Situated along the Deschutes River, on the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains, Bend is the largest city in Central Oregon. At the time of the last official census in 2000, Bend was home to about 52,000 people, but since then its population had increased to more than 75,000. The city's remarkable growth is due in part to its popularity as a destination for retirees.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
- Old Bend, or Downtown, is the area where the town was originally established, so most of the city's historic buildings are here. In residential neighborhoods such as affluent Drake Park, with its stately craftsman and colonial homes, and Old Town Historic District, distinguished by charming mill workers' cottages of the 1920s and 1930s, many homes are designated for historic preservation. The historic Downtown business area boasts most of the city's best restaurants and trendiest gathering spots, such as cafés, breweries, and nightspots. Popular with residents and tourists alike, the business area also offers a variety of locally owned shops and art galleries.
- Old Mill District is located in the Southern Crossing neighborhood just south of Downtown. Once the location of the city's lumber mills, in recent years the area has been renovated and revitalized as a thriving commercial zone, with shopping, movie theaters, offices, hotels, and condos.
- River West is located west of Downtown and Drake Park. Often referred to simply as the Westside, it has some of the most desirable and expensive residential properties, many of them overlooking the Deschutes River. This upscale area is within walking distance of Downtown and offers easy access to outdoor recreation at Mt. Bachelor and Cascade Mountain.
- Orchard District, east of Downtown, features many of the oldest and grandest trees in the area, as well as three popular parks: Hollinshead Park, the site of many outdoor weddings; Pilot Butte State Park, a favorite with walkers and joggers; and Juniper Park, where the Juniper Swim and Fitness Club offers multiple swimming pools and outdoor tennis courts, as well as a youth baseball field, a playground, horseshoe pits, and picnic tables.
- Old Farm, southeast of Downtown, is an area where farmland has given way to booming residential development. Older homes in this area--built in the 1980s, when farmers first began to sell off property to developers--feature the largest lots, whereas the homes built since 2000 are on smaller lots, owing to the increasing scarcity of open land.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
A century after it was originally settled as a logging town, Bend relies on tourism as the backbone of its economy. Visitors to the area are especially drawn by its wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities.
- In winter, people from all over the West Coast come to ski at the Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. Just 20 miles outside the city, Mt. Bachelor offers more than 3,700 acres of varied terrain for beginning to expert skiers.
- The nearby Cascade Lakes are a popular year-round destination for hikers, campers, mountain bikers, fishermen, picnickers, and others.
- The Bend area offers a number of public golf courses less than 20 miles outside the city, including the Widgi Creek Course, Lost Tracks Course, and the Tetherow Course.
After tourism, which provides some 8,000 jobs to Bend, the city's next biggest industry is health care and social services, which accounts for more than 6,000 jobs. The St. Charles Bend Medical Center is one of the top regional health-care facilities in the Pacific Northwest.
With several microbreweries in the city, including the highly successful Deschutes Brewery, Bend has helped to distinguish Oregon as a national hub for the craft beer brewing renaissance that began in the late 1980s.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- Established in 2006 by BendFilm, a non-profit arts organization, the Bend Film Festival is an annual, four-day event celebrating the latest offerings from the independent film industry.
- Another annual festival, Art in the High Desert, is produced by a nonprofit group of artists and art advocates to promote regional artistic expression.
- Located in the landmark Reid School building, the Des Chutes Historical Center is home to a museum where visitors can learn about the activities of the area's native peoples and European explorers. The center also offers a research library and a gift shop. It produces a "Heritage Walk" pamphlet detailing a self-guided walking tour of Bend's historical sites.
- The High Desert Museum, just 3.5 miles south of town, is a nationally recognized museum offering exhibits and presentations about the wildlife, natural resources, culture, and art of the region.
Central Oregon Community College (COCC) and the OSU-Cascades Campus of Oregon State University (OSU), both in Bend, offer two- and four-year degree programs.
Bend has a variety of local media outlets. Several radio stations offer a variety of listening options:
- KOAB 91.3 FM (national public radio)
- KVLB 90.5 FM and KNLR 97.5 ;FM (Christian contemporary)
- KXIX 94.1 FM (Top 40)
- KTWS 98.3 FM (classic rock)
- KMTK 99.7 FM (country)
- KMGX 100.7 FM (adult contemporary)
- KQAK 105.7 FM (oldies)
- KICE 940 AM (sports radio)
- KBND 1110 AM (talk radio)
- KWRX 88.5 FM (University of Oregon, Redmond)
Bend has three local television stations:
- KFXO TV 39 (FOX)
- KOAB TV 3 (PBS)
- KTVZ TV 21 (NBC)
Newspapers serving the city of Bend include:
- Cascade Business News
- The Bend Bugle
- Bend Bulletin
- Source Weekly (arts and entertainment)
- Bend Weekly News (online)