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Want to know more about Central Oregon?

Let me introduce you to our community! 

Because the only thing better than visiting, is living here! 

 mtn water 

Seeing Central Oregon in it's natural wonder is always a wonderful experience.  From our many different hiking trails, lakes for rowing our kayaks and paddle boards and casting a line for amazing fishing adventures, to the exciting slopes of Mt. Bachelor, we've got the places to play outside for sure.  But there's also a string of outdoor events for each season, like the Bite of Bend that often kicks off our summer festivals.  And while these things make it a hopping place for tourism, (we're also in the top 5 cities in the nation to find a large amount of Airbnbs according to a recent news report) it also makes it a unique place to work.  Sure, there's big employers like St. Charles HealthcareLes Schwab Tires, Facebook and Apple are both outside of Prineville, but it's also an entrepreneur's haven.  The service industry thrives here, along with forest service and education, but there's also shortages of professionals in many fields like landscaping, construction and home inspection or appraisals.  So if you're coming to the area and need immediate employment, those are some excellent areas to check out first.  If you'd like to know more about the economy of Central Oregon, one should visit EDCO for detailed reports and statistics.  For now, Bend seems to be continuously growing and a lot of long time residents are now looking to surrounding areas like Redmond, Terrebonne and LaPine for property where their dollar may go a little further.  But generally, traffic and travel times are low with just a 45 minute commute to Prineville.  

If you're looking for more daily happenings within Central Oregon, there's always news channels such as Central Oregon Daily that provide updates to residents and what to expect for our local weather.  The community often holds a lot of parades downtown, shows at the Tower Theatre, fundraising events and concerts, with a lot of artistic minds flocking to the Sisters Folk Festival or the quilt show and rodeo.  But where residents really like to kick their boots off are at one of our 22+ breweries located all over Central Oregon.  Each brewery holds their unique tastes and new releases, but if you like a good party, you're to find it at 10 Barrel but if you don't know where to start the beer train, there's constant tours and the Cycle Pub.  If you're wanting to be a little further from the action, I can always suggest neighborhoods near and far.  And one thing you won't have to worry about wherever you decide to plant roots are the schools.  Not one single school performs badly, our educators care deeply about our children, and our school districts are always adapting.  If you're looking for alternative learning programs, we have those too!  There are magnets, montessori, private academies in Bend and Redmond and even higher education located right here in Bend at COCC and OSU Cascades.  You'll find students of all age ranges in attendance, with nursing programs and agriculture, one can find so many areas to study.  If learning isn't really a current mood, there are multiple non-profits in Central Oregon that are always in need of volunteers!  

Within the tri county area, your senses are overloaded with Oregon trees and wildlife, attractions and activity, but we still maintain that small town character.  With an estimated population of just over 90,000 now, Bend still manages to feel like a tight-knit community. Residents get to know their local baristas, business owners, and folks down the street.  The charming historic downtown feels quaint and untouched since the city originated in 1905, void of towering skyscrapers but neighbors will always be welcoming because we're still all about people. 



Oregon Lockdowns and Impacts of Covid19

Central Oregon’s Initial Road to Recovery After the COVID-19 Impacts

Original article for the State of Oregon Employment Department written by Kale Donnelly 

 Dated: September 4, 2020


As the counties of Central Oregon have been weathering the proverbial storm of COVID-19’s economic impacts, it’s helpful to reflect on where we were before the clouds rolled in, and see how we’re doing today in comparison.

Following the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, employment dropped sharply across the U.S. and Oregon, with each of the state’s counties facing job losses of different proportions. Those counties with higher shares of employment in the leisure and hospitality sector were disproportionally impacted by COVID-19-related job losses. The leisure and hospitality sector was the hardest hit sector across the state due to restrictions placed on in-person dining and public gatherings. Not so coincidentally, those very same counties have also seen swift upswings in their employment as the state gradually reopened. After entering Phases 1 and 2 of Governor Brown’s reopening plan, many of Oregon’s restaurants and bars were able to hire back a large share of the workers they had previously laid off.

There were substantial losses to total non-farm employment from February 2020 (pre-COVID) to the depths of each county’s economic shocks from COVID-19. In the months of March and April, Crook County shed 12.2 percent of total non-farm employment, Deschutes County lost 16.7 percent, and Jefferson County lost 18.9 percent. In fact, Jefferson County was one of the most significantly impacted counties in the state.
The rebound in jobs has been swift and robust, yet Central Oregon’s recovery largely lags behind Oregon’s, as a whole. As of July 2020, Crook County’s total non-farm employment remains 9.9 percent below pre-COVID-19 employment levels, Deschutes County remains 10.1 percent below, and Jefferson County remains 16.2 percent below. Statewide total non-farm employment levels are currently 8.6 percent lower than in February.

From another perspective, we can look at how many of the jobs lost during COVID-19 have been recovered so far. Crook County has recovered nearly 19 percent of the jobs lost during the initial economic shocks, Deschutes County has recovered about 40 percent of the jobs lost, and Jefferson County has recovered roughly 12 percent of the jobs. Jefferson County lost the highest share of total non-farm jobs in the region and lost one of the highest shares of jobs in the state. Additionally, the county’s job growth through July has been slower than most counties across the state. These two measurements together hint at Jefferson County having a longer road to recovering the jobs lost earlier this year.

Regardless of whether a county ranked near the top or bottom of the chart above, the relative impact of COVID-19 throughout every labor market was damaging. Although Phases 1 and 2 of Governor Brown’s reopening strategy have helped bolster the initial recovery, we will likely begin to see the pace of the employment recovery slow as we move forward without a significant long-term solution to the health crisis.  More to come on the second wav of lockdowns beginning mid November.

For up to date news and COVID reports, please see Central Oregon Daily News!