crook County, employers report an abundance of labor with companies slashing wages and jobs, unemployment rates at all-time highs and job-seekers going to great lengths to find work.

Experts who study the region’s labor trends agree that the region’s housing market and construction activity became overheated during the boom years between 2004 and 2006.

“I don’t know what we’re shifting to, but when you look at that loss in (mining, logging and construction) jobs in just the last two years, it is safe to say the development-based economy has slowed,” said Carolyn Eagan, the region’s economist for the Oregon Employment Department.

“The county and city of Bend (have) had to cut staff, engineering firms are operating on bare-bones staff and many Realtors are not renewing their licenses,” Eagan said. “I don’t know what we’re shifting to. I don’t think we’ll know until it’s happened.”

The collapse of the housing industry has resulted in a net loss of 3,050 jobs in the county’s mining, logging and construction sector from May 2007 to May 2009, a 36.2 percent drop, according to the Oregon Employment Department. Most of that sector is construction, according to the department.

The county has 4,860 fewer jobs overall than it did in May 2007, the department said.

Other sectors where job losses were reported included manufacturing; professional and business services; and trade, transportation and utilities. They lost 910 jobs, 530 jobs and 710 jobs over the two-year period, respectively.

Individual industries such as high-tech and biosciences, which are smaller in size, are grouped under larger sectors such as manufacturing or professional services, depending on whether they produce a product or conduct research or provide services, for example, according to the Employment Department.

Professional and business services jobs range from those in law offices and architectural firms to employment and janitorial services. The trade, transportation and utilities sector includes retail and wholesale businesses, as well as private utility companies and private transportation companies.

Educational and health services jobs were up by 400, and leisure and hospitality jobs by 240, from May 2007 to May 2009, according to the data.

Those sectors demonstrated growth, but at a milder pace than during the boom years, the department said.

Over the same two-year period, there were 360 government jobs added in Deschutes County.

In May 2007, there were 67,120 jobs, 8.7 percent more than May 2009, according to a report last week from the Employment Department. The county peaked in total employment with 73,510 jobs in June 2007.

Job losses alone do not explain the state and county’s record-high unemployment totals, Eagan said.

The civilian labor force — which includes anyone 16 and older who either has a job or is looking for work — has been growing in the county and statewide despite fewer jobs available, according to the Employment Department.

More people are postponing retirement and staying in the work force, and second-wage income earners such as spouses who previously didn’t work and retirees are re-entering the work force. Additionally, more people are continuing their job search longer than they would normally without finding work, Eagan said.

Unemployment trends

Oregon’s 12.4 percent unemployment rate is the second-highest in the nation, behind only Michigan, which had a 14.1 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report issued June 19.

The Midwestern state, which has been decimated by the loss of auto industry-related jobs, has seen its civilian labor force shrink from 4.97 million in April 2007 to 4.78 million in April 2008, according to the state’s labor Web site.

Meanwhile, Oregon’s civilian labor force grew from 1.91 million to nearly 2 million over the same time period, according to the state’s employment Web site.

The collapse of the housing market — one part of the asset bubble that also included stocks, retirement savings and other investments — also contributed to the rise in the civilian labor force in Oregon and other Western states, said Timothy Duy, adjunct professor of economics at the University of Oregon.

People who were living off their assets, particularly in a resort community like Central Oregon, were forced to go back to work when they saw their houses and other investments lose value last year, said Duy, who follows the region closely and authors the quarterly Central Oregon Business Index.

“As assets became increasingly impaired and foreclosures started rising, the labor force started (increasing) quickly,” Duy said. “That started a process where the unemployment rate started spiking.”

Mounting job losses also contributed to the rising unemployment rate, which spiked nearly 10 percentage points over the past 12 months — from 7 percent to 16.7 percent, Duy said. Both trends, an increasing number of people who had lost equity in their homes and money in investments, and an increasing number of people who lost their jobs, increased the rate of unemployment, he said.

The county is on track this year — with 1,661 notices of default through Wednesday — to easily surpass the record 1,928 notices of default filed in 2008, but notices appear to have peaked in April. A notice of default is the first step in the foreclosure process but doesn’t always result in bank repossession.

While the unemployment rate could still go higher in coming months, the high unemployment numbers are more of a lagging indicator for the region, a fallout from the overheated housing economy, said Roger Lee, executive director of Economic Development for Central Oregon, which promotes development in the region.

“It cannot be overstated that while it is definitely a painful process, there is a purpose to the business cycle,” he said. “We’d like to have it a lot less deep and prolonged, but we’re seeing people get lean and mean.”

Hardest hit

Construction and manufacturing have been hard hit throughout the region, accounting for roughly half the region’s unemployed workers, but several industries, while battered, are still holding their own, Lee said.

Lane Lehrke, 42, who moved to Bend in 2003 with his wife and two children, bought a home and worked for a local builder as a production manager until October, when he was laid off due to lack of work. He had owned his own company in Oregon City before he joined the Bend builder.

But Lehrke has not been able to find work in the construction field, despite sending out résumés to five different Western states and online sites, he said.

“I have put in résumés in lots of places,” Lehrke said. “I have gotten a lot of nonresponses. Very rarely do I get a response.”

Lehrke, while collecting unemployment, still makes $400 monthly payments to pay for the cost of his builder’s license, insurance and bonding, he said.

“I’ve got some opportunities in the fall,” he said, referring to potential jobs in Portland. “A lot of it has to do with stimulus funding.”

What comes out of the current trough in the business cycle will depend upon how much the county diversifies its employment base, said Lee.

Construction was 11.7 percent of the total work force in May 2007, and is 8 percent today, according to the Employment Department. Manufacturing, meanwhile, was 7.7 percent of the work force in May 2007, and is 6.9 percent today.

“This place is not tanking,” Lee said. “There are indicators of economic activity still going on here.”

The economy needs more diversity, but is not on a tipping point like it was in the 1980s, Lee said.

That was when the region’s mills were crippled by changing forest policies and the area began to rebuild its economy, he said.

“There are a lot of examples in the West where the change in forest policy decimated those areas,” he said. “Central Oregon has done a decent job, but we still need to do better in targeting industries that have promise.”

The region needs to target companies in knowledge-based industries such as renewable energy, software and medical device manufacturing, he said. Global competition is fierce in recruiting “green” companies, which provide top wages and heavy capital investment, Lee said.

Central Oregon has been competitive in its recruiting efforts for those types of companies, Lee said, citing more affordable land in the region, a ready work force and quality of life. Lee expects to find companies that are the right size for the region, possibly landing suppliers for Portland’s growing green manufacturing base.

Companies such as Bend-based dog apparel manufacturer Ruff Wear and Warm Springs Composite Products, which both ship products overseas, are faring well. Others that have been hit hard by the national recession, such as Madras-based manufacturer Bright Wood and Contact Industries in Prineville, are retooling and will eventually provide jobs in Jefferson and Crook counties, Lee said.

“With very few exceptions, these are very sophisticated wood products manufacturing companies,” Lee said. “They will be back with those kinds of jobs. Our challenge is to diversify with other types of jobs.”

OK, without looking, was the title:




Right. The first one implies jobs that are gone. The second implies that the jobs are "still there", they are just hanging out somewhere smoking cigg's or something.

Very sleezy writing, and something I guarantee Costa jumped in to change. Sooooo... the first is a more appropriate title, but of course it is the second that was actually used. You can tell, because the writer uses the obviously "correct" title in his second paragraph:

You find, of course, there is no answer to either.


So it is a STATEMENT, not a question. And it appears that the answer is NOWHERE. They're just gone. They aren't hiding somewhere, waiting to be found.

You gotta love these softball pieces, where the reader is treated like they are 5 yrs old.

Where have all the jobs gone? And how will the region look when it recovers?

Here's the real answer: Most of that employment near the peak was FAUX JOBS & FAKE BUSINESSES, 100% fake and unneeded and unsustainable jobs, businesses that never had a chance.

Building houses no one wanted. Mortgage brokers hired, apprasiers for falsified appraisals. And all the "multiplier" jobs: All the jobs & businesses that were spawned from a credit-fabricated bubble, to feed demand that had no basis in reality.

Those jobs are gone. And the "multiplier" jobs; the coffee shack purchases, the Jamba Juices, the oil changes and all the other stuff that "fuels" those faux jobs will soon be gone too.

Remember the local business index that the Bully used to print? Well, one of the most out-of-control pieces of that index was the Help Wanted ad count.

Over the course of just a few years, it went from 1-2,000 to something like 12,000!

THAT was the bubble. Well, at least it showed the jobs bubble that happened here. We should have known FULL WELL something was wrong when we saw that stat.

But we didn't despite have sharp as nails local experts making the following observations:

Experts who study the region’s labor trends agree that the region’s housing market and construction activity became overheated during the boom years between 2004 and 2006.


Do you think so, Costa?

Funny. In this sentence, it starts out regarding experts studying the "region's labor trends", and ends up with a conclusion about our "overheated" construction market.

Standard bamboozling bullshit.

And what's great is although we are promised some sort of insight into what the area will morph into, the piece never delivers:

I don’t know what we’re shifting to, but when you look at that loss in (mining, logging and construction) jobs in just the last two years, it is safe to say the development-based economy has slowed,” said Carolyn Eagan, the region’s economist for the Oregon Employment Department.

I don’t know what we’re shifting to. I don’t think we’ll know until it’s happened.

Is this one of the "EXPERTS", Costa? Seriously.

She is really going out on a ledge here, with such forward-looking statements as: is safe to say the development-based economy has slowed

Dang. I guess maye she looked over at the sidebar and saw the following stat:

Mining, logging and construction 8,420 to 5,370 (jobs) — Down 36.2%

Nice touch. The strangely globbed together industries of mining, logging and construction has LOST ONE THIRD of it's job base, and THE EXPERT has made the observation that THE DEVELOPMENT BASED PORTION OF OUR ECONOMY HAS SLOWED.

Never "shrunk". Not "lost". No, no. Slowed.

Q: "Dude, are you feeling better after that motorcycle accident where you lost your fucking arms and legs?"

A: "Fuck dude, I didn't LOSE anything! They were just slowed!"

Q: "Dude, did you also become retarded?"

So, needless to say there is a ton of Costa-fueled double-talk in this piece. But there are also outright contradictions of earlier "assertions":

The collapse of the housing market — one part of the asset bubble that also included stocks, retirement savings and other investments — also contributed to the rise in the civilian labor force in Oregon and other Western states, said Timothy Duy, adjunct professor of economics at the University of Oregon.

People who were living off their assets, particularly in a resort community like Central Oregon, were forced to go back to work when they saw their houses and other investments lose value last year, said Duy, who follows the region closely and authors the quarterly Central Oregon Business Index.

Remember, way back when, we were told repeatedly that BECAUSE Cent OR had such a huge Asset-Rich retirement base, that we were essentially IMMUNE to unemployment anymore?

Uh huh. All those IDLE MILLIONAIRES just stuffing westside houses, didn't need to work, or do anything but cycle all day, and get their cocks sucked all night by their best friends wife, while Bledsoe swallowed donkey cum buckets.

Welp, all of a sudden those motha fuckas need money, and are starting to take jobs at McDonalds.

These are the WAKE UP AND SMELL REALITY Cali-banger dumbfucks who thought they'd come here and never work another fucking second in their lives... dead ass broke.

THAT is who is UNEMPLOYED, that is what's come outta the fucking woodwork. Costa told us we'd all ride a magic carpet of affluence FOREVER cuz these motherfuckers would never stop CUMMING here, and showering us with BILLIONS.

Yeah, these fuckers are BROKE.

Finally, we get Roger Lee's take, who basically says it was over months ago, and it's great that it happened:

While the unemployment rate could still go higher in coming months, the high unemployment numbers are more of a lagging indicator for the region, a fallout from the overheated housing economy, said Roger Lee, executive director of Economic Development for Central Oregon, which promotes development in the region.

“It cannot be overstated that while it is definitely a painful process, there is a purpose to the business cycle,” he said. “We’d like to have it a lot less deep and prolonged, but we’re seeing people get lean and mean.”

It's all good with Lee. His mother could get her head cut off in a fucking car wreck, and Lee would spin that shit as something she really needed to happen anyway. Yeah, she gettin' "lean and mean", right Roger?

OK, enough about the Bully's non-stop bullshit machine. Not much to say about this next nugg, but man it hurts:

Graph of US Housing Equity

Woof, that is a hideous hit to US net worth, down from $12.5 trillion or so, to below $7.5T and still falling. Keep in mind that is a 57 year chart.

If you extrapolate out some sort of bottoming process, it could easily go on for 15-20 years.

And that's just "stabilizing": We'll NEVER hit the peak values of 2006 in our LIFETIMES.

Couple this with NAR, who continues to try to make the salad days appear by reinstating practices that caused this mess to begin with:

Real Estate Associations Want Appraisers To Inflate Home Prices

The housing is still struggling because appraisers are being too tough assessing the value of homes.

That's the self-serving argument being made by realtors who are complaining that lower appraisal values of homes are delaying deals, ruining sales and prolonging the housing crisis.

Appraisal fraud was an enormous contributor to the unsustainable run up in prices during the boom period. Many (but not all) mortgage brokers and realtors referred buyers to appraisers that ALWAYS hit the number of the home purchase price

Now, NAR and other real estate lobbying groups, who are trying to maintain stay in business despite the total destruction of their market, are mobilizing a major effort to reach out to Congress and housing officials.

As NAR economist Lawrence Yun said earlier this week, "Lenders are using appraisers who may not be familiar with a neighborhood, or who compare traditional homes with distressed and discounted sales." Instead, Yun and his bunch want appraisers who won't be too tough. As Yun puts it, "There is danger of a delayed housing market recovery and a further rise in foreclosures if the appraisal problems are not quickly corrected."

And what about the RIDICULOUSLY LUCRATIVE easy-life of local moving companies? Well, they are finally getting their comeuppance!

Housing, unemployment woes leave movers shaken

Sinking home prices and a weak job market have forced normally restless Americans to stay put in an uncharacteristic shift that has, among other things, clobbered the moving industry.

Yeah, basically the moving trade is imploding. But still we need local Government bureaucrats to save us from these sleezy fuckers, who are barely holding on by their fingernails:

'Sting' targets unlicensed movers, so you're not stung

You can read the piece direct, but the comments tell of the outrage over such bullshit:

Native Oregonian says:
2 days ago, 04:19:51 PM
"When I was a kid my brothers and I made money by doing yardwork for neighbors, babysitting, having kool-aide stands, washing cars. and doing housework for neighbors. I suppose most of the above would now require bonding, licensing, permitting, liability insurance, etc. Thankfully, we were never sued and all our "clients" seemed happy with the work we did and even tipped us sometimes.

Yes, all these monstrous state agencies are supposed to "protect" the consumer but they just create more out-of-control spending government with perks and pers. A claim against a contractor needs to go through a long process and even when the contractor is licensed and bonded, if he (she) files bankruptcy, your claim could be released in the process regardless of their bonding.

Oregon Construction Contractors Board allows the licensed contractor 6 months to pay a judgement or settlement agreement before a bonding company is involved if they fail to pay. Oregon licensed contractors can appeal the decision and again this takes months. Who pays for any necessary immediate repairs?

So, do you think this highly over-regulated state will pay your claim? Nada. Many bonds are for $10K and if you as a homeowner get a judgement over the bonded amount, all you are left with is a piece of paper that you likely will not collect on, over the bonded amount of money.

I tried to find someone to do some weeding for me this summer. Every licensed landscaper, or yard worker wanted from $40-$67 HOURLY. They explained that was because of the high cost of the state requirements for licensing. I did not use them.

Did all the people working at Cessna that are unemployed or soon to be unemployed make that much money? I personally would hire an unlicensed mover, yard worker or babysitter any time I could and use my own resources to determine if I feel they are qualified and honest to complete the job properly.

As for my weeding, I found a very dependable, responsible, hard-working and honest person that quickly completed the work I needed done. I paid him $25 an hour and he was not licensed. I am very pleased with his work and more pleased that he is not licensed.

Guest says:
2 days ago, 04:50:15 PM
"Let this be a very important lesson to all you kids out there running those lemonade stands in front of your house,,, If someone say`s "we`re here to help you" RUN !!!!

Guest says:
Yesterday, 04:16:23 PM
"wow that is lame. hurting the little man trying to make a buck! everyone involved in this should be ashamed and apply for work out of the country, karma is a bitch!

There were 18 vehicles caught in this "sting". How many got tickets?

In Thursday's sting, there were 18 vehicle-related violations issued and one was placed out of service for safety violations.

Fucking ODOT scumbags, and they used cops as their THUGS.

This is a bunch of rag-tag, broke ass broke down and out workaday bastards who are just trying to do something to put food on the table, and ODOT hands out tickets to each & every one.

They raise the SPECTRE of unlicensed BANDITS stealing your shit on a meth-fueled, gun toting bender, when that is 100% UNADULTERATED BULLSHIT. These poor fuckers can barely afford to pay attention.

And that's where this thing is going: Vultures stripping the meat off damn near dead carcasses. Cops & ODOT stripping the poor, NAR wants to steal from new homebuyers by inflating the bubble anew.

Everybody in strip-N-flip mode.

hbm, will you please flip and strip me?

Dunc, do you have paper or plastic for my comics?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Bedrock Of The Oregon Economy? Wishful Thinking.

Well, Summer is here & it's a truly glorious time to be in Bend!

Seriously! I don't know about you guys, but I am all about soaking up local fun stuff with the fam over the Summer. It's almost always some sort of "no-pay" non-Cali-banger chillax activity, costing at most $5 to park in some forest parking lot somewhere.

And it's sure as hell hard to write this blog. I'm being pulled to go for a walk in the cool morning air right now. Plus, things seem to go well in Bend over the Summer.

I think that'll change this Summer though.

Unemployment is coming out for Bend this week, and if it's anything like the State figures, it should be just awful.

Go to the OL-reliable OLMIS spreadsheet for State unemployment, and you'll see the 12.4% ADJUSTED rate for May was the highest on record, squeezing out the previous all-time high set in Jan 1983 of 12.0%.

The more-important unadjusted rate of 13.4% set in that same month, still stands as the record.

But we're getting there. We're still #2 in the nation, trailing only Michigan.

Which is pretty unbelievable. When you think of Michigan, you think of ---?

Right. Michigan has a single dominating industry that is kicking it's ass. Everyone knows what it is, and KNOWS that it is the one thing dragging down the WHOLE STATE.

But Oregon? What single industry "drag" do we have?

Is it tech? Well, sorta. RE? Yeah, sorta. The last gasping breaths of timber? Hmmm... maybe.

No, it just seems like Oregon AS A WHOLE, is just falling apart. This whole state is just reverting to it's mean.

And this may not be the WHOLE REASON, but it seems to me to spring primarily from one cause: Deluded narcissistic exceptionalism.

People here think their shit don't stink.

Everyone knows Mountain Comfort is going down the toilet. But still, the owner DeeDee Keith insists on sticking $1,000 SALE tags on plain-jane crap furniture.

She's going down, but she is still running insipid ads non-stop on KTVZ.

She's going down, but would rather PR-Market her way into oblivion, rather than cut prices.

She thinks her SHIT don't stink. And that if she pushes hard enough, she can convince you to buy her shit.

She went cracker-ass broke on Apr 14, but just a few months back, dished up a self-serving turd in the Bully, who was only to glad to oblige:

Divine downtown

DeeDee Keith jokes that she always promised Karma, her dog, that some day she would get them a better place to live.

And boy did she deliver, going from living out of a trailer at a KOA campground to becoming a successful Bend businesswomen.

... after a few years, Keith outgrew her leased spaces, so it made sense to her that when a large, prime piece of property on Wall Street became available, she would buy it.

And she did, explaining it this way: “I was young and dumb, but I had a good business plan.”

Keith was anything but dumb. She not only expanded her business, she also oversaw the construction and design of the new Mountain Comfort building from the ground up.

And speaking of up, this is where Keith made good on her promise to her dog.

She built up, as in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom luxury rooftop condominium above her store.

Taking the store elevator to the third floor, the elevator doors slide open and the Mediterranean-style design of the floor begins to emerge. The first doorway you pass is Keith’s manager’s condo, and between this condo and her condo door is a complete workout facility with an elliptical machine, treadmill and several weight machines. Keith explains this is where she alleviates some of her workday stress. Across from the workout area is a window door that leads to the outside deck facing Pilot Butte. This is Karma’s domain, where the builder constructed a 50-yard dog run and barking station. At the end of the run is a large, custom-built doghouse for the faithful dog.

The whole piece is just endless self-serving tripe. Standard Cali-Banger bullshit. Someone who just thinks they are God's Gift.

And about 6 months later, it was all gone. The TAINT of the Bend Bully PR AIDS strikes again.

Here's another Shit Don't Stink piece from the Oregonian:

Portland-area retailers try to retool leases

In fall 2008 when Storables' Fischer realized how the recession was hitting his newest store in Mesa, Ariz. -- where sinking home values and consumer confidence had tanked early on -- he tried to set up talks with his landlord, a mall operator he said already was struggling to pay for an expansion.

By January, when Fischer started trying to meet with landlords, he already was late to the game. Many of the larger tenants already had begun talks. Adding to the logjam, he said, larger chains such as Williams-Sonoma, Chico's and Anthropologie often start with more favorable leases tied to sales or whether certain neighbors stick around.

"It's the big national tenants, not the regional or small local, that can really work that," said Fischer, adding that one of his landlords told him that having an empty space was better financially than offering lower rates.

A drop-off in rents, Fischer said he was told, could leave a lender wondering about the value of the landlord's building. Such a scenario could trigger a review that could mean the landlord has to make up the difference to the bank.

WTF? So these landlords & lenders are in this game of chicken regarding pie-in-the-sky lease rates. They would actually rather have their space EMPTY, than a paying tenant.

The grass is greener thinking. Always jam tomorrow, NEVER TODAY.

This is just psychotic, yet widespread thinking. Hold out for $2.50 a foot, even though vacancies are 90%.

The thinking is, "I KNOW I could have gotten $2.50 a foot a few years ago, and the value of this building imputed at that rate is $X million, but if I were to actually take $1 foot, it would be $X/3 million, and since I owe $2X million, I can't take $1/ft or the bank will come after me".

So everyone in this weird fucking state is in state of suspended animation, always believing in some Pollyanna, dumbshit dream that TOMORROW WILL BE A BETTER DAY.

Always. Seriously, look at this headline from TODAYS Bully:

Summer is finally here — will the tourists come now?
Prospects for Central Oregon could be worse - July especially should see more visitors - but don’t expect a record-breaker

On the heels of an abysmal winter season, Central Oregon’s tourism industry is hoping for a boost in business during its ever-important summer season.

That could come from a range of events planned for July, as well as from perceptions of a rebounding economy, but tourism officials still don’t expect a full recovery or at least stabilization until at least 2010.

Earlier projections of a 25 percent drop in tourism this summer have softened somewhat, but most lodging operators still expect to be down from last summer, Audette said.

She expects the region’s resort properties to do well this summer because they offer the feel of a vacation getaway while still being a short drive from the Seattle and Portland markets.

Look at just how much HOPE & DREAMING there is in there. The whole piece is just hopeful bullshit. Bend is NOTHING but smoke, mirrors, and illusion. You can NEVER count on anything to be real. Here's a dreamscape excerpt, included in almost every Bully article EVER WRITTEN:

Room-tax collections are the most reliable indicators of the health of the tourism industry, which is estimated to have a $571 million annual impact on Central Oregon’s economy.

100% BULLSHIT. That $571 mill is 100% MADE UP. But it is printed damn near every day in the Bully. Why? Cuz this place is Kool-Aid crackerland.

DeeDee Keith PR-Marketing her store into oblivion, rather than just cutting price.

Portland commercial landlords & banks playing cat & mouse so that some effemeral and 100% FAKE building valuation can be hit with lease rates that aren't even being collected.

Bob Thomas filing appeals to keep open a dealership because he thinks he's entitled.

Roger Lee & Alana Audette lying day-in and day-out about how important they are to Central Oregon, and the City of Bend (you & me) are actually FUNDING THEIR BULLSHIT.

There's a fundamental thread here: Oregon cultivates DREAMERS.

Now this is great when things are going OK. Even dreamers have their place on the upswing.

But man, on the downswing, they do All The Wrong Shit. The HOLD OUT, when they should BAIL OUT. They don't know when to say WHEN. They don't know when to STOP THE BULLSHIT.

Audette STILL claims $571 mill in tourism, DESPITE THE FACT that even SHE ADMITS tourism is DOWN DOUBLE DIGITS.

"Yes, room rates are DOWN 25% YoY, but that $571 mill figure I 100% MADE UP last year STILL STANDS, YOU DUMBFUCKS!"

Roger Lee, same deal. EDCO has "helped" land blah-hundred jobs, bringing in blah-many-millions to the Cent OR economy. 100% UNADULTERATED BULLSHIT.

This fucking place is run by RETARDS. Pie-in-the-fucking-sky idiots. The whole fucking state is that way, it's just especially severe in Central Oregon.

And we're seeing the upshot. #2 in unemployment.

Can't really narrow down the cause... until you realize it is just general self-delusion.

OK, I can't let it go this week without a total reprint of the NYTimes piece on the CRACKAGE OF BEND. It's the only way I can circumvent the comment posting limits.

This is such a great piece, because it addresses something KNOWN to Cent OR locals for many moons: Cali-Bangers are the root cause of ALL EVIL.

What sweet fucking redemption to have a NYTimes piece that essentially blames these equity locust motherfuckers for ALL OUR ILLS.

Slump Dashes Oregon Dreams of Californians

BEND, Ore. — Susan and Mike Telford had a plan back in the boom years in California. They would sell their house outside Fresno at a solid profit and take their equity to this sunny mountain city to build a better life, a fresh-air future in Oregon.

“We wanted to lose the commute, to lose the smog,” Mrs. Telford said. “We wanted to lose California.”

They moved here in 2006, when Bend was one of the fastest-growing places in the West and money and migration from California fueled that growth. Now the Bend area’s unemployment rate, at almost 16 percent, is one of the highest of any metropolitan area in the nation. “For sale” signs dot desert-toned, unfinished subdivisions. Luxury furniture stores downtown are going out of business. San Francisco chefs have fled.

The freefall has made Bend a succinct symbol for the economic perils of “lifestyle destinations” in the so-called New West, recreation-heavy communities where jobs have been heavily tilted toward construction and services and where many of the new residents were self-made exiles from California cashing in on their overpriced real estate. Bend, a former timber town that now has 80,000 residents, was particularly popular among those drawn to the often rainy Northwest because it is located on the sunny side of the Cascade Range.

Now the Californians who contributed to Oregon’s growth are in some cases adding to its economic struggle. As of May, Oregon had the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation, at 12.4 percent, behind Michigan. California, which has not released its May figures, ranked fifth in April.

While some other states with high unemployment, including Michigan, have seen their labor forces shrink, Oregon’s labor force has grown. Economists say some of the growth appears to be driven by people who moved here with money they made in California, whether from real estate or stock market investments, and expected to get by but now must look for work.

“It’s just so depressing to hear them because they thought they had life handled and they don’t,” said Bobbie Faust, an employment counselor who works for the state in Bend.

The Telfords are among those facing trouble. They had presumed they would be able to sell their house in Fresno for more than $300,000 to help pay the mortgage on the new house they bought near the Deschutes River in Bend for $475,000. But the Fresno house has yet to sell, and Mrs. Telford, an accountant, has lost a series of jobs at small firms here that she said had downsized. The couple’s only income now comes from her unemployment checks and her husband’s salary as a high school teacher.

“The cash flow is negative,” Mrs. Telford said. “This will be the first time we’ve had to go into savings.”

Not all of the newcomers are from California, of course. Lost equity, lost jobs and the possibility of foreclosure also threaten people who moved here from just across the Cascade Range, on the wetter western side of Oregon, as well as some from Seattle or the East. Measuring California’s economic impact on Oregon and its struggles is difficult, and economists say that Oregon, which has less than a tenth of the population of California, has not always been directly affected by its neighbor’s fortunes.

Still, just as other places in the West have blamed California transplants for treading heavily into town, the words “California equity” roll off many tongues here in Deschutes County with particular resentment these days.

“California immigrants can never win in Oregon,” said Philip J. Romero, an economist who has advised governors in both states. “In a boom, ‘They are crowding the roads and bidding up house prices.’ In a bust, it’s: ‘They alone caused the price of my house to drop by hundreds of thousands of dollars. They came up here without a job, and now we can’t absorb them and they’re competing for my job.’ ”

Carolyn Eagan, a regional economist for the Oregon Employment Department, pointed to federal data showing that the overall percentage of personal income from dividends, investments and rental income in Deschutes County was almost 26 percent in 2007, the latest year for which data were available. Compared with an overall state rate of slightly less than 21 percent, the figures suggest that people here, more than elsewhere, have relied on income from sources other than a steady job.

“Shhh,” Biff Ingels, a transplant of four years, standing outside the main job counseling center here, said when asked where he had lived before. “California,” he said in a whisper.

A cultural shift appears to be under way. One of Bend’s leading restaurants had been Merenda, whose chef, Jody Denton, came from San Francisco in 2002. Under mounting debt, Mr. Denton closed the restaurant in January and left for a job in Australia. Several people involved with the restaurant before it closed have reopened it under a new name, 900 Wall, its street address. The menu has been recast from mostly French and Italian cuisine so that it now incorporates more ingredients from the Northwest and has slightly more approachable pricing.

“We’re trying to present ourselves as a local restaurant,” said Cliff Eslinger, the executive chef. “We’d relied far too heavily on outside forces.”

Another casualty was Bend Living, a glossy regional magazine driven by advertisements for high-end homes and luxury furniture. Kevin Max, the magazine’s former editor, is planning the first issue of a new magazine about Oregon culture and history, based in Bend and set to make its debut this summer. It is called “1859,” a reference to the year Oregon entered the union.

“Bend Living was about Bend’s emergence into 24-7, go-go-go, irresponsible construction and people living beyond their means,” Mr. Max said. “1859 is kind of National Geographic meets Condé Nast Traveler. It’s about Oregon, so it’s all about sustainability.”

Locally, sustainability is a challenge. Bend’s job market has not proved diverse enough or deep enough to provide jobs for the newcomers who suddenly need them. “Poverty with a view” is how many people describe Bend before the boom. Economists say the city’s sudden abundance of investment income and housing equity from newcomers made Bend seem more secure than it was. While experienced people like Mrs. Telford, the accountant from Fresno, struggle to find work, there are longer term questions over how the area will support its newest residents.

Zachary Lauritzen, a student teacher at Summit High School, on Bend’s west side — the side some residents call “Little California” — said he was teaching a lesson in government when the topic prompted him to ask how many students had lived in California.

“Half of them raised their hands,” Mr. Lauritzen said.

Buster, please uncurl from fetal position, leave LaPine, and come back!

hbm, I been saving special titty-fuck for you so long!

tim, please thwack my nipples for bad apostrophe usage!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Bend is in a depression..." -- Bob Thomas

Well, there you have it, folks.

Reputable business man telling a house subcommittee, and then printed in our local rag:


Wow. THAT makes it official. Although, we've been saying that for over a year.

I thought that was pretty stunning, to hear someone say that, much less have the Bully print it.

And not to belabor the point, and in case you've been in a cave for 2 years, the CAUSE of our current DEPRESSION is the REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY. Pure and simple, endlessly promoted and pumped and dumped on us, it was the real estate bubble, and it's inevitable collapse that is THE CAUSE of our current problems.

I feel like I have to say this sort of thing, because it's starting to spread & manifest itself in all sorts of collateral effects. Like Bob Thomas losing his dealership.

Almost any industry fueled by credit is getting it's ass waxed.

So you might think we're suffering a "credit bust", which we are, but it's primary vehicle for expansion was RE. We're not in a Depression because of zero down car deals.

The rest of the article about Thomas is standard self-serving tripe, standard issue when the Bully does it's usual BS. Even Greg Walden hops on the bandwagon, questioning the "wisdom" of closing ANY dealerships.

I just have 2 observations about this:

1) I still DO NOT understand why Gary Gruner in Madras is still alive.

I would have guessed they'd be The First GM dealership closed in Cent OR, GM bankruptcy or not. Gary Gruner? WTF?

2) Driving around auto row, and Bob Thomas' lots, there are NO CARS for sale in Cent OR.

Well, not "NO CARS", but a hell of a lot less than there were just a year ago. You could go to auto row on the East side, and see a ridiculous number of cars over there. THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS.

That was one of those businesses that was so irrational, I simply could not understand how any of those dealers survived. There are STILL too many.

And that doesn't count the innumerable used car dealers, whose numbers are now being swelled by new car dealers losing their franchises & joining their ranks.

I think you'll see a winnowing in the numbers of dealers, especially on auto row. There is just a ridiculous number of them. And the number of cars sold has already plunged, probably far worse than most people think. Ask Bob Thomas.

Proably the most amazing piece I've read since this whole RE Implosion began, is a piece posted in the comments by PopGoesBend. Excerpts:

Median home prices drop below 1989 levels in some parts of Southland

Properties in several areas are selling for less than they did 20 years ago, and that's not even counting the effects of inflation.

John A. Beatrice, 55, bought his spacious two-story Spanish-style house there brand-new for $120,000 in 1989.
But he never imagined his neighborhood would drop off the charts. In April, a slightly larger home two doors away sold for $66,500.

That's just over half the $130,000 it went for new in 1992. In 2005, that house sold for $330,000. 14 Southland ZIP Codes, mainly desert communities in the Antelope Valley and Inland Empire, median prices have fallen below levels recorded in April 1989, according to MDA DataQuick, a San Diego real estate information service.

That means thousands of homes in those neighborhoods -- even houses barely 20 years old and in decent shape -- have lost every dime of their appreciation, giving back not just the gains of the recent bubble but steady increases logged over a generation.

The April median price in Beatrice's Lancaster ZIP Code of 93535, for example, was $87,000. That's down 74% from a $334,500 peak price in 2007.

Even worse was the 92410 ZIP Code in the city of San Bernardino, which covers several older neighborhoods. Its $61,000 April median represents an 84% drop from the peak of $370,000 in 2007.

Prices also tumbled below 1989 levels in neighborhoods in Palmdale, Hemet, Barstow, Desert Hot Springs, Victorville, Highland, Santa Ana and Oxnard, according to DataQuick.

Several other inland communities, including parts of Moreno Valley, Banning and Rialto, had median prices that were only slightly above 1989 levels and below the April 1990 median.

I always thought that Cali-Bangers would take it the hardest. The California Miracle was just that; a mirage, a figment, a dream.

I honestly had no idea where Palmdale was, and come to find it is in the barely commutable quasi-desert outskirts of LA's Northern suburbs, if you can call living 2-3hrs from LA in gridlocked traffic a "suburb".

Sound familiar? Out in the fucking desert? 2-3 hours from any real metro area?

Although I was sort of surprised about Oxnard having fallen below 1989 levels. What the fuck is next? Santa Barbara?

I wouldn't give a handful of my own shit for a house in cracker-ass Victorville. But Oxnard? I've been there, and it was OK. Ocean's just right there. Oxnard falling below 1989 levels is pretty strange.

And it's happening elsewhere, including the central valley:

Back to the future home prices

Real estate bargain hunters in Stockton can buy property for less than the sticker price of a Cadillac Escalade in today's market.

San Joaquin County real estate listings contain at least two dozen homes priced less than $50,000 and at least one as low as $15,900. These are prices not seen in California since the 1970s, a decade in which home prices climbed from $23,000 to $84,000.

The 1,300-square-foot house is priced at $15,900, a 92 percent discount from what property records show as a $180,000 selling price in August 2005.

My main takeaway on this piece is NOTHING IS SACRED. "Rationality" least of all. Prices staying above some price point that "makes sense" is 100% Grade AAA Bullshit.

Prices can AND WILL go to INSANE price levels. Prices will slice right through the "Rental Arbitrage Point" like a hot knife through butter. People will start questioning EVERYTHING when all sorts of "logical" arguments start to fall.

You'll soon be able to BUY A HOUSE IN BEND FOR LESS THAN THE RENT. Why?

Because "prices" are always based on CREDIT. Credit is valuing a STREAM OF MONEY, NOT A PILE OF IT. Credit is "If I give you this PILE OF MONEY, you will give me 360 payments of $X EVERY MONTH".

THAT is what's going away. Not for everyone, but for a hell of a lot of people. THAT is the "rational assumption" that will fail. No CREDIT means people will go back to paying for stuff with PILES OF MONEY, not streams. And there ain't much money left.

For now.

I think, FOR NOW, the primary economic theme is DEFLATION.

But our government is altering the natural course of things by throwing TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS at an essentially stagnant economy.

Not today, but soon, there will come a day of STAGFLATION. And it will boggle the mind. Money in this country will be worth nothing.

Houses probably WILL go up at that point. Well, at least compared to holding cash. Better to have your cash in some shack losing 5%/yr, than in the bank losing 15%. A 5% LOSS will actually feel like a good deal. People will treat cash like Ebola.

But not now. But folks, watch the dollar, and watch long government bonds.

The dollar index, after a long plummet from 120 in 2002, fell to as low as 70 last year. It had a dead-cat rally to 90, but has now fallen back to the high 70's. The World is getting nervous about the Obama Jeebus Printing Press.

Similarly, 30 year government bonds, declared DEAD a few years back when the US Gov't was never going to borrow money again (man, that never gets old), has fallen from it recent EUPHORIA DEFLATION FUELED all-time highs over 140 (My God!), clear back to pre-panic prices, around 115.

I would watch this. The dollar has long been signaling an incredible devaluation in our currency. But luckily, the Chinese & others have seen these losses counter-balanced by recent huge gains in treasury prices.

At least till recently. Now the double whammy of declining dollar and treasury pricing could cause a Worldwide credit panic, as the US has to print its way out of bankruptcy.

And that means STAGFLATION.

Portland is finally starting to really hurt in the current RE Depression. There were some good pieces recently.

Stalled Portland luxury development shows depths of recession

(Tom) Moyer's four decades of empire building smacked into a wreck of a recession April 10, when he halted construction on his $170 million Park Avenue West tower.

That morning, Moyer paid 100 workers in the pit spiked with rebar. On Wednesday, the final three workers climbed out of the hole for the last time.

Commercial lending has gone net negative.

I thought that graph was interesting. Lenders have gone net negative on commercial RE, taking more out in payments than they are lending. Again, the whole concept of STREAMS OF MONEY, is dying.

In another piece, we see that residential in Portland is also moribund:

Portland housing market still gloomy

Portland-area home owners continued to weather a gloomy market in May, another sign that talk of a economic recovery is premature for the region's housing market.

The Regional Multiple Listing Service reported today that the median price for homes sold in May was $250,000. That's down 13 percent from May 2008 and 17 percent from the August 2007 peak.

But the number of closed sales in May lagged last year by 23 percent. Pending sales, seen as a predictor of future closed sales, was down 7 percent from a year ago.

The inventory of unsold homes -- the time it would take to sell all homes on the market at the current sales paces -- dipped, but remains high at 10 months.

Portland is actually holding up pretty well since it does have... stuff. Unlike Bend, which only has RE, and nothing else.

Folks, don't believe the calls of a "RE-bound", and "we've GOT TO have hit bottom, it can't go any lower!", and such. We've heard both ad nauseum from RE "experts" (Bratton, DuBois, et al) quoted in the Bully going on 2 years.

It CAN go lower, and it WILL go lower.

Look at the price reductions in the cracker-ass middle of the desert in Cali: DOWN 90%+!

I don't think we'll see that, but 75-80% DOWN from the top is VERY POSSIBLE.

I mean, Holy Shit, we had $396,000 MEDIANS for the love of Christ! We're in the middle of ASS NOWHERE!

We'll hit $125K medians. If you DO CARE about capital preservation, and can tolerate renting, DO SO. Do it for 5-10 years. You will be able to make good money in 5-10 years from now.

Work, pile up your money, and shoot your wad in a few years. You'll have to pay cash, or nearly all cash, but there will be good money to be made.

NOT in cap-app. NO. RE isn't going to "go up" in any appreciable manner for 2 decades. BUT you can get a cash-flow positive shit-shack, that pays you a few hundred every month, and that will KILL what you could get elsewhere.

Finally...Any hbm sightings recently? Is he actually gone? Was the coincidental exodus of he & Brucey part of a Mormon love triangle?
hbm, come back! With you gone, there is no one to twist our nipples!
Look! In the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's hbm!
hbm, please come back! My leather bras have shrunk to just B-cup! I need you!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

This Blog Better Have 800 Comments This Week, Or I'm Shutting It Down!

Oh geez.

The pre-occupation with comment counts is rearing it's ugly head... again. People are starting to make comparison parrellels with Bend RE and such. Funny.

I wouldn't look for those days to happen again. The high water mark was 1,076 on Sept 6, 2008, a time just after being mentioned on, when traffic spiked massively. Also I think there was much traffic from googlers searching for "Britney Spears Naked", or something right around that time. Then the Google's shutoff.

Oh well.

I'm not running this rock for comments numbers: It's primarily to have a no-holds barred, 100% unmoderated discussion about Bend RE & Business, although there isn't much off-limits, and in a similar vein, it's to expose ridiculously biased Bend media reporting.

If I accomplish those 2 things to some extent, I'm good. Plus, I like it. It's my sort of "thing". If "My Thing" was to manifest itself in truck form, it'd look like this:
The Official BB2 Milk Truck.

I don't know this dude, but a guy who builds a drag strip, then puts an 825hp noise-maker under the hood of a POS milk truck, and then just sits and burns slicks all day, is fucking All Right With Me.

That shit is Awesome! Kenny Clouse, 65, is out in Alfalfa tearing the shit outta a racetrack he built himself. That is just kick ass. I salute you Kenny, you're the kind of people Cent OR NEEDS.

Some interesting stuff in the Oregonian this week. FIrst, the whole Biomass Fuel Dream is Dead. Not "dying", it's dead.

The Biomass Ponzi Scheme is something that was a variant on the Perpetual Motion Machine. Only in Bend does Perpetual Motion Still Fly, with Bully pieces like:

These sorts of things happen every so often, when Arab Shieks think their shit don't stink. In Bend they are just moronic as hell. That "Powered by Innovation" piece was a deceptively titled piece (funny how that happens) about the REDMOND ALBERT EINSTEIN who dragged a car tie behind his car to generate electricity.

Ironically, the Oregonian is running a piece on the collapse of the Biomass Energy Bubble, a mere 18 months or so after it started, while The Bully, as usual, is running a sketchy piece that defies about 42 laws of Thermodynamics:

Garbage never smelled so sweet
InEnTec of Bend has partnered with Waste Management Inc. to build its trash-to-gas machines at landfills across the country. The result could be a renewable energy dream — and InEnTec is promising big returns for Central Oregon, in the form of gree...

By Andrew Moore / The Bulletin

Two weeks ago, Bend-based InEnTec LLC announced a joint venture with Houston-based Waste Management Inc., a Fortune 500 company with more than $13 billion in revenues.

While a big step for privately held InEnTec, a small waste-to-energy company that relocated to Bend last year from Richland, Wash., it also promises big returns for Central Oregon.

The new joint venture, called S4 Energy Solutions LLC, will be based in Houston but is opening an office in The Old Mill District, adjacent to InEnTec’s office.

S4 will eventually employ more than 20 chemical and other engineers, generally earning more than $100,000 a year, according to Jeff Surma, a founder of InEnTec and S4’s first CEO.

They are the sort of high-paying green jobs that politicians love to promise, working with technology that turns everyday garbage into fuel and other products without any harmful emissions.

But InEnTec hasn’t been visited by presidential candidates promoting renewable energy, or sitting senators touting the green spending in the stimulus bill.
You’d think it would be the perfect opportunity,” joked Surma, who stepped down as InEnTec’s CEO two weeks ago to take the same position with S4, though he will stay in Bend.

Perhaps converting garbage into energy isn’t as sexy or as simple as harnessing the sun and wind. Rather, Surma chalks up the company’s “under the radar” existence to emerging technology — using super-hot plasma to convert trash into synthetic gas that can be refined into hydrogen or ethanol — that is only now ready for commercialization on a scale that could make it as well known as the solar panel or the wind turbine....

Oh my goodness. The old SUPER-HOT TRASH COMPACTOR that turns shit into gold.

What's funny is that InEn Tec was not bought out or some other super-sexed transaction that EMBIGGENS the company, or some such... it barely gets a word, but the CEO QUIT.

In case you're wondering How This Ends, it was covered in today's Oregonian:

Northwest's biofuel boom goes bust

In two short years, the Northwest has gone from biofuels boom to biofuels bust.

The boom began in August 2007, when Imperium Renewables opened a 100 million-gallon-a-year biodiesel plant near Grays Harbor, Wash. A month later, Pacific Ethanol opened a 40 million-gallon corn ethanol plant in Boardman. In June 2008, Cascade Grain opened a 113 million-gallon corn ethanol plant in Clatskanie.

Encouraged by tax breaks and Oregon and Washington standards designed to require biofuels' use, the companies promised environmental benefits on an industrial scale, a quantum leap from smaller-scale producers making fuel from cooking grease and Northwest crops. Nearly 30 more projects were under discussion.

Then came this year.

In January, Cascade Grain filed for bankruptcy six months after it opened, idling its plant and putting a $20 million loan from the state of Oregon in jeopardy. Imperium, whose grand opening was attended by both Washington senators, idled its Grays Harbor plant indefinitely, laying off 24 workers in March.

And Pacific Ethanol, which received $14.6 million in Oregon tax credits for its plant, filed for bankruptcy for five of its subsidiaries last month, including the subsidiary that owns its Boardman plant. It warned that it has enough money to continue operations only through June.

Same shit, literally just a different day. Car towing wheel, plasma-buring trash compactor, biomass bullshit. All are the same. All are Classic Oregon Ponzi Scheme Ripoffs, disguised by physics-defying bullshit super-big-hair technology.

THIS is why Oregon is doomed, this is why Bend is doomed. The physics of all this is 100% Grade AAA Bullshit.

Note, I DID NOT include PV Powered. It could be argued that PV Powered is Yet Another Gobmint Funded Boondoggle that will collapse when credits are yanked, something that apparently won't happen for awhile, as candidate Obama unwittingly committed to this during a PR-fueled junket way back when, when he shook hands with PV's CEO.

The diff between InEn Tec & PV Powered? One BURNS shit, the other absorbs & converts energy from an autonomous source.

I'm not saying PV is on it's way to UNENDING RICHES. It just has a fundamental plan that is actually supported by PHYSICS. It's NOT a Perpetual Motion Machine. Wind power is similar. It's really already there, whether we harness it or not.

Again, I feel the ROI on such stuff is negative, for quite awhile. The fundamental nature of people is to maximize The Now: Burn the CHEAPEST FUEL now, and fuck the future, even if it means cooking our kids in an Easy Bake Oven. The RE Bubble is Yet Another Illustration of our inherent Fuck The Future outlook.

THAT is why Bend attracts this sort of grifter. Grifters THRIVE on those who say Fuck The Future, and live for The Now, even if the NOW is an illusion, and The Payoff is a fundamental VIOLATION OF BASIC PHYSICS.

The Biggest Payoff out there is just that: A physics-violating super big-hair technology perpetual motion machine. Look around, we're drawing these brand of grifters like flies.

You wondered What Is The Next Big Bubble After RE? Well, it was supposed to be Alternate Energy (right Brucey Buttplugs?), and it's already collapsed. But as usual, the Bully continues to run stories that It's Better Than Ever In Bend!

Speaking of Compressed Collapse Cycles, Luxe, successor to Norwalk, went down. Dunc had a nice post about the 'Comings and Goings' of such business, and is well worth a read.

If there is a retail sector more bloated and ridiculously outsized for a town the size of Bend, it is auto's. I NEVER understood how all the auto row shit, and the 3rd St sellers, and vast underbelly of used auto sellers survived in this town.

They just built and opened new dealership after new dealership, and I was baffled. Who the fuck is buying all these cars? Not me. My NEWEST auto is 8 YEARS OLD. And I have no intention of buying another, unless I am made an offer I cannot refuse.

Which may happen. We're in that strange saddle point when dealers are literally contractually forced to gorge themsleves of stock, and there ain't no one buying despite some damn good prices.

Huge amounts of wealth is just drying up and blowing away, like so much STD landscaping, as Matt Thomas grouses about the loss of his Chrysler franchise:

“The big loss is losing the (Chrysler) franchise,” he said. “I could have sold the franchise for $7 million to $8 million two years ago.”

I can imagine the Bob Thomas franchise has lost at least that much. WTF is GM thinking leaving the only GM dealership in MADRAS? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of!

I can understand almost everything else in this auto dealer collapse, except that. Pulling Thomas' GM franchise is moronic in about 12 ways. Having to drive to MADRAS to buy a GM vehicle essentially means NO ONE WILL BUY GM IN CENT OR. My God.

Aside from that, nothing should really surprise anyone about how shitty it is going to get for Bend dealers. There are simply WAYYYYYYY too many of them. Still.

Start at Costco, and check the Subaru dealership... they're just starting to close. Tons of that shit will close. I put NO STOCK in the idea that the Porsche or Mercedes dealers on 3rd will survive in their current form. Many, many millions are going to be lost on these franchises getting boarded up.

We bitch about Luxe, Rising Star and all that going down... fuck, all the furniture stores in Bend weren't worth what a single half-assed auto dealership is worth. And they are closing them down in droves.

Bend is STILL ridiculously overvalued.

Is your home still overvalued?
Report says half of the most overvalued markets are in the Northwest
Wenatchee and Longview were third and fourth on the overvalued list, with Bend, Ore., Bellingham and the Portland area (including Vancouver) seventh, eighth and ninth.

We've been nearly cut in half, and we're still in the top 10. Here's a link to the actual PDF report by IHS Global. You have to fill out a short info form to get it, something I am too paranoid to do.

I guess I find it amazing that despite the collapse that has and still is going on in Bend RE, that we reached such a RIDICULOUS overvaluation, that we have been CUT IN HALF, and we're still in the Top 10 most overvalued MSA's in the country.

We're right around $200K medians folks, and all the talk here of $125K is not bullshit.

There is all sorts of macro (oil is back near $70/bbl) and micro reasons (wholesale collapse of Bend's auto, furniture, {{your favorite industry here}}) that medians can go down to $125K. All I can really bet on is it will be a slow, arduous, and wealth destroying process.

Take a look at this graph by OFHEO (Thanks to PopGoesBend). Drag the "time-line" back to 1985. That gives a GREAT perspective on just how whacky things in Bend got since 2005... but really it shows that Bend has been on a multi-decade tear.

I don't see that 300 HPI level being breached in my lifetime. If we're back to 2007 price levels in the next 15 years, I would be amazed. We're fucked.

OK, here's what you're waiting for...
Bend RE fallen so much, it HURTS MY NIPPLES!
Buster, pleeze cum back to white girls. We love you long time too!

I promise to take off this shirt, if I get 800 BB2 comments this week...