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Perhaps its the ongoing fires in California that are driving people to buy homes here in Bend, Oregon. We are currently rated as the third fastest-growing city in the United States and that is driving the home values up. The growth is so fast that the auto traffic is visibly growing every day. When I moved here eight years ago this was a quiet town where people were astonishingly courteous drivers, compared to back in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now it is stressful driving because the way people drive is extremely variable. Some are very slow to go at a four-way STOP, and others don’t even slow down.

Yesterday, when I was a pedestrian downtown and had a green light to walk, the driver to my right chose to go through a solid red light, more than four seconds red, and in front of oncoming cars. It was a safe maneuver because there was physical space to go, but it was in absolute violation of the traffic laws. I don’t know if that’s the way it is back in California these days, but it was shocking to me, here in Oregon. Actually, someone ran a STOP sign in front of me last week, when I did have to slow down a bit to avoid colliding with them.

In my inner thoughts I wonder if this is a local change of attitude because of the rapid growth, or is it a national response to the leadership of this country being such a bad example of personal behavior. Are Americans everywhere now flagrantly ignoring laws we have willingly obeyed ever since I can remember?  I refer to things I can easily see when driving. I’ve been driving since 1951, and I’ve seen more violations here in this beautiful small city of Bend in the last few months than I had seen in my entire life. Is our town being overrun with people desperately fleeing from the big city and bringing their desperation and aggressive habits to get ahead, at any cost, with them?

Or is it me just getting old and seeking to live a quieter life.