For the third year in a row, this central Oregon city has been the top performer in the Milken report’s small city category, besting the field in five-year job and wage growth.
According to the report, the city features a large retiree population and non-wage income makes up 60 percent of personal income. A hospital, St. Charles Medical Centre, is the city’s largest employer. But, while the aging population is central to Bend-Redmond’s economy, the city also attracts tech entrepreneurs. Dutchie, an e-commerce cannabis retailer, and Ruffwear, an online retailer for pet gear, recently moved to town.
The report says the city’s high-tech GDP grew 4.1 percent from 2016-2017, fueled by support from Oregon State University-Cascades, which opened an innovation lab in 2018. The report cites one liability: Many of Bend-Redmond’s employees are low-wage workers.