Sunday, August 10, 2014

As I approached Farewell Bend for the first time

.... in thirty-eight years, my mind’s eye tried to reproduce the erector-set steel girders that once carried US 30 across the Snake River into town. The vacant site of that landmark bridge had disappeared into the weedy landscape north of where a concrete slab speeds Interstate traffic across the river. Likewise gone was the Moore Hotel. With its rooftop red-neon sign, that six-story hotel once defined Farewell Bend’s skyline for travelers approaching from the Idaho bluffs to the east.  Where it stood tall above Oregon Street, a grassy plot of land sat vacant. Three blocks southwest, an empty parking lot took up the land where I visualized the brick printing plant that housed my parents’ newspaper when it was the semi-weekly Argus-Observer. Across the alley, the site of the old City Hall and a one-room cement structure where I once passed cigarettes to the town drunks was also paved over.  Along 4th Avenue, the Toot ‘n Tell drive-in was a forgotten ghost.
A year into the new century, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and a Holiday Inn had thoroughly tapped into Farewell Bend’s lifeblood, moving in along the I-84 corridor that streaks past the  state-line town of ten thousand.