Neighborhoods: Bend's Highlight Reel—Old Bend and River West | Central Oregon Visitors Guide | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Neighborhoods: Bend's Highlight Reel—Old Bend and River West

Living in the center of town puts residents at the heart of it all

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The neighborhoods of Old Bend and River West contain a highlight reel of sorts of what people who don't live in Bend come to the city to do—floating the river, cruising the Old Mill, sipping beer at the OG breweries and grabbing an Ocean Roll from the OG Sparrow Bakery.

Comprised largely of historic homes, many of them cottages cobbled together by lumber-mill workers doing it like the protagonist in Johnny Cash's "One Piece at a Time" song, Old Bend gives residents a glimpse of what life was like before the mills were replaced by a mall; before people-watching the scantily clad river floaters became a prime afternoon pastime any day of the week.

The classic shot: The Three Sisters mountains from the shores of Mirror Pond. - IAN POELLET / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Ian Poellet / Wikimedia Commons
  • The classic shot: The Three Sisters mountains from the shores of Mirror Pond.

These days, living in River West and Old Bend puts one at the heart of all the action—for better or worse. Want a cool coffee shop to while away an afternoon? There are dozens. Want to grab takeout or dine on a patio at a locally owned restaurant? Unique options definitely outnumber the chains. Like live music? Just open your ears, because in a normal year, it's very likely coming at you from Les Schwab Amphitheater or from one of the many other outdoor concerts Bend has in spades.

And when the day's over, you can go home to your unique cottage, and wonder, for perhaps the hundreth time, why that mill worker who hand-built your one-of-a-kind home decided to build the ceilings so low. They clearly brought the shiplap home one piece at a time.

Neighborhood: River West, Old Bend

Who lives here: Currently about 72% of the residents have lived here less than 10 years. Lots of vacation rentals and short-term rental properties, plus families, young professionals and retirees. 

Housing stock: Classic Bend homes from yesteryear, including a historic district. Small cottages, modernly renovated homes, with some old timey duplexes and multifamily homes.

Median sale price: River West $760,348, Old Bend $894,948

Reasons why people move here: This neighborhood is what people think of when they think Bend. Close to the Deschutes River and Drake Park, easy access to downtown. 

Parks: Drake Park, McKay/Whitewater park, Columbia Park, Harmon Park, Pageant Park, Brooks Park... certainly no shortage of parks in River West!

Public schools: Highland/Kenwood, Amity Creek and Westside Village magnets. Cascade Middle School, Pacific Crest, Bend Senior High School, Summit High School.

Report summary provided by: The Levison Group

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. (Blame her for everything since then.) Favorite car: A Trek commuter bike. Favorite cat: An adopted dog who looks like a Jedi master. Favorite things, besides responding to your comments: Downton Abbey re-runs, Aretha Franklin albums, and pink wine.

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