So, you’re thinking about making the jump and moving to Bend. Congrats.
Read everything below from Catrina, then hop over to our most recent version of “Thinking About Moving To Bend?” (Coming soon, we promise… Sign up to get the latest eBGTB posts in your inbox. It’s easy, and in our sidebar to the right. Do it and don’t miss out on Bend!). Also, check out basic facts about Bend here and do tell us what YOU want to know about Bend Oregon before you actually move here. Like a few of you asked us what winter in Bend is like, so we wrote about it. And then we wrote a little about spring in Bend. Basically, just ask us more things and we’ll probably write about them, too.
After you’ve read this post, if you’re moving to Bend from a more metropolitan city, you probably want to read my latest advice (April 2014) for people considering making the move here. And, if you’re planning a Bend vacation or just want to come check things out before actually moving, read about one of the most badass places to stay in Bend, book it, then get your travel on.
Yes, Bend Oregon is sunny and beautiful, and there are a million outdoorsy options, but what’s it really like to live here?
Living in Bend Oregon
Well, everyone is really friendly. It’s one of my four favorite things about living in Bend. When I moved here, it confused me. Strangers would say good morning and then tell me how a pipe burst in their house that morning and that they were worried about their collection of Good Housekeeping magazines in their basement and how their daughter really loves the back issues of GH… random stuff like that. They’ll chat you up about whatever is on their mind. I thought these people wanted something from me at first. I kept waiting for them to get to the point and present me with a “business opportunity” that sounded suspiciously like a multi-level marketing scheme. Nope, they didn’t want anything, they just wanted to chat.
Just don’t expect a Southern welcome where they invite you over for a backyard barbecue. That doesn’t happen. Bend can be a lonely place until you find your groove, your people, your tribe.
Moving to Bend and -ing
If you’re passionate about an “-ing,” you’ll be fine: skiing, kayaking, snowshoeing, climbing, road cycling, mountain biking, hunting, trail running, etc. You’ll find your people based on your mutual obsession. Or maybe you’ll find your tribe via your kids or your work. Even so, it can take awhile, so unless you have a ready-made group of friends, be prepared to be a little lonely at first. I’m told it doesn’t last forever, and that patience is required. Someone explained it to me like this: Finding your circle in Bend is like a tree putting down roots in a lava bed. It seems futile, hard to find a purchase, but then one day randomly, you find your vein, and it’s rich and fertile, and suddenly… growth happens.
There’s a good mix of conservatives and liberals around here, it’s not like a big city that way, with conservatives hiding in the closet. Bend politics is all about liberals and conservatives living side-by-side in peace (mostly). You can tell this from the bumperstickers on cars.
Bend isn’t exactly a diverse town (Oregon is super white in general), but don’t equate a lack of ethnic population with racism. It’s not a racist place at all, it’s just a white place. Most residents see people as people without prejudice. While you may be a bit of a novelty if you’re Asian or Black or Hispanic, you’ll be hard pressed to find locals who assume you have certain traits just because of your heritage.
If you did your research and decided that out of all the places in the country, Bend is for you, you’re not alone. I meet people every day who came to the same decision, made the move to Bend (sometimes sight unseen), and across the board, they love it here and never plan to leave.
Moving to Bend Oregon: Random Stuff that No One Tells You
Geese are sort of the rats of Bend. They’re noisy, and omnipresent and they poop up the parks along the river, and any decent-sized green space they can find. Your dog will find inevitably find their leave-behinds and assume it’s snack time. But don’t worry, unless you have riverfront property, they probably won’t hang out in your yard.
- There is one freeway in Bend, the 97, and the speed limit is 45 MPH. For real.
- There is a Trader Joe’s, but no Apple Store (Portland is the nearest place to get your get your fried hard drive fixed under warranty).
- There are actually a number of really good Bend Oregon coffee shops that make really good espresso, including Palate Coffee Bar and Backporch Coffee.
- The growing season for gardening in Bend is about 80 days. Yep. Locally-grown year-round produce is hard to find. The Bend farmers markets run June – September. That’s it. If you’re a locavore, you’re going to have to expand your definition of ‘local’ to include the Willamette and Hood River valleys. Otherwise you’ll starve in the winter.
- Whole Foods is waaaaaaay over on the Eastside for some unknown reason. If you do not live over there, shopping at WF will be a special occasion and you will routinely be disappointed by their wine selection. You will fall in love with Newport Market instead. (And their wine buyer rocks.)
Even More Random Bend Oregon Info…
-Northwest Crossing is Bend’s version of suburbia. It gives big-city suburbs a run for their money in terms of competitive homogeneity. Even in Bend, you cannot escape the ladies who lunch (only here, it’s the ladies who yoga, and lunch and latte).
-They’re not kidding when they call it the high desert. Your water consumption and lotion and lip balm usage will probably double or triple.
-You can and should do an Oregon Badlands hike (and/or mountain bike out at Horse Ridge) in THE SPRING. Not so much in the summer.
-Deer will probably visit your yard at night. There will usually be one with a bum leg from a past altercation with a car.
-Things Bend has a ton of: parks, breweries, and puffy jackets.
-Things Bend doesn’t have much of: French wine by the glass, local commercials with high production values, or high-end shopping (if you want a Chloe handbag, or a bespoke suit, you’ll have to drive to Portland — not that you need either of those in Bend).
-People here are really serious about proper roundabout etiquette. Yeah, Bend has a lot of roundabouts and people have very strong opinions about how you should approach, enter and exit these bad boys.
-Everyone’s all in an uproar about two things at the moment (or rather ongoing moment): Mirror Pond and the new OSU campus. If you’re into small town politics, Google can fill you in.