It is as cliché as a John Hughes film that every town has its two sides—the right and wrong side of the tracks, the greasers and the socios, the post code envy. But with more advanced city planning and increasing city densities, it is just as likely in the 21st century that gentrification... ...and economic opportunities gobble up those traditional working class neighborhoods, or that a change comes from within, with neighbors sloughing off the chain stores in exchange for neighborhood coffeeshops and gathering spots.
While the east side has been the spinster sibling to west side's decorated bungalows and downtown dining, that idea—and this traditional split in Bend—recently is being challenged by a new reality; new restaurants (see page 27) are popping up, wonderful biking and running trails are in proximity to new housing (see Outside, page 15), and The Source points out a few of the first seeds of this change.
Real estate growth—and potential: With a massive apartment complex under construction near Maverick's, housing is filling in on the east side. Although the west side remains more desired property, real estate agents assure that the first-time buyers are increasingly interested in homes on the east side. "You get a bigger bang for your buck," says Tony Levison, a broker with Windermere Real Estate.
With 3,000 employees, St Charles Medical Center is Central Oregon's largest employer. To accommodate the work force, a major commercial center is currently under construction, with an impressive lineup of shops, including the popular Jackson's Corner market and hangout.
With a newly renovated music venue, Pakit Liquidators—an art-forward junkyard off of 9th and Wilson which hosted the community based Bend Roots Festival in September, and hasn't stopped hosting regular concerts since--is helping fill a gap left after the Horned Hand closed last year.
With the hope of alleviating the highly trafficked downtown location, the East Bend Library opened in March 2011, in what had been a ghost town of a shopping center. "It was a surprise how fast it was successful," says Todd Dunkelberg, Assistant Director of the Deschutes Public Library, adding that the facility averaged 500 users a day within the first month—a number it has maintained since.
"The east side tends to get neglected for services," says Dunkelberg. "We're here to serve the entire community. These are all people who pay taxes and support the library. The number one thing we heard was people saying they did not want to come downtown, so they're very happy to start using the library again."
Once the land of strip malls and big box stores, Bend's east side is enjoying a first wave of businesses and facilities that emphathize unique community spaces, helping grow the first seeds of a neighborhood-feel. Case in point: Bend Coffee Connection, a locally-owned and locally-source cafe, has sandwiched itself between two Starbucks off NE 27th Street—and is thriving. Second case-in-point: Juniper Swim & Fitness! Although Park & Rec first built a pool here in the early '60s, wide-ranging improvements added five years ago have made the facilities state-of-the-art and totally inviting—and at half the price of west side's Athletic Club of Bend making the space a true community gathering spot.
Joining other popular west side restaurants that have opened east side stores,
Jackson's Corner is planning a second market and restaurant across from the St Charles Medical Center. It is a growing list, including Cebeli's, Baldy's BBQ, Croutons, The Village Baker, Mother's Café, and Longboard Louie's.
Jeff Parshall, owner of the east side Longboard Louie's and former owner of the original Galveston location, says that his business on the east side is more consistent year round, less tourist-based and, therefore, more sustainable.
This February, the massive 27,000-square-foot Worthy Brewing complex turns one year old. The sun-filled restaurant is bustling—and, as more precise testiment to the brewery's success, it smashed its own goal of brewing 1,500 barrels in 2013; instead, producing 3,800 barrels. Worthy Brewing is the new eastside anchor. Expect more ships to join this popular brewery in the harbor.