Living in Bend like a local isn’t just about the duration of time you’ve been a resident. In fact, being considered a “local” and being welcomed into the community is much more about knowing, honoring, and abiding by Bend’s unwritten code of conduct than the duration of time you’ve physically lived here.
I hear more and more from my clients that their reception to Bend by the locals has been less than warm and fuzzy. This is actually surprising and disappointing as this isn’t the Bend that I know and love. I know that Californians catch unnecessary slack for moving to Bend. But what I am hearing is more than slack; it is hostility that my clients are experiencing from all over the map.
With the difficulty of adapting into Bend’s community becoming more frequent, I dug deeper and discovered something fascinating. There are definitely consistent triggers that set locals off. For whatever reason, these triggers cause a hostile visceral reaction which, of course, translates into “you’re not welcome here, go home.” So, here are 10 tips to help newcomers be more aware of what sets locals off and how to go about living in Bend as the locals do.
Bend utilizes roundabouts to manage population growth and traffic throughout the city. These roundabouts are efficient, but only if you know how to use them. Please take the time to properly learn how to navigate both a single lane and a double lane roundabout. The inability to do so will definitely result in an unwelcomed response and can be very dangerous.
2. Four-Way Intersections
There is actually a lawful order in which one leaves a four-way intersection with stop signs. Again, please take the time to learn how to navigate these four-way intersections properly. The inability to do so is, again, unsafe and make the residents of Bend frustrated with new drivers.
Use your blinker. Bend may be a close-knit community, but we’re not clairvoyant. A heads-up when you’re planning on making a turn is always appreciated.
4. Be Nice; You’re in Bend
Upon moving to Bend, please leave your middle finger, your verbal obscenities, and your road rage behind. Nothing yells “I just moved here” like flipping someone the bird.
At pedestrian crosswalks, please stop and let the pedestrian cross. Aside from being dangerous, it’s just rude to speed by people who are clearly waiting for you to stop.
Be extra aware and respectful of bikers. Part of Bend’s allure is the ability to bike everywhere. Keep in mind, this isn’t a video game, and you don’t get extra points for hitting or cutting off a biker.
7. Be Polite
Please be aware of opening the doors and holding them open for others. And, saying please and thank you are always appreciated and help create a welcoming environment. Also, check your judgment at the door. Bend strives to be a “no judgment zone” community. There is no superior or inferior, just different. Be kind, because you can.
Clean up after yourself and your dog. It doesn’t matter if anyone is looking, just do it.
9. Give Back
Bend has a lot to offer, so find a way to give back. Whether it’s volunteering to pick up garbage, stopping to help a person change a tire or give their car a jumpstart, it goes a long way in this small community. Even a simple “are you ok, do you need anything?” is appreciated if you question for a second that they may need assistance. Knowing that someone is there is all it takes to create a sense of safety and community.
Fire pits and campfires are a lovely thing but not at the expense of your neighbor’s house. Please adhere to the fire regulations set forth by the City of Bend. There is a very good reason why these regulations exist and ignoring them can be catastrophic.
I’ve lived here long enough to notice the difference between locals and people new to the community. If you are new, make sure to be conscious of your actions. I can help you get situated in town, but I can only do so much. Living in Bend is a beautiful thing, and we are all lucky to call this place home. By being aware of these tips, and by just being mindful, you will be closer to being a local. Welcome!