I came across Pine Mountain Sports because I drive by there on my way out to the adventure lands on a daily basis. Then, I had some friends come to town who needed to rent mountain bikes, and I thought of that shop. Every person in there has been super kind and they do really great work. The whole place has a sense of quality and fairness and friendliness. It's a great reflection of this town. I kept meeting this guy, Dan, who was just so kind and sincere. I eventually asked him to participate and, without hesitating even for a second, he agreed. I later found out that he owned the place. With a boss like this, it's easy to understand why the rest of the staff is so friendly.
Who are you?
Dan McGarigle. I own Pine Mountain Sports here in Bend, Oregon.
Where do you come from? What brought you here?
I'm originally from South Bend, Indiana. Then I moved to Bend, really, on luck. I was supposed to move to Portland. The guy I was going to move to Portland with actually got a housesitting job in Bend for the summer of 1995 and I've been here ever since.
What do you like about Bend?
Love of life, great community, accessibility to the outdoors, great place to be a dad, great place to raise a family. Just, you know, being spoiled rotten to lay it out honestly. Why would you ever leave a place that spoils you as much as this place does? It depends, I guess, on your view of life and your priorities, but overall, I don't think I was supposed to be this lucky to actually live in a place that fits my needs as well as this place does. I just feel really fortunate to be here.
What does community mean to you?
Long story short, where we, especially these days, we follow headlines, we turn on the news, we're bombarded by media from all over the world. I don't believe that those things actually affect us as much as the community around us - how we engage it, how it engages us. They say, think globally, act locally. You know, you can paraphrase it anyway you want, but ultimately, the community that you keep is a huge influence on the quality of your life. You know, Bend's got a great community. Right now, you know, it gets pushed and pulled on a little bit just because of growth and so many new people moving to town, but I really do believe that Bend still is one of the greatest communities in the country. It is as much intoxicating as the accessibility to the outdoors and the lifestyle. You can have those things, but if you've got a dysfunctional community or a community you choose not to participate in, you're missing out. There's that whole other set of resources on why people choose to live here.
My mom was always heavily engaged in her profession, as far as health care and volunteering and being involved with community efforts and things along those lines. Seeing that as an example as a child, it really had a profound impact on me as far as who I am as an adult. I don't really think that the community I grew up in was as engaging and as active as the one in Bend is, but taking that influence and bringing it with me and making that part of who I am, who Pine Mountain Sports is, that's only helped me live the life that I want to live. My mom gave me the tools, that when I did find the community I wanted to be involved with, to get in. To make an impact. To do the things you want to do. To not listen to the people who tell you No, you can't or Nobody does that. We just do what we want to do. Between the community and Pine Mountain Sports, we have a great vehicle. We can actually get a lot of stuff done, which is awesome.
Do you have thoughts regarding Bend's growth?
I would tell you that I don't prescribe to it, personally. I don't understand it. These days things are so touchy and to tell people, Hey, you're from a certain area. You can't move here. That sounds like a big picture thing we're hearing right now. That's not the community that I want to participate in and, more importantly, that's not the community that I'll ever believe that Bend is. Because, simply put, that's not me. That's not my friends. That's not something that I think Bend is or want it to be. You know, I was here first? Come on, that's like the lamest excuse in the world. (Laughs) But I do understand where people are coming from. The direction that I share with people is that if you don't like the way that certain people are acting in the community, or that you believe that the community is going, the only way to keep the community the way you want it to be is actually to be the community that you want it to be. And that means that we, as the people who want Bend to keep the character that it has, the small town feel, the expectations of one another, whether it's treat each other in a certain manner or participate at a certain level, it's up to us as every individual inside it, to be that. If we choose to use other people's direction as ways to allow it to waiver from our own, then that's on us. That's not somebody else's fault. That's on us for changing the way that we view the community that we live in. Because somebody new moved here? It's more so, When in Rome. What we preach as longstanding members of the community, as a small business, as the culture of the outdoor community here in Bend - what preach is what people will follow. You have to believe that. Because you can't beat into people what you want them to be. That just doesn't work. And you can't think lesser of them because they aren't quite used to participating in a community like the one we envision. So, anytime I hear people complaining about the way that things are changing, my constant reminder to them is, Well then don't let it. Then represent what you want our community to be. That's the best way we're going to keep it that way. I honestly believe that a lot of the new people that are moving to Bend are moving out of bigger areas, and I'm sure some people aren't, they come to Bend because of a couple things. As much as it is like for myself, the outdoors and the accessibility, the other portion is that I believe that most of those people want that sense of community. And whether they're so far removed from it they don't know how to participate in it or they simply don't understand everybody's vision for living in Bend, then that's our opportunity to show them. I really do believe that most people move here because it's a departure from the place where you didn't know your neighbor and everyplace looks the same and everyplace is crowded. Yes, that's beginning to happen a little bit here. We're getting a little bit busier. But also, in the big picture of things, it just comes back to that same philosophy of If you don't like what you see, then be something different. Show people how they're expected to participate and be involved and treat each other in the community and they will. If they don't, that's their choice. And your not going to change people. You can teach people anything, but changing them is very difficult. That's my philosophy about it: Hey you don't like what you see? Well then don't be it. Let people know this is what you want to see. Tap somebody on the shoulder and say, Hey, you know, this is our community. This is what we do here. The biggest thing I do, I just urge everybody that I can to get involved with nonprofit volunteer work and setting that precedent for Bend being the Bend that you want it to be. It really is up to us to dictate what we want our community to be.
Do you have a favorite activity?
My favorite recurring activity, as silly as it sounds, it's every year. It is every year I look forward to Oh man, bike season's rocking, we're having a bunch of fun! We're going camping, we're fishing, we're doing this, we're doing that. It started snowing. Let's go skiing. And then, before you know it, as you get tired of skiing or you get a little skied out and weather starts changing, it's spring again. I'm pretty much so stoked for every year that comes around because there's always something to do, there's always something fun out there. I see how my friends that don't live here, how my family that doesn't live here, I see how their lives can be. Ours is a little more exciting. We have some fun. The accessibility that we're afforded in Bend is even unmatched my very few outdoor communities. I don't take it for granted. We're pretty darn lucky. I just feel like a big kid!
What do you wish for the future?
The biggest thing that I hope for the future, as silly as it sounds, is to be a great dad. Have a strong family. Love my wife. Keep that sense of really the three things that are the most important to me right in front of me - to stay focused on that. When it comes to our community, the biggest thing is how much Bend grows, how much it changes, I have no control over that. And none of us as individuals do. As much as we want to talk about We should build a wall around the place or we should just shut off 97 and lock the place down. That's not realistic. What is realistic is actually setting the example. We're going to grow. Yeah, by the time I leave Bend or if I die in Bend, Bend's gonna be 150,000 people. I can't stop that. I can do a lot of things, but I can't stop that. What we've been afforded by building Pine is that it gives us a stronger voice in the community than most. And because it's a small business, we can use it for anything we want to do. If we want to host community events, we can do that. If we want to promote a sale, we can do that. But also, if we want to set an example for what we want Bend to be, how we foresee the Bend community growing and how we can influence it, that's one of the great things about Pine. We've got a great crew here. All of us, I think, believe in these same things - of growth and expansion. We see new customers in the store literally every day saying, I just moved to town. And we're stoked for them. Because of Pine being simply a small business in a small town, it's got a voice. And we can use that voice for a lot of things. As soon as Pine stops being a resource for this community, beyond bikes and skis, we'll close up shop. That's really not who we'll be. But also, because of it, we get this vehicle. It is a spoil to have it. Because we can help whoever we want to help. We can promote what we want to promote. And we can set an example for people to follow. And it's a very visible one. That's kind of what I'm hoping for the future, is that Bend can hold onto its character and its qualities even though the quantity is going to get larger and larger. That's me.