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Economic Impact Breakfast discusses C.O.’s future


(Update: More area data, link to report)

Central Oregon’s economy is connected with more places and in more ways than one may think.

That was one of the themes of Wednesday morning’s Economic Impact Breakfast at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes in Bend, an annual event hosted by the Bend Chamber.

As economic growth is slowing in the region, over 500 business leaders packed the room to find out what to expect for 2019. The CEO of the Bend Chamber she’s encouraged by the way Central Oregon businesses connect with the rest of the country, despite being geographically isolated.

“Physical borders don’t matter, it’s the economic borders that do,” Bend Chamber CEO Katy Brooks said. “One of the things we’re learning about this morning is how we interconnect with folks on the West Coast, in the Midwest, and all the way to the East Coast and beyond, to other countries. Bend business and Central Oregon business does business in all those other places.”

Lots of interesting statistics are shared at these breakfasts.

For example, 38 percent of the people moving to Central Oregon are from California, while 28 percent come from the Portland area.

Another example: By the age of 37, there’s a nearly 50-50 split on the number of Bend residents who rent, vs. own their homes.

Many of the graphs and charts shared Wednesday came from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis and its report on Bend’s economic and housing outlook, which you can review here:

More of the information presented can be found here:

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson, who was among the attendees, said his agency plays a key role in the future of Central Oregon’s economy.

“Livability is our part of the economy,” Nelson said. “I’m charged with the public safety of Deschutes County, so making sure that this stays a livable place to move to and visit is very important.”

Some of the speakers Wednesday morning included a few renowned economists, including Oregon Employment Department Regional economist Damon Runberg. In addition to interconnectivity, they also discussed the housing bubble we’ve seen grow in the region, and what the future may hold.

One of the economists, Thomas Potiowsky, director of the Northwest Economic Research Center, predicted another national recession by 2020 but still had an overall rosy outlook for Central Oregon.

The area’s economy is expected to continue growing over the next 12-18 months.

Analysts said some of the factors that could slow the area’s growth include its demographics and constraints on labor, production space and infrastructure costs.

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