July 2, 2021
Bend is a city in and the county seat of Deschutes County, Oregon. It is the principal city of the Bend Metropolitan Statistical Area. Bend is Central Oregon's largest city and, despite its modest size, is the de facto metropolis of the region, owing to the low population density of that area. Bend recorded a population of 76,693 at the time of the 2010 U.S. Census, up from 52,029 at the 2000 census. The estimated population of the city as of 2019 was 100,421. [Geez, that is a doubling in 20 years!]. The Bend metro population was estimated at 197,488 as of July 16, 2019. It is the fifth largest metropolitan area in Oregon.
Bend is located on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range along the Deschutes River. There the Ponderosa pine forest transitions into the high desert, characterized by arid land, junipers, sagebrush, and bitterbrush. Originally a crossing point on the river, settlement began in the early 1900s. Bend was incorporated as a city in 1905. Economically, it started as a logging town but is now identified as a gateway for many outdoor sports, including mountain biking, fishing, hiking, camping, rock climbing, white-water rafting, skiing, paragliding, and golf.
The name "Bend" was derived from "Farewell Bend", the designation used by early pioneers to refer to the location along the Deschutes River where the town was eventually platted, one of the few fordablepoints along the river.
Until the winter of 1824, the area was known only to Native Americans who hunted and fished there. That year, members of a fur-trapping party led by Peter Skene Ogden visited the area. John C. Frémont, John Strong Newberry, and other Army survey parties came next. Then pioneers heading farther west passed through the area and forded the Deschutes River at Farewell Bend.
Constructed in May 1901, the Pilot Butte Development Company's little plant was the first commercial sawmill in Bend. The original location was at the rear of the Pilot Butte Inn of later years. Steidl and Reed also set up a small mill in Bend in 1903. This was on the Deschutes River just below the Pioneer Park area. The mill was operated by water power. A small community developed around the area, and in 1904, a city was incorporated by a general vote of the community's 300 residents. On January 4, 1905, the city held its first official meeting as an incorporated municipality, appointing A. H. Goodwillie as the first mayor. The settlement was originally called "Farewell Bend", which was later shortened to "Bend" by the U.S. Postal Service.
In 1910, Mirror Pond was created by the construction of the Bend Water, Light & Power Company dam on the Deschutes River in Bend. The dam provided the city with its initial source of electricity. The dam has been owned by Pacific Power since 1926 and still produces electricity that supplies approximately 200 Bend households. In 1916, Deschutes County, Oregon, was formed from the western half of Crook County and Bend was designated as the county seat. In 1929, Bend amended the charter and adopted the council–manager form of government.
Bend sits on the boundary of the Eastern Cascades Slopes and Foothills, a Level III ecoregion designated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington, and California, and the Deschutes River Valley, a Level IV ecoregion within the Blue Mountains Level III ecoregion. The Deschutes River runs through Bend, where it is dammed to form Mirror Pond. Bend's elevation is 3,623 feet According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 33.27 square miles, of which 33.01 square miles is land and 0.26 square miles is water.
Inside the city limits is Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint, an old cinder cone. Bend is one of three cities in the continental U.S. (with Portland, Oregon, and Jackson, Mississippi) to have an extinct volcano within its city limits. It is reached by U.S. Route 20. A lesser known characteristic of Bend, the Horse Lava Tube System enters and borders the eastern edge of the city. Just south of Bend is Newberry National Volcanic Monument on U.S. Route 97.
Bend's climate is typical of the high desert with cool nights and sunny days, classified as semi-arid. Annual precipitation averages 11.2 in, with an annual average snowfall of 23.8 inches. The winter season in Bend provides a mean temperature of 31.1 °F in December. Nighttime temperatures are not much lower than daytime highs during the winter. According to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, annually, the lowest nighttime temperature is typically −5 °F to −10 °F.
Central Oregon summers are marked by their very large diurnal temperature ranges, with a July daily average of 64.5 °F , and an average diurnal temperature variation approaching 35 °F (19 °C). Hard frosts are not unheard of during the summer months. Autumn usually brings warm, dry days and cooler nights, and Bend is known for its annual Indian summer.
Bend's growing season is short; according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Resources Conservation Service, in half of the years between 1971 and 2000, the USDA weather station in Bend recorded the last below-freezing temperatures after July 3 and the first below-freezing temperatures before August 31. Based on 1981–2010 normals, the average window for freezing temperatures is September 13 through June 19.
Bend is the larger principal city of the Bend-Prineville CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Bend metropolitan area (Deschutes County) and the Prineville micropolitan area (Crook County), which had a combined estimated population of 216,310 by the United States Census Bureau in 2008.
As of the census of 2010, there were 76,639 people, 31,790 households, and 19,779 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,321.7 inhabitants per square mile . There were 36,110 housing units at an average density of 1,093.9 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 91.3% White, 0.5% African American, 0.8% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.4% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latinoof any race were 8.2% of the population.
There were 31,790 households, of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.8% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.91.
The median age in the city was 36.6 years. 23.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 30% were from 25 to 44; 25.1% were from 45 to 64; and 12.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.0% male and 51.0% female.
Tourism is one of Bend's largest sectors. The Mount Bachelor ski resort brings in tourists from all over Oregon, Washington, and California. The nearby Cascade Lakesare also a large draw for tourists. Recreational activities include downhill and cross country skiing, hiking, biking, rafting, golfing, camping, fishing, picnicking, rock climbing, and general sightseeing. Transient room tax revenues through the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 equaled $2,221,610. The transient room tax is used in partnership with Visit Bend and the Bend Economic Development Advisory Board to convert visitors to Bend into residents and business owners. In 2011, Visit Bend reported that families are the largest demographic that visit Bend (35%), while couples with no children make up the second largest portion (24%) of visitors to the city. During the same year, tourism generated $570 million and employed 16% of the city's workforce.
As of 2020, Bend is home to the last remaining officially licensed Blockbuster Video store in the world.
Bend is also home to the Deschutes Brewery, the eighth-largest craft brewery in the nation and the largest of over a dozen microbreweries in the city. Each year the city hosts many events celebrating its brewing culture, including the Bend Oktoberfest, the Little Woody Barrel Aged Brew and Whiskey Fest, Bend Brewfest, and Central Oregon Beer Week. Beer aficionados can also visit many of the breweries along the Bend Ale Trail. As of 2018, there were 23 breweries in Bend and 4 hard cider companies. Since 2004, Bend has also hosted one of the top indie film festivals in the nation, the BendFilm Festival.
In 2005, Bend's economic profile comprised five industry categories: tourism (7,772 jobs); healthcare and social services (6,062 jobs); professional, scientific and technical services (1,893 jobs); wood products manufacturing (1,798 jobs); and recreation and transportation equipment (1,065 jobs).
Much of Bend's rapid growth in recent years is also due to its attraction as a retirement destination. The rapid population growth has fostered organizations such as Central Oregon Landwatch and Oregon Solutions.
Bend has also become a commuter town for a number of tech workers in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle metropolitan area despite the extreme commute, due to its appeal to the outdoors as well as its relatively cheap cost of living compared to the skyrocketing rent and housing prices of the Bay Area and Seattle.
As of 2014, the top 20 private regional (Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook counties) employers were:
St. Charles Medical Center (4,482 employees regionwide)
Les Schwab Tire Centers (905 regionwide)
Sunriver Resort (900)
Mt. Bachelor (756)
Bright Wood Corporation (746 regionwide)
IBEX Global (700)
Wal-Mart (686 regionwide)
Bright Wood Corporation (646)
Bend Memorial Clinic (639)
McDonald's (620 regionwide)
Safeway Inc. (584 regionwide)
Fred Meyer (538 regionwide)
Northview Hotel Group (Eagle Crest Resort 450)
Consumer Cellular (402)
Opportunity Foundation (384)
Black Butte Ranch (360)
Deschutes Brewery (290)
Central Oregon Trucking (286)
Other Bend-based companies:
Bend Radio Group
Construction and real estate
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2005 construction and real estate accounted for 17.3 percent of all jobs in the Bend metropolitan statistical area (MSA), which constitutes all of Deschutes County. This figure is about 70 percent more than the proportion of construction and real estate jobs in the Oregon and national economies. However, construction activity in Bend appears to be slowing; the number of building permit applications received by the Bend City Building Division fell from 826 in August 2006 to 533 in August 2007, a 35 percent decrease.
A large influx of new residents drawn by Bend's lifestyle amenities, along with the low interest rates and easy lending that fostered a national housing boom in 2001–05, resulted in increased activity in Bend's construction and real estate sectors and caused the rate of home price appreciation in Bend to grow substantially during that period. Median home prices in the Bend MSA increased by over 80% in the 2001–05 period.
In June 2006, Money magazine named the Bend MSA the fifth most overpriced real estate market in the United States. By September 2006, the Bend metro area ranked second in the list of most overpriced housing markets, and in June 2007 it was named the most overpriced housing market in America.
The 2008−09 housing downturn had a strong effect on Bend's housing and economic situation. According to the Seattle Times, single-family home prices dropped more than 40 percent from a peak of $396,000 in May 2007 to $221,000 in March 2009. Additional signs of the housing downturn include an April 2009 Deschutes county unemployment rate of 12.6 percent and in a tri-county area of Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties a 66 percent rise in homelessness from 2006 to 2,237.
In May 2010, the Federal Housing and Finance Agency released a report in which Bend had the largest price drop in the country, 23 percent, from first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2010.
Bend is home to the Bend Elks of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League. The Elks play at historic Vince Genna Stadium. Bend is also the home of the Central Oregon Hotshots of the International Basketball League. The Central Oregon Steelheaders, continually one of the top teams in the NW conference of the Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL), play at the Central Oregon Indoor Sports Center in Bend.
Bend is the home of the professional cross-country ski team XC Oregon, which competes in races locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
Bend has had success in landing major sporting events such as the 2008 and 2009 USA Winter Triathlon National Championships, the 2008 and 2009 XTERRA Trail Running National Championships, the 2009 and 2010 United States National Cyclo-cross Championships, the 2009 and 2010 USA Cycling Elite Road National Championships and the 2013, 2015 and 2016 USA Cross Country Championships.
In 2019 and 2020, Bend hosted USA Climbing's pro and youth National Bouldering Championships.
A popular spot for cycling, Bend has over 300 miles (480 km) of mountain bike trails and is the home to the Cascade Cycling Classic, the nation's longest running stage race for road bicycle racing. Bend was recently named the top mountain bike city in Mountain Bike Action magazine.
Bend's Pole Pedal Paddle is one of the Pacific Northwest's premier athletic events. It i a relay race held each spring with six legs that include alpine skiing/snowboarding, cross-country skiing, biking, running, canoeing/kayaking and sprinting. The event begins at Mount Bachelor and ends in the Old Mill District.
Bend is also home to the Deschutes County Rocks Boxing Team, a USA Boxing program ran by Level III USA Boxing coach Richard Miller, who is also the Golden Gloves & Silver Gloves President. February of each year Coach Miller hosts the Oregon State Golden Gloves Boxing Championship at Eagle Crest resort, a two-day event that highlights the best Olympic-bound boxers in the Northwest while bringing hundreds of boxing fans to the area. The program is non-profit and raises money for youth in the community.
Running is also a popular sport in Bend. Bend is home to the Cascade Lakes Relay, Bend Beer Chase, Haulin' Aspen Trail Marathon, XTERRA Trail Running National Championships, and the Pilot Butte Challenge. The Cascade Lakes Relay is the largest sporting event in Central Oregon with over 3000 participants each year. One of the largest running clubs in Bend is CORK (central Oregon running klub). In 2006 Bend was named the best trail running city by Outside magazine,because of 51 miles (82 km) of in-town trails. Runners also enjoy parks such as Shevlin, Tumalo Falls, and Deschutes river trail.
With the opening of the Bend Pavilion ice rink in 2015, Bend established its first USA Hockey sanctioned amateur ice hockey program, the Bend Rapids. The Rapids field four different teams in the 10u, 12u, 14u and high school divisions. In January the pavilion hosts the Cascade Invitational Hockey tournament. The three-day tournament features amateur hockey teams from Washington and Oregon.
The nearest commercial airport is Roberts Field (RDM) in Redmond, 18 miles north. Horizon Airlines, SkyWest Airlinesand American Airlines (flying as United Express, Delta Connection and American Eagle) provide direct service to Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The U.S. Forest Service operates an air base and training center for firefighting.
Bend Municipal Airport (KBDN) is located 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of the city and serves general aviation. Several significant general aviation companies are based at Bend Airport, including Precise Flight, which develops oxygen systems, speed brakes, landing lights and other modifications for general aviation aircraft, and Epic Aircraft.
Roads and highwaysEdit
Bend lies at the intersection of U.S. Route 20 and U.S. Route 97. The latter runs on an expressway alignment through the city known as the Bend Parkway; a business route for US 97 runs along 3rd Street. The city is also served by the Century Drive Highway No. 372 which provides access to Mount Bachelor.
A BNSF main line runs north–south through the city; there are numerous spurs off of the main line which serve industrial rail customers. The Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway ran passenger service six days a week on a mixed train along that line from Bend to Wishram, Washingtonuntil some point between 1968 and 1970. The closest Amtrak station is in Chemult, approximately 65 miles (105 km) to the south; it is served by the Seattle–Los Angeles Coast Starlight.
In 2016, Bend adopted the Transportation System Plan, which is a 20-year plan that strives to achieve a healthy, equitable future for the entire community. The city is using community input to help this plan move forward, using experiments and data to drive their decisions on how people move within the city while incorporating land use throughout. In July 2019, Oregon State University Cascade launched a ride share program as part of a study called Ride Bend, which was active until March 2020. Ride Bend hired the transit company Downtowner to help set up and implement an on demand, app based, electric van service in Bend's west side. Part of Ride Bend's study was to see whether people prefer sharing rides to get to their destination over fixed bus routes. Ride Bend noticed that few people were using public transportation within the city, and many bus systems, such as Cascades East Transit, had to cancel their services because not enough people were taking the bus. Ride Bend not only succeeded in getting people to use public transportation again, effectively helping with traffic calming, but they also brought people to broader areas within the city.
In an effort to improve the safety of the city's residents, Bend has been implementing roundabouts within the city. Although roundabouts have been proven to reduce the number of collisions, they do not help to reduce vehicle emissions, which is one of the goals of the Transportation System Plan. An estimated 40,000 people have moved to Bend since the Transportation System Plan was written, and most of them brought cars with them. While Ride Bend is directly addressing carbon emissions, plenty of other businesses surrounding Bend are reducing the amount of impact a car has on the environment after its use. Tires can be processed and reused, batteries and oil can be treated so no toxic waste gets put into the surface runoff in the streets and landfill. While the Transportation System Plan just began in 2016, the city looks towards a 20-year investment in creating a brighter future in transportation use and waste management.
What city is most like Bend? Flagstaff? Santa Fe? Depends on if you’re asking a cop or engineer
By Tyler Leeds The Bulletin
May 16, 2015 Updated Jan 31, 2020
Bend is one of a kind. A boom town powered by its natural beauty and its inhabitants’ love of getting dirty outside. What could be better?
What about Sparks, Nevada? Or Flagstaff, Arizona. And don’t forget Missoula, Montana. Although no city is a perfect mirror image, the city of Bend has come up with a list of 16 “companion cities” against which it can measure city services. The list was devised during the 2013 biennial budget review and employed again this week as the City Council and Budget Committee reviewed the proposed $630 million 2015-17 budget. Having such information, city staff said, allows the administrators to look at staffing levels and performance in context of what other cities are doing, a process which helps Bend set priorities as it allocates new funding or attempts to make cuts. “The Budget Committee and community kept asking why we were always just comparing ourselves to cities in Oregon,” said Brad Emerson, who compiled the list when he was the city’s special projects director. “A lot of the cities aren’t growing like we are or lack similar demographics, and none have the same climate swings that we do. These things all affect our performance as a city, so we decided to try to come up with a list of communities that may be more useful.”
The list is based on a number of metrics, including population, median income and education levels. Just as important, however, was significant recent growth, as Emerson noted cities attracting new people as rapidly as Bend face particular challenges as they attempt to ratchet up services.
The list also includes cities with robust tourism, a boon for the economy that also comes with hurdles for city management.