Why I Volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Why I Volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Most days, my job title is “Realtor.” I’m primarily what’s known as a buyer’s agent — I work one-on-one with people to help them find a home (primarily in Bend, Tumalo and Sisters), and then help them navigate the home-buying process. But on Thursday afternoons, you’ll find me at the Bend Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore, the nonprofit’s home improvement store and donation center, where I serve as one of two cashiers. I don’t do it to pick up a little extra cash; it’s a volunteer post. I do it because I believe that Habitat is doing important work here in Central Oregon. All the proceeds from the ReStore go toward providing home ownership, home repair & weatherization services for low-income families in Bend and in Crook County. Habitat is succeeding where I fail, and I want to be a part of that, even if it’s in a small way. We’re both at ground-zero of Central Oregon’s affordable-housing crisis. And there’s no doubt that in Central Oregon, there is an affordable-housing crisis. The good news is that the dark days of the recession are behind us. The bad news is that our housing market has rebounded in spades. Property values aren’t just up -– they’re way up. The average price of the 56 three-bedroom, two-bath homes that sold in Bend during the past 30 days was $356,503. By comparison, the average price of the 45 three-bedroom, two-bath homes that sold in Bend during March 2010 was $176,580. Every day, I see how hard it’s becoming for the average person to become a homeowner in Central Oregon. Yes, for the...
New Lodging Option in Bend: ‘My Place’ extended-stay hotel

New Lodging Option in Bend: ‘My Place’ extended-stay hotel

Bend has an interesting new entry in the overnight-lodging market. Its goal: providing basic accommodations -– both for vacationers and those needing a place to roost for an extended-stay – at lower-than-average prices. It’s called “My Place,” and it’s the brainchild of Super 8 Motels co-founder Ron Rivett. Rivett’s grandson, Ryan Rivett, is My Place co-founder, president & COO. The first Super 8 opened in 1974 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. By the time Rivett sold the franchise in 1998, there were more than 900 locations nationwide. Rivett remained in the hotel business, developing, building and operating Super 8 motels and other branded properties as a franchisee until 2011. After the 2008 economic meltdown, Rivett realized that the original Super 8 philosophy of “a clean comfortable room for a few bucks less than the guy next door” was more relevant than ever, with one key difference: To meet the needs of today’s travelers, the new hotel would need to be well-suited to both short and long-term stays. About Bend’s My Place Bend’s four-story, 63-unit My Place hotel couldn’t have a better location: At 550 SW Bond Street, it’s within shouting distance of both downtown and the Old Mill, with quick access to Highway 97. Those looking for luxury accommodations, a health club, a spa or a pool, however, will have to look elsewhere. Instead, the focus here is on providing everyday essentials at a lower-than-average price. (This week’s “seasonal” rate starts at $90, with discounted rates available at $78.) Here’s a rundown of the My Place amenities: Nightly, weekly and monthly rate options Pet-friendly accommodations 24-hour front desk Free high-speed wireless...
An Ice Rink for Bend: Awaiting the Arrival of The Pavilion

An Ice Rink for Bend: Awaiting the Arrival of The Pavilion

Well, the road to Bend’s new public ice rink hasn’t exactly been as smooth as ice, but it looks like opening day is finally in sight. Construction of the ambitious 29,000-square-foot project began more than a year ago; the original opening date was scheduled for late November, before first being pushed back to between Dec. 19 and Dec. 24. The rink –- which is known as The Pavilion because it will be host to warm-weather activities, too — is now expected to open between Dec. 28 and Dec. 31. The winter storm that hit Bend just before Thanksgiving is taking the blame for the latest delay. When The Pavilion does open, plenty of winter sports fans will be happy to see its arrival. Located in what was previously the Mount Bachelor Park and Ride lot (at the corner of SW Colorado and Simpson avenues), the $11.35 million project will be the first public ice rink in Bend since 2004. That’s when the rink at Juniper Park was torn up for the construction of the 50-meter pool at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center (there are smaller ice rinks at Sunriver Resort, Seventh Mountain Resort and in Redmond). The eye-catching facility, funded by a $29 million bond that voters approved in 2012,  features a distinctive “catenary-style” roof. In physics, a “catenary” is the curve that an idealized hanging chain or cable assumes under its own weight when supported only at its ends; it’s often used in the design of bridges and arches. The unique structure, designed by James Meyer of Portland-based architectural firm Opsis, was selected from several options as the best solution for...
Luxury New Construction on the Rise in Bend

Luxury New Construction on the Rise in Bend

One indicator that an economy is gaining momentum is the return of high-end new-construction subdivisions, especially those geared primarily toward vacation-home buyers. These days, we are definitely seeing that in Bend: Not only are there a number of new luxury-property developments in the works right now, but there’s also a diverse cross-section of choices available to potential buyers. Options range from high-end homes adjacent to the new Discovery Park in NorthWest Crossing and a new subdivision of eco-friendly custom homes in the heart of Bend to a cluster of townhomes in an established mid-town golf community (River’s Edge), a modern townhome project between downtown and the Old Mill, a contemporary nine-unit condominium in the Old Mill and a trio of projects within Bend’s newest golf community (Tetherow). Here’s a quick rundown of the new luxury-home projects (one commonality among the projects that’s worth note — all of them are on the west side of town): Northwest Crossing/Discovery Park Drive — Discovery Park, Bend’s newest community park space, opened this summer and was a popular attraction from the get-go. The centerpiece of the 31-acre green space is a scenic three-acre lake – the perfect accessory to a high-end home. There are currently four new-construction projects on the market on Discovery Drive; the least expensive of these is priced at $815,000 (a three-bedroom, 1,787-square foot home across the street from the lake). Saginaw Sunset – This brand-new 20-lot project from Jim Guild Construction promises the highest degree of collaboration between builder and home buyer, with features created by local master craftsmen. Located off College Way in the heart of Bend, these...
More Kudos for Bend’s NorthWest Crossing

More Kudos for Bend’s NorthWest Crossing

 Where to Retire Magazine has named NorthWest Crossing, one of Bend’s most popular westside subdivisions, as one of the 50 Best Master-Planned Communities in America. A team of editors spent nine months and reviewed hundreds of neighborhoods across the country before compiling their list, which included communities in 16 states that offer a well-rounded, active lifestyle and had a positive impact on the health of the towns and cities in which they’re located. The communities aren’t ranked (they’re profiled alphabetically by state). Almost half the developments are active-adult communities, where residents must meet minimum age requirements. NorthWest Crossing was the only Pacific Northwest community included in this year’s list, and the only neighborhood without homeowner fees. The article, which appears in the July/August issue of the magazine, praises NorthWest Crossing’s tree-lined streets, extensive parks and open spaces, and convenient mixed-use retail center. Residents interviewed for the article cited the neighborhood’s popular Saturday Farmer’s Market and easy access to outdoor recreation as some of their favorite aspects. Another NorthWest Crossing  Achievement: Discovery Park Opens Bend’s newest park, which opened in NorthWest Crossing earlier this month, was more than a year and a half in the making, but the final product was worth the wait.   It’s not surprising that when Discovery Park opened in early June, it was an instant hit. For starters, the expansive 31-acre park provides yet another water-based recreation outlet for young swimmers, paddle-boarders and the like: The centerpiece of the park is a scenic three-acre lake, which adjoins approximately 12 acres of developed park and 16 acres of natural open space. Also on site: walking trails, a nature play area, a picnic shelter, a lakeside water play area and an off-leash dog park....
Major Changes in Place for Bend Vacation Rentals

Major Changes in Place for Bend Vacation Rentals

If you’re thinking about purchasing an investment property to use as a vacation rental within the Bend city limits, take note: As of April 15, the number of potential properties you have to choose from just decreased significantly, while the process to establish your legal status as a vacation rental just became more complicated and the cost to maintain your vacation-rental status just increased significantly. You can also expect a lot more scrutiny directed your way, not just from your neighbors but from the City of Bend. Why? Earlier this month, the Bend City Council, prompted by some very vocal complaints of residents of two westside Bend neighborhoods, revised its policy about overnight rentals, instituting a number of new requirements, fees, and policies, and establishing a density limit on the number of what it has now dubbed “short-term rentals” (previously known as “vacation-home rentals”). What exactly qualifies as a “short-term” rental (STR), as defined by the City of Bend? “Any dwelling unit or portion of a dwelling unit rented fewer than 30 days per tenant. This term includes whole-house rentals, as well as the rental of up to two individual rooms in a house while the owner is present.” Moving forward, not only will you need a land-use  permit to legally operate a short-term rental (which verifies that the property site meets City standards), but you’ll also need a license (which governs how the rental is managed). Two types of STR land-use applications have been created: “Type I” and “Type II.”  Which type of permit a particular property requires depends upon three things: the zoning district of the property;...
Habitat’s Furniture Flip: One Creative Fund-Raiser

Habitat’s Furniture Flip: One Creative Fund-Raiser

Talk about multi-tasking: Here’s an opportunity for you to see some inventively upcycled home-and-design projects, mingle with the Bend arts community, and support Bend Area Habitat for Humanity, all in one extremely creative setting. Sounds like a winning combo to me. It’s called the “Furniture Flip Design Challenge,” and it’s a first for the Bend Habitat for Humanity ReStore (Habitat’s nonprofit home-improvement store/donation center, which sells new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at greatly reduced prices). The idea — one that’s becoming increasingly popular in the design world — is to take existing furniture, home accessories and/or building materials (the ReStore’s stock-in-trade) and create something new and noteworthy in the process. With that thought in mind, the folks at the Bend ReStore issued an open invitation back in February to area designers and creative-types to apply for the Challenge, which dared them to concoct three home-design objects that addressed three different themes. The designers would have one month to “flip” their projects, which would then be sold at a public event, with all the proceeds benefiting Bend Area Habitat for Humanity. (For the uninitiated, Bend Area Habitat is dedicated to providing affordable homeownership and home-repair services for low-income families and individuals in Bend and in Crook County.) The motivation for the fund-raiser came from the unprecedented popularity of the new ReStore (which moved to its current Bend location last December). Since the new store opened, donations to the ReStore have almost doubled. And while most of the donated goods arrive in good condition, some might need a bit of imagination to...
Community Redefined: Connecting (or not) in a Digital World

Community Redefined: Connecting (or not) in a Digital World

This morning Jack and I splurged on breakfast at one of our favorite Bend haunts, Jackson’s Corner. A harrowing windstorm had blown through Tumalo the previous night and, in addition to wreaking havoc throughout Tumalo, had left us without power. Before our breakfast arrived, we were sipping our coffee  and counting our blessings (only one tree down, and it fell away from the house) when my eye settled on a young family at the table next to ours. A husband, wife and their young daughter were in the midst of breakfast and yet…they weren’t. Mom’s eyes were glued to the laptop stationed on the table in front of her (her plateful of eggs and bacon had been relegated to a spot beside her computer, and she took bite after absent-minded bite as her eyes scoured her computer screen). Similarly, Dad’s eyes were glued to the laptop stationed on the table before him (ditto his breakfast plate). Daughter’s eyes were glued to the ballerina she was coloring on the sheet of paper before her (her sliced apple and toast remained untouched — definitely second-fiddle to that increasingly pink ballerina). Here at Jackson’s Corner — a former neighborhood grocery store located on the edges of downtown and a favorite hangout among locals — the scene seemed a particularly sad commentary. This is, after all, a restaurant founded on a sense of community. First and foremost, Jackson’s Corner is all about the shared experience. Inevitably, when Jack and I come here, we sit at one of the oversize family-style tables, which we gladly share with other diners. This morning, our tablemates were a friendly 20-something...
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