The Bend-Redmond metropolitan area ranked third in the nation for small city job growth in the recent report, "2015 Best Performing Cities," by the Milken Institute, a national economic think tank. With roots as a logging and lumber town, the Old Mill District of Bend was once home to two lumber mills, which at their peak turned out millions of board feet per year. When the last mill closed in 1994, the city saw a major transformation when the waterfront was restored and numerous shops, restaurants and art galleries opened, now employing 2,500 people.
The spirit of enterprising, hardworking folks lives on in Bend, and it's still more common to see work boots than wingtips on a walk through downtown. Bendites may prefer to be modest, but by many measures, the city is thriving.
Today Bend is known as a recreation destination, with the tourism sector bringing in more than two million visitors and $650 million annually to the local economy. The high quality of life makes Bend a popular retirement destination, and lifestyle and recreational opportunities also make it a magnet for startups. In 2016, there are approximately 6,500 businesses in Bend, according to the city's economic development department, and entrepreneurship is propelling excitement for the future.
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