A Bend developer plans to build a 144-unit apartment building — yet another sign that Central Oregon is recovering from the recession as counties make significant strides in construction and development.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 survey, Deschutes and Crook county homes lost the most in value compared to other Oregon counties following the recession. From 2010 to 2012, Curry, Jefferson, Deschutes and Crook counties also saw some of the highest percentages of homeownership loss, between 3.8 and 6.5 percent.
But the counties hit hardest are bouncing back. As OPB’s David Nogueras recently reported, Deschutes County home prices rose nearly 21 percent in 2013 — the tenth largest increase in the nation and three times the national average.
There are plans to build new elementary and middle schools for Bend-La Pine, and movements on expanding higher education resources. Oregon State University-Cascade recently selected a new site for its growing campus in Bend and the Central Oregon Community College will launch a new nondestructive and testing program in Redmond to allow students “hands-on” experience in construction without the heavy equipment or machinery.
The City of Bend is also cutting its losses with projects it took on before the housing bust: The city recently sold a 3-acre lot it intended to use for a new city hall for $1.9 million — a $2.9 million loss for taxpayers. OPB reported that the city council members said it was better for the land to be developed to hopefully boost tax revenues rather than wait for its value to recover. The land was bought in 2005 for $4.8 million.
Bend is trying to figure out what to do with the Juniper Ridge development that fell through in 2008. It cost the city $2.5 million to pay for work done on the master development plan. City councilors met with consultants earlier this month to figure out if they should partner with a master developer again or sell the property.
Central Oregon has not yet completely recovered from the housing collapse. Bend and Redmond home prices are still 8.5 percent lower than prices in 2008.