Downtown Wall Street Bend, Oregon: Historical photo


The COVID-19 pandemic is a unique moment in history unlike any other. Share your stories with the Deschutes Historical Museum, which is capturing these moments.


Phase I Reopening

Last week, Governor Kate Brown allowed Deschutes County to enter Phase I of reopening, which allows limited activities in Bend to restart. This includes:

  • Restaurants, bars, and other such establishments for dine-in service until 10 p.m.
  • Personal services businesses (such as salons)
  • Retail businesses, including malls and shopping centers
  • Gyms and fitness facilities
  • Local, in-person gatherings of up to 25 people, as long as individuals can stay 6 feet apart from people who do not live in your household

Childcare, summer school and youth programs, and some outdoor recreation is also allowed. Activities must comply with sector-specific health and safety guidance, which is available from the Oregon Health Authority here.

The COVID-19 virus is still threatening. Everyone must continue to wash hands, stay six feet away from people outside of our households, and wear face coverings when physical distancing is not feasible, to protect our community and keep Bend moving forward on reopening. The Oregon Health Authority will watch what happens in Deschutes County to determine if it can move into the next phase of reopening or it needs to reverse course.

Oregonians can get more information about the state’s reopening process at

The City's Role

With the state directing how and when counties can reopen, many ask what the City’s role is during this COVID-19 pandemic, related to reopening businesses and regulating tourism. Or, what does a local state of emergency mean for Bend? Mayor Sally Russell's Five Things to Know.

Sally Russell portrait.

“Please remember, if you can't stay six feet apart, wear face coverings during Phase 1 and we’ll be able to continue reopening Bend. Although the prospect of reopening is exciting, we must all continue to be careful to keep physical distancing and minimizing travel to keep us from going backwards.” — Mayor Sally Russell

How to report violation of the Governor’s orders

Deschutes County won’t be able to move forward with reopening its communities if people don’t follow the rules. If people violate the Governor’s orders, Oregon law enforcement agencies say the first course of action is to educate people on the importance of obeying the order and practicing physical distancing. Citing or arresting people would be an extreme last resort if someone failed to comply with the lawful direction of a police officer. Community members who witness a violation of the order can find out here how to report violations instead of calling 911.

Stay Healthy Streets

The City of Bend has created pop-up Stay Healthy Streets (Neighborhood Greenways) to increase ways to safely get outdoors for exercise and recreation, enhancing the community's ability to comply with statewide physical distancing guidelines. For a map of the street routes and to find out more, visit

Wastewater reclamation facility

Wastewater testing for COVID-19

The City of Bend is one of several hundred cities across the United States participating in a study with Biobot Analytics, analyzing wastewater for signs of COVID-19. Read the story here.

Flush pipes in vacant buildings

Has your business or vacation rental been closed for a while? Don't forget to periodically flush pipes! When water leaves the City's distribution system and enters your businesses or homes it can stagnate and impact the water quality. Learn more here.

Pinecone divider.

New Online Payment System for Utility Bills! Safe. Easy. Convenient.


This week the City of Bend launched a new online payment system for utility bills. Some customers might need to register their accounts in the new system, to re-enroll in autopay or set up scheduled payments. The new online payment system provides safe, easy, and convenient ways for City of Bend customers to pay utility bills online and via text. Learn more here. If customers prefer not to pay online, they can still pay by phone, drop-box, or by mail.

Fire Free event debris dropped off at Knott landfill


This weekend, May 23-24, is the last weekend to take advantage of the Deschutes County Fire Free event. Fire Free is an annual program where you can dispose of yard debris for FREE! This is a perfect time to get spring yard clean-up done and create defensible space around homes by cutting back or removing flammable brush, grass, weeds, branches, and raking up pine needles.

Fire Free will take grass clippings, brush, plant prunings, pine needles, pine cones, trimmings and branches, stumps or trees less than 12 inches in diameter. Items such as sod, dirt, rocks, lumber, metal, trash or plastics of any kind will not accepted. 

Dispose of yard debris at two locations in Bend: Knott Landfill and Westside Collection site near the Tree Farm off Skyliner’s Road. Knott Landfill will be open every day of the week 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Westside location will take yard debris from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 23 and 24. To learn more call 541-322-7129 or visit the Fire Free website.


State of Emergency Extended

The City of Bend has extended the COVID-19 local state of emergency and administrative order discouraging travel to Bend. Learn more about what that means here.

Additional Outdoor Capacity for Businesses

Councilors directed City staff to develop a program where businesses can request use public streets, in addition to sidewalks or private parking areas, for more room to conduct their business operations under new physical distancing guidelines. The effort intends to help business during a tough economic period. Businesses who have questions about how to apply for this program can contact and more information will be available soon.

Septic to Sewer Relief Funds

The City of Bend understands that homeowners connecting to public sewer may be financially strained due to the impacts of COVID-19. Council approved a Septic to Sewer COVID-19 Relief Program for homeowners getting sewer from the Southeast Interceptor and Desert Woods and Neighborhood Extension Project. This includes extending deadlines, discounts, and expanding the Connection Fee Waiver approval criteria. Here's the issue summary for Council.

Core Area

Councilors approved and adopted the Core Area Project Report. Here’s the issue summary. Learn more about the Core Area at


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