Living in Bend OregonIyna Bort Caruso
Bend is a former timber mill town that now supports solid healthcare and technology sectors. Tech startups are particularly attracted by the low cost of doing business and short commutes. Tourism, however, is at the heart of its economy. Proof? The old Brooks-Scanlon Mill – once one of largest lumber mill operations in world – is now a shopping and dining destination.
Mount Bachelor ski resort and the Cascade Lakes draw active vacationers from all points of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Mount Bachelor is surrounded by two million acres of protected land, a setting that makes skiers and snowboarders feel like they’re out in the wilderness. Hiking trails and biking paths are also among the attractions that entice people to settle here.
Historic downtown Bend is only about 20 miles from the slopes, sitting on the east side of the Deschutes River. Its cobblestone streets are shaded by Ponderosa Pines. The area features condominiums as well as century-old bungalows, English-style cottages, Tudor Revival and craftsman-style residences. A district of prominent homes along Drake Park, a lovely 11-acre green oasis, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Just south of downtown is the Old Mill District, set against the backdrop of the Cascades, where townhome and riverfront condominium owners enjoy walking-distance access to shops and restaurants. The neighborhood of NorthWest Crossing, or NWX, was developed on the architectural principals of “new urbanism” that emphasize human-scale communities designed for people and not just cars. Parks, stores, schools and attractions are only a short walk away. Awbrey Butte is an exclusive area of country clubs and stately homes on expansive lots. Some of the views of the Cascades are in the Butte.
Homes that blend into the natural surroundings using natural stone and timber are popular in this region in which high desert and northwest lodge-style architectural styles are prominent.