Carpetbagging

New West interviews Benjamin Percy, author of the story collection Refresh, Refresh. Percy’s stories are largely set in Oregon, and he tees off on Californians invading his turf, in much the same way California gets invaded by the rest of the country:

I don’t dislike [California]. I dislike the people who leave the state and set up shop in Oregon, bringing with them their pastel shorts and too tan skin and gleaming golf clubs. They’re parasitic. They sell their coastal homes for several million, then come to Oregon to retire, making it into their playground. Consider Bend. When I lived there, the population clocked in at 16,000. Now, ten years later, the population is 70,000, many of them Californians. They raze forests and lay down golf courses and build up these faux-rustic iron-and-timber homes with antler chandeliers in the foyer and boot-shaped mugs in their kitchen cabinets and $1,000 Pendleton blankets draped over their $10,000 leather couches set before their river-rock fireplaces. They plunk down a Starbucks, a sushi restaurant, a Saab dealer, and before you know it, property taxes are through the roof and everybody who originally lived in the community has to move out because they can no longer afford it. Damn it.

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