"No one goes there anymore. It's too crowded." Yogi Berra.

I've been making this joke about downtown Bend for a few years now, especially when a Bendite tells me, "I don't go downtown if I can help it."

But the aphorism seems less like a joke to me now, and more like some kind of zen wisdom.

Whenever I travel to the west side of Bend, it seems cluttered and crowded. I almost breathe a sigh of relief when I reach the wider open spaces of the east side.

Paying a whole lot more for the privilege of living on the west side always seemed kind of nutty to me. The point is to find a nice place in a nice neighborhood. I guess there is the re-sale value, but if it is a final home, I'm not sure that matters as much.

Meanwhile, Redmond adds another large percentage in what you can buy. Wandering around our new neighborhood in Redmond it just feels slower, calmer, quieter, more small town.

But you know what? As far as making a living goes, there is no comparison. Downtown Bend is the place to be. I'm astounded by the numbers of customers coming in the door these days. I'm guessing a good third of them are either vacationers or newcomers. They are what make the difference between Pegasus Books doing well or not doing well.

Maybe it takes an oldtimer like me to appreciate it. I mean, I remember playing cribbage on the sidewalk with my neighbor and commenting that we could fire a cannon down the middle of the street and not hit anyone.

And that went on for years and years.

When the rents started to shoot up, I had to make a decision. All my neighbors left, but I decided to gut it out and I'm glad I did. The increased rent was covered by the increased business, which is what you would hope for. 

So complaining about traffic or parking seems sort of stupid, you know? I'm of the camp that believes that whatever capacity you create will soon be filled. So if you have an active business or shopping district, it will feel busy and crowded.

I suppose the best of both worlds is the have the business in Bend and the home in Redmond. Anyway, that's the way it's working out.