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Moving to Bend, Oregon? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Thinking of moving to Bend, Oregon? From top employers to cost of living, we put all the information you need in one place.

By Annette Benedetti on July 20, 2018

Located in the high desert of Central Oregon, just east of the Cascade Range, Bend is best known for its access to world-class outdoor recreation and a multitude of microbreweries. Along with unparalleled snowboarding and rock climbing, this slice of paradise offers access to higher education and job opportunities in healthcare, the tourism industry and the thriving brewery scene.

From cost of living to top employers, here are all the basic things you need to know before you make the move to Bend.


Portland has given the whole state of Oregon a reputation for being cold, wet and dark year-round, but Bend proves that the stereotype is untrue. With an average of 158 cloudless days per year, and another 105 days that are mostly clear, the small city is considered the sunniest in the state.

Expect to stay dry and use a lot of lotion. Bend sees less than 12 inches of annual precipitation, which typically falls in the late autumn and winter months. With an annual snowfall of 24 inches, residents typically see some snow accumulation, but big drifts are only a short drive away. Bend’s year-round climate is comprised of moderate daytime temperatures and crisp nights. The highs throughout the short summer season rarely exceed 100 °F and the lows typically stay above 20 °F. Don’t be surprised if you wake up to frost on the ground in July. The high desert is full of surprises!

Cost of Living

With an average household income of $52,471, Bend’s cost of living index is 132.5 – well above the national average of 100. Housing prices play the biggest role in this difference. The median price of a home in the US is $216.200; however, in Bend the average cost rose to $411, 900 in 2018 with an appreciation of 37.3 % over the past ten years.

Why Bend, OR is a Best Place to Live

Top Employers in Bend

Bend is characterized by its “work hard, play hard” approach to life. With a recent boom in job growth, this preferred lifestyle more accessible. Over the last year, jobs have increased by 5.8%. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%, and is currently lower than the U.S. average of 5.2%.

St. Charles Health System is the single largest employer in Bend and provides an array of opportunities for various careers in healthcare. The local tourism industry is healthy with the area’s access to outdoor recreation drawing visitors from across the nation and around the world year-round. Jobs in retail and hospitality are ample, and with the most microbreweries per capita in the nation, Bend’s employment possibilities in the brewing industry are on the rise.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Snowboarding, skiing, rock climbing, whitewater rafting and mountain biking are some of the daily activities Bend residents enjoy. The Deschutes River runs right through the city’s center carrying people on rafts, SUP boards, kayaks and canoes during the summer months, while the nearby Mt. Bachelor provides locals with ample snow play options throughout the winter.

Surrounded by desert and mountains, and dotted with lakes, the hours before and after work along with weekend days are filled with camping, hiking, fishing, boating and rock climbing. Residents of this small town spend little time indoors and invest big in outdoor gear. And ending each day with a locally made brew is ritual for most.

The Best Home Base Cities for Adventure Enthusiasts

Getting Around

Nothing is more than a 15-minute drive away in this small town. A tank of gas can last a while for most: a big benefit with the rising cost of fuel. Not everyone takes a car to work in Bend. The Cascades East Transit is a fixed-route bus service with convenient routes throughout the city. Biking is another popular mode of travel, and the city accommodates cyclists with ample bike lanes and paths.

Education with a View

Bend is home to OSU-Cascades, an Oregon State University branch campus. This four-year college offers students looking to achieve a degree a unique learning experience in a scenic setting that embraces the local outdoor lifestyle and is absent of things like the football teams and stadiums you find on larger campuses. 20 majors and 30 minors are available through the OSU branch campus drawing a wide range of students.

Central Oregon Community College (COCC) is a two-year higher education opportunity that offers students an associate’s degree, technical education certifications and transfer degrees. Additionally, Cascade Culinary Institute provides programs in the Culinary Arts, Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition and Dietary Management.  

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