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Birdseye panorama of the innovation district in Bend during the fall.

Fostering a diverse and growing local economy.


Bend businesses range from startups to long-established companies. Together they’ve helped lead Central Oregon from the depths of an historic recession to among the fastest growing economies in the country in 2016. The region's vibrant economy is service by city staff and local organizations committed to economic development.


Outside Magazine Best Towns cover.

Bend isn’t just a great place to live, it’s also a world-class place to work and do business. Bend’s proximity to skiing, mountain biking, state parks, and numerous other outdoor activities mean the City is featured frequently on lists of best places to live in the US. Notable recent spotlights from Outside Magazine and Money Magazine have highlighted the area’s recreational and business opportunities.

As the economy has grown, large local employers like St. Charles Medical Center, Les Schwab Tires, Deschutes Brewery and Bend Research, have been joined by budding industry clusters in tech, bioscience, outdoor products, and specialty foods.

This diversifying economy and presence of a four-year university campus, OSU-Cascades, helped Bend to the top spot in the Milken Institute’s 2016 rankings for Best Performing Small Cities. Forbes echoed that sentiment, citing the region’s economic growth in naming Bend the 2016  “Best Small City for Business and Careers.


The City of Bend requires that all businesses located in the City or doing business within City limits hold a valid Business Registration. This $50 fee is renewed annually; businesses can apply or renew online at

Depending upon your plans in Bend there may be other requirements. The City’s Planning Department has developed a brief guide providing answers to common questions and identifying city processes relevant to the business community. You can download the guide here.  

When it comes to city policy, the business community has a direct line to the City Council via the Bend Economic Development Advisory Board (BEDAB). The Council chartered 13-member board consists of nine representatives from Bend's major industry and 4 staff members from the city's primary economic development partners. Access the committee roster and meeting materials here.   

If you have any questions about doing business in Bend, contact Ben Hemson, Business Advocate at (541) 388-5529 or


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Get to Know SCORE Mentors Bruce Barrett & Tom Counos

by Ben Hemson08/01/2018 12:00 AM
Updated: 08/16/2018

The Central Oregon Chapter of SCORE provides no-cost mentoring with experienced former business owners and executives. No matter whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned entrepreneur there’s a SCORE mentor for you.

Here’s the latest spotlight on SCORE’s mentors from Tim Conlon. You can always find more information at

Bruce Barrett-SCORE MentorBruce Barrett is Chair, SCORE-Central Oregon Marketing Committee, and a seasoned mentor with the nonprofit for over 5 years.  He served as Chair of the chapter and is a Director with Redmond Economic Development, Inc. (REDI)

He is a commercial real estate broker with Windermere/Central Oregon.  His experience includes 15 years in business consulting focused on strategic planning, business and marketing plans.  He has been a CEO for a manufacturing company in the advertising specialties industry.

Bruce oversees SCORE’s marketing program, including partnering with the City of Bend, city of Redmond and Deschutes County which is experiencing creation and expansion of small businesses and entrepreneurs.  Year to date SCORE-Central Oregon has seen an increase of 23% in services provided. 

Bruce adds, “As a Central Oregonian I care about our economic future; and if I help small businesses succeed, I believe that helps to affirm why we choose to live here.”

Tom Counos-SCORE MentorTom Counos is Co-Vice Chair, SCORE-Central Oregon and Co-Chair of its Client Referral Committee.  His business and civic service roots are deep in Bend, having been in the Rotary Club since 1984 and in the Greater Bend Rotary Club for five years.  

He shares the critical job within SCORE of matching clients with mentors for free counsel.  Tom advises his co-mentors to enlist colleagues to enrich the counseling sessions.  Tom says, “SCORE’s competency is in giving a small business person the best advice within our resources.”

He has forty-five years experience with small business operations employing less than ten people. Tom’s management expertise has been in the automotive service and repair industry. Responsibilities included managing operations, along with marketing, human resources, and inventory control. 

Educated with a major in accounting, Tom achieved a profit for every year in business. He further built a new business site so has knowledge in dealing with banks, permitting authorities and contractors. 

As Bend grows with more small business entities, Tom is the Chapter’s specialist in successful small business operations and guiding the Chapter from Bend’s traditional business base to the exploding diversification now occurring.                               

More from SCORE:

  • Looking to connect in person? SCORE hosts brief walk-in consultations at the Downtown Bend Library on most Tuesdays from 5:30-7:30 pm. Sign up at the desk on the second floor for a 25 minutes meeting. You can find the Library Event Calendar here.

  1. Updated: 08/16/2018
  2. Updated: 08/02/2018


The City of Bend works with numerous agencies and local organizations to provide businesses with the right resources and opportunities for assistance. The four organizations listed below provide assistance to businesses ranging from startups to established industries.

Bend Chamber of Commerce Logo.

Bend Chamber of Commerce

When it comes to business in Bend, no organization has been looking out for the best interest of this community longer than the Bend Chamber of Commerce. Since 1926 the Bend Chamber has worked to support its mission to be a vital strategic partner creating resources and opportunities for member success, quality of life, engagement and meaningful impact.

From traditional Ribbon Cuttings to newer and more progressive programs such as “What’s Brewing" and Young Professionals Network, the Bend Chamber provides the tools and the resources Bend businesses, visitors, relocators, and the community at large need to succeed.

EDCO Logo.

Economic Development for Central Oregon

Founded in 1981, EDCO is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders. Our mission is to create a diversified local economy and a strong base of middle class jobs in Central Oregon. To do this, we focus on helping companies do the following:

  • Move. We attract and guide outside employers through the relocation process as a resource for regional data, incentives, talent, site selection and more.
  • Start. We mentor and advise scalable young companies from concept to exit on issues such as access to capital, critical expertise, and strategy.
  • Grow. We partner with local traded-sector companies to help them grow and expand.
SBDC Logo.

Small Business Development Center

Are you a business owner or aspiring entrepreneur? Get management and technical assistance from COCC's Small Business Development Center. Take a practical workshop or request no-cost, one-to-one business advising. Our mission is to have a positive impact on the growth and sustainability of your Central Oregon business.

Visit Bend Logo.

Visit Bend

The Bend City Council created, empowered, and funded Visit Bend (formerly the Bend Visitor & Convention Bureau) to develop and build Bend's tourism industry. Visit Bend is an economic development organization whose primary function is to create an effective mix of marketing, sales, and service programs, which are designed to produce a positive economic impact of visitor and convention spending in Bend.


Snapshot of local economy (population, jobs, industries) 

If you’re a seasoned number cruncher you can access a suite of local and regional economic data via the links below. Need some extra help? Check out the Deschutes Public Library’s “Book a Librarian” service:

Oregon Employment Department: The Oregon Employment Department's Workforce and Economic Research Division provides accurate, reliable, and timely information about Oregon's state and local labor markets.

The Employment Department’s Regional Economist, Damon Runberg, produces frequent reports on labor trends in Bend, Deschutes County, and the East Cascade Region; available here.

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis: The Office of Economic Analysis (OEA) provides objective forecasts of the state's economy, revenue, population, corrections population, and Youth Authority population. These forecasts are used by the Governor, the Legislature, state agencies, and the public to achieve their goals.

Book a librarian: If you need help getting a handle on data that you can use to help your business flourish, take advantage of the Deschutes County Public Library’s “Book a Librarian” service. County residents are eligible for a no cost one-on-one session with a professional librarian to review publicly available and subscription only data resources

Quarterly Business Registration List: Access a list of active Bend Business Registration holders, updated quarterly.


The Business Advocacy Program is designed to provide local business owners, and potential business owners, with a dedicated staff member within City Hall. Current Business Advocate, Ben Hemson, serves as your first point of contact for city related questions, keeps stakeholders in the loop on important developments, and engages members of the business community around relevant city policy or process issues.

Reach out directly with questions, concerns, or feedback:, (541)388-5529 or @BendBizAdvocate.

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