(Updated October 2013) When talking about Bend, Oregon you’ll often hear people talk about the west side or the east side with Hwy 97 being the dividing line. The west side of Bend (particularly NW Bend) is trendier and more desirable to most people. On the west side you’ll find downtown, the Old Mill District, the Deschutes River, COCC, hiking and biking trails, and lots of restaurants and local shops. The climate is also a bit different from east side to west side. The west side has lots of Ponderosa pine trees because it’s closer to the national forest while the east side has more juniper trees and more of a high desert feel. As you probably already guessed, because the west side is more desirable it’s also more expensive. The median home price on the west side is $365,000.
One thing to remember is that many east side neighborhoods are still very close to the west side amenities. Ask anyone in Bend how far something is and you’ll probably hear “about 10-15 minutes.” Homes on the east side are generally more affordable and many offer larger lots, including some small farms and ranches. The median home price on the east side is $225,000. St. Charles Medical Center is located on the east side so it’s a natural fit if you want to be close to medical services. The east side is also home to Bend Factory Outlets, Bend River Promenade, and The Forum shopping center where Costco, Barnes & Noble, Pier 1, Whole Foods, and Old Navy reside. The east also now has a brewery, Worthy Brewing Co. The east side has its own recreational opportunities like Juniper Swim & Fitness Center, the Badlands Wilderness Area, Pilot Butte State Park, and the brand new Pine Nursery Park.
No matter which side of town you live on, Bend is a wonderful place to call home. It still has a small town feel but seems to have everything you need in the way of amenities and recreation and I think you’ll find that the people are friendly and welcoming.