Listen: EDCO’s Roger Lee on the Ups and Downs of the Bend Business Scene 🎧 | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Listen: EDCO’s Roger Lee on the Ups and Downs of the Bend Business Scene 🎧 

How has the pandemic affected the local economy? New businesses relocate here every year and the Zoomtown migration continues...

For this week’s “Bend Don’t Break” podcast we spoke with Roger Lee, CEO of Economic Development of Central Oregon. EDCO is a nonprofit dedicated to creating a diversified economy and it helps recruit businesses from outside the area which will ideally provide middle-class jobs for the region’s workforce.

click to enlarge EDCO
  • EDCO
Lee has been with EDCO for 21 years and before that he was the director of the Baker City Economic Development Department.

We begin this conversation learning about how Lee became interested in economics: He was studying in Germany the day the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and he got to see the stark difference between a demand economy and a command economy first hand.


Lee discussed how the pandemic has affected the local economy in both positive and negative ways and what the huge influx of remote workers will mean for the future of Bend’s business community and job market. Lee also has expertise in the middle-class housing crunch and explains how spiking real estate prices can act as an impediment to job growth. Finally, we learn more about a few start-ups that opened Central Oregon within the last few years and which now have hundreds of employees.

Learn more about why Central Oregon continues to attract new businesses by reading the 2020 report from the Milken Institute which named Bend / Redmond the top performing small city in the U.S. for the fourth year in a row.


Listen to more from Roger Lee, CEO of EDCO on this week's episode of “Bend Don't Break,” hosted by the Source Weekly’s publisher Aaron Switzer and co-hosted by Laurel Brauns. Every week, we feature a guest from the community with a new perspective on living through the COVID-19 pandemic including mental health professionals, economists, educators, artists, business people, local leaders and historians.

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About The Authors

Aaron Switzer

Aaron Switzer is the founder and publisher of the Source. He remains fascinated with the art of communication even after being marinated in it for the past 30 years. He has many favorites but they pale in comparison to mountain biking on the middle fork of the Willamette with any family member who will go. Believes...
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