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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Central Oregon population is soaring with former Californians

Uploaded: Sep 19, 2017
Many years ago, while traveling, we identified two places that we might consider moving to: Healdsburg in the Sonoma County wine country and Central Oregon—Bend, Sunriver or Redmond.
In the last couple of years, we have enjoyed some wonderful weekends in Healdsburg, enjoying the fine wines, great restaurants and the small-town ambiance around the town square. In the last 30 years, Healdsburg has grown increasingly upscale, although the population has not grown much because of the value of the vineyard land—that’s also why there are very few golf courses in either Napa or Sonoma counties.
Last week, we ventured north to Central Oregon for the first time since 2004. We first came here to ski Mt. Bachelor in 1982. That week, we caught a Pineapple Express that had the snow/rain level mid-mountain. We did little skiing that week because that just about the time Gore-Tex was invented in the Pacific Northwest and we did not own any. We had a Swiss exchange student living with us who was an avid skier—he just put on a big garbage bag over his sweater and off he went.
Since that time, we have returned several times—winter and summer—to ski, golf and enjoy the outdoor activities that the Bend area is famous for.
What we were not prepared for this time is just how much the population has exploded. I remember, sometime in the mid-1990s, being impressed with the amount of retail square footage was in Bend, a community of about 27,000 in a county of about 100,000 residents. Bend’s population doubled in the 1990s before the housing bubble popped in the mid-2000s, causing property value to fall by about half.
When we drove in last week and then drove around, we were amazed as the explosion in population and the burgeoning economy. Yes, the tourism business is still strong, but Bend and Redmond have vibrant manufacturing businesses that are diversifying the economy.
Bend now has more than 91,000 residents—we drove by several new housing developments—and Redmond is more than 29,000. There have been major road improvements so the main road, Highway 97, now bypasses downtown Bend as does the road going to the Mt. Bachelor ski resort.
Bend city planners estimate that 12 people, on average, are moving to Bend each day. The city grew 4.9 percent last year and is expected to continue to grow.
Locals bemoan the sharp increase in housing prices--$378,000 is the median price—numbers that coastal Californians can embrace with a great quality of life.
Clearly, Central Oregon has become a great destination for young people starting out, older folks seeking a second home that can be a retirement home, or simply a place to retire. In a normal year, Redmond gets only nine inches of rain given its relatively low elevation (3,500 feet) and high-desert climate.
One of the sectors that has exploded is national-class golf course communities with courses designed by legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio and David McClay Kidd. These have evolved as private clubs that also have onsite lodging that grants access to the private courses.
The only downside for us—as well as the locals—is there were no typical stunning views of the Cascades—Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mt. Hood in the distance to the northwest. Smoke from the many wildfires has turned the sky gray and eliminate those wonderful views since June. Rain is predicted this week and it will be a welcome change for all.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Sep 19, 2017 at 9:58 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

We moved to Oregon (Milwaukie, near Portland) during the first (I think) Californian migration back in 1977.

The one thing I remembered most of all was the disdain the locals had for Californians. Teachers, work peers of my parents, neighbors...etc., were very open about what they thought of us. Coupled with the climate, it was a dreadful place to live at that time.

Been back there a few times and its a beautiful area, but I would NEVER live there again.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Bend,Oregon is a wonderful place to retire. The air is clean, you don't freeze to death in the winter, cost of living is reasonable, and prices are right!

Not to mention the friendly people and NOT lots 'n lots of noise.

At one time I had contact with a beagle breeder but that was long ago but I've since lost contact. He no longer breeds beagles but he does rent his cottages to folks looking for a peaceful place to relax.

I could live there but I prefer to live close to a big city like San Francisco! I also know too many people in CA with whom I have frequent contact. Good Luck!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 19, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Tim...there are tons of places to fish!!!

Web Link

Posted by have lived in WA, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Sep 21, 2017 at 7:47 am

The locals complain about how the housing costs go up but they are the reason, not the buyers. If you don't want the costs to increase then list your house for less money. It's you listing it for an outrageous amount, that a CA transplant can afford, that causes the values to go up. And of course, they don't have prop 13 to keep the taxes of the surrounding homes from going up at the same time.

I lived there for a while, couldn't stand the holier than thou attitudes, the grim weather and the unbelievable traffic, and never looked back when leaving.

Posted by Tom, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 21, 2017 at 1:27 pm

I know quite a few people that live in WA and OR. What they have in common is hate for CA people. If you go there quickly change your license plate and try to blend in.
They are not at all welcoming.
If you see people from either of these places it would only be fair to be a complete A hole to them.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 22, 2017 at 9:17 am

There are "tons of attitude" in Plutonia as well...lets not forget...duh

I've never experienced hateful comments from anybody that I've encountered in Washington or Oregon. The landscape and the weather = ideal! Skiing is also wonderful in Washington.

The fishing is fantastic! fantastic! fantastic! I always have my catch smoked before I return to good ole Califas! Plus, there are lots of folks who speak Spanish in both states! ...many are known as "illegals" and nobody seems to care...I certainly don't...tee hee

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 25, 2017 at 8:03 am

Hi Brad....would you like more information about Porkchops 'n Raisins?

yum-yum plenty!!!

Posted by marthawilson710, a resident of Carlton Oaks,
on Dec 12, 2017 at 3:04 am

marthawilson710 is a registered user.

Tim...Thank You for your good deeds. five nights at freddy's http://fivenightsat-freddys.com game demo, survival games http://survivalgames.me online

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