197

Wanda is 197 days old today.

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Photo by Humuhumu

Wanda, her Grandma, Humu, and I went to explore Forest Creek, which used to be known as The Shire. Our friend Heather Gregg told us about it. It was supposed to be a housing development themed in a way that brings Tolkien to mind. I’ve read that the Tolkien thing was not intended, at least initially. But clearly it was embraced at some point as one of the two streets in the development is Ring Bearer Court. (The other is South Shire Lane.)

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Photo by Humuhumu

The Shire was never completed because it went bankrupt when Bend’s housing market collapsed. It’s a sad story, so we’ll gloss over it and get to our experience today. I’ll just add that eventually a company purchased the whole development and building is starting again, although without the same wacky awesome commitment to theming.

I wouldn’t make a road trip to Bend just to see Forest Creek (aka The Housing Development Previously Known As “The Shire”). But if you’re in central Oregon already, you could do worse than to kill 20 minutes on a sunny day stopping by South Shire Lane and Ring Bearer Court to see this sadly half-finished but gloriously half-baked vision. Be sure, though, to get out of your car, look at the map they’ve posted, and walk along the path behind the houses among the ponds (stocked with fish), tiny amphitheater (maybe a sock puppet show would be at home there), “secret” doors, and a few other treasures. Sadly, the newer construction there isn’t anywhere nearly as over-the-top as the amazing building (and separate garage) at the end of South Shire Lane. And I don’t have high hopes for the forthcoming townhouses, but who knows? Anyway, totally worth checking out from a “this was a crazy idea, I wish they had succeeded” perspective.

As we were looking at the most thoroughly themed structures, I said to Humu: “Imagine living here and putting a tiki bar in the basement. It’s like your life turns into one big turducken.”

Humu’s take on Forest Creek: “First it was sad, then it was cute, then it was weird.”