Nestled between the edge of the Cascade Mountains and the high desert of eastern Oregon, Bend’s is the largest city in Central Oregon, with a booming tech and recreation-based economy. Its proximity to world-class skiing, mountain biking, fly fishing, trail running and so much more has made it a hotbed destination for active retirees as well as a younger generation of entrepreneurs and remote workers seeking a respite from big city life. Add in top quality health care, world-class dining, live music and easy access to air transportation and you can see why Bend, Oregon is one of America’s most sought-after destinations.
1. World-Class Health Care
It turns out that doctors like mountains and trails as much or more than the rest of us. That’s probably the reason that so many top physicians have chosen to set up shop in Bend. From family practice doctors to thoracic and orthopedic surgeons, Central Oregon is teeming with health care providers who specialize in treating illnesses and the injuries that come with a lifestyle heavy on recreation. (We dare you to find a city that has more physical therapists capable of getting you back in the saddle). Bend is home to St Charles Health System, the region’s largest hospital and health care provider, serving all of central and most of eastern Oregon.
2. Property Taxes
While it’s true that can’t avoid death or taxes, Oregon is a property tax limited state by law. That means politicians can’t arbitrarily raise taxes to keep up with inflated spending. It also means that even if your home appreciates by 10 percent year over year, you won’t have to pay a 10 percent increase in your property taxes. And while Bend has seen some of the strongest appreciation in home values of anywhere in the state, or country for that matter, residents here enjoy one of the lowest city property tax rates in the Northwest, with much of the major public infrastructure spending covered by taxpayer bonds and fees on new homes and commercial construction.
3. Outdoor Recreation
Most mountain towns would be happy to have a Top 10 ski resort just minutes away, or a blue-ribbon fly fishing river in downtown. Of course they might trade that for a world-class system of mountain biking and running trails or a couple of top 100 golf courses. Not Bend. We have them all -- and more. Whether you’re seeking powder turns at Mt. Bachelor on a bluebird spring day or just walk along a dancing creek with your dog, Bend is your year-round outdoor playground. The only problem is deciding what to do when you have so many great options.
Weather and Climate
Central Oregon is one of those rare places that experience all four seasons in a year without enduring any of them in the extreme. Spring is mild but dry enough that most folks in Bend can’t even find an umbrella in their home. Summer is the sweetest of seasons with roughly 100 days of sunshine packed between June and September. The low humidity makes even the warmest of days tolerable and the convergence of mountain and desert climates means the nights are crisp enough to warrant a light jacket even in July. Fall is the secret season. Cooler days, plenty of sunshine and the end of the bustling summer season make it the favorite time of year for many locals. Come winter, most locals are praying for snow. The good news is that most of its falls in the mountains, but keep a shovel on standby, we’ve been known to get our share.
5. Air Service
Not so long ago, it was a challenge getting in and out of Central Oregon. Most flights out of Redmond airport, which serves the region, shuttled travelers to the hubs of Seattle and Portland where connections to final destinations occurred. Today there is direct service to LA, San Francisco, Denver, and Salt Lake making it easier for travelers to reach their destinations in less time with fewer hassles.
6. Culture and Entertainment
Moving to a mountain town means ditching the big city crowds, but it can also mean missing out on experiences like great live music, art and theater. That’s not the case in Bend where a thriving arts community has helped build a foundation of organizations, events and venues that stoke year-round series of performances and exhibitions. Check out the award-winning environmental and historical exhibitions at High Desert Museum, or catch a Grammy-winning artist at the historic Tower Theater. Grab a seat for Shakespeare in the Park or raise a glass at Barrel-Aged Beer Festival. It’s all here.
7. Indoor Recreation
Yes, the climate is relatively here. And yes we do have something like 300 days of sunshine. But it does rain it times. It does sometimes snow. In other words, you’re gong to need an indoor option for your cardio fix. Don’t worry. We have you covered. If racquet sports are your thing, you’ll find two indoor pickleball options. There are also indoor tennis courts, pools and gym facilities at the Bend Athletic Club and the Bend Golf Club. A new public pool and indoor fitness center is set to debut on Bend’s eastside. Competitive swimmers can dive into the Masters Aquatic swimming community at Juniper, which hosts events and competitions for serious swimmers over the age of 18.
8. Bang for your Buck
While prices have been increasing over the past decade, Central Oregon real estate remains a great value, particularly for people who are coming from larger metropolitan markets. For example, home buyers in the Seattle market paid an average of $470 per square foot in 2020. By comparison, the average price per sq. ft was around $270 in Bend last year. With home values expected to continue appreciating in Bend as more people migrate to central Oregon, buying now is a safe long-term investment.
9. Parks and Outdoor Spaces
Not everyone wants to hop a dual suspension bike and bomb down singletrack. For some folks, a stroll along a neighborhood trail is most to their liking. Bend’s vibrant parks department has recognized the value of all kinds of recreation and incorporated those desires into its development philosophy. As a result, you’ll find plenty of youth baseball and soccer fields, as well as natural areas like Shevlin Park and Gopher Gulch which showcase the natural beauty of areas like Tumalo Creek and the Middle Deschutes River.
There is no such thing as a compatibility test for entire communities. That’s too bad because having good or bad neighbors can go along way in determining how you feel about your home. Most people here would agree that the people you meet in Central Oregon are outgoing, friendly and genuinely committed to making our community stronger. It shows in the pride people take in their homes and businesses and the commitment they have to our community institutions. Our strong schools, vibrant parks and network of non-profits all reflect the community commitment to making Bend a great place for its residents.