Bend, this beautiful, mountainous city called “home” by some 76 thousand people, was founded by pioneers way back in 1824. Before that and for some 12,000 years the land around Pilot Butte was hunting and fishing ground for Native Americans.
The name “Bend” actually come from the term Farewell Bend, a name pioneers gave to a portion of the Deschuttes River where the town would later come to be founded.
Sitting at the edge of the Eastern Cascades, Bend is beautiful. Full of trees, panoramic mountain views and Pilot Butte (an extinct volcano!) right in the middle of the valley, Bend has proved a scenic and beautiful home for thousands of people.
Featuring a high desert climate with cooler nights and sunny, warm days, Bend, Oregon averages about 11 inches of precipitation per year along with around 24 inches of snowfall. Our winters are typically fairly mild, averaging about 31 degrees in December with nighttime and daytime highs actually not being a whole lot different. This means temperatures are usually very consistent throughout winter. While summers are certainly warmer on average than winter it isn’t unheard of for the occasional hard frost to roll through.
Given its beauty and location near the Cascade Lakes Bend’s chief economic sector is tourism. Every year folks from Washington, California and other parts of Oregon flock to the Mount Bachelor ski resort to ski, snowboard and snowmobile all over the mountain. Mount Bachelor provides one of the largest skiable areas in all of the Pacific Northwest, clocking in at just over 3,600 acres and a vertical drop of almost 3,400 feet!
The mountain is so named because it stands apart from the Three Sisters, a nearby group of mountains northwest of Mount Bachelor. The older names of Mount Bachelor are, understandably, “Mount Brother”, “Brother Jonathan”, “Jonathan” or just “Brother”. In fact, it was the ski resort that took the name Mount Bachelor, which led to the mountain itself having a change of name from its official designation, “Bachelor Butte”.
Possible activities on and around the mountain are skiing, hiking, biking, golfing, rafting, picnicking, fishing, sightseeing, rock climbing and snowmobiling.
Due to the size and pleasant winters of Mount Bachelor tourism in Bend Oregon has flourished, and this is only speaking of winter-time activities!
Another driver of the Bend economy are local businesses, one of the most renowned being Deschutes Brewery. Deschutes Brewery is a craft brewery found back in 1988 as a simple brew pub in Bend. After years of growth and success Deschutes opened a second location in Portland Oregon in 2008 in Portland’s Pearl District. But the company’s main, official brewery is still the original in Bend, situated on the Deschutes River. They ship their craft made brews all over the country- 28 states, the District of Columbia, and even around the world. Their most well known beers are Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale (both references to local Ben landmarks). And, as of 2013, Deschutes Brewery clocked in as the 6th largest craft brewery in the United States, and the 12th largest brewery in general! They produce some 250,000 beer barrels per year!
But they aren’t just another big, successful company. They give $1 per barrel sold to different charities and even received the 2012 Sustainability Award from the Central Oregon Environmental Center. They’ve been committed to putting the community first and have grown as a result.
Other large companies in Bend include St. Charles Medical Center, Les Schwab Tire Centers, Sunriver Resort and Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort.
A combination of local amenities, low interest rates and easy lending fostered a construction boom in Bend. Home price rate appreciated significantly during 2001-2005 by as much as 80%. The downturn in 2008-09 did of course hit Bend and many homes dropped by 40% in value. But Bend remains a highly attractive destination not just for tourism but for homeowners as well, with scores of people moving to Bend from other parts of Oregon, Washington and even California.