Bend’s Sense of Place
Bend is the most recent community to be designated as an Oregon Heritage All-Star Community by the Oregon Heritage Commission. The Oregon Heritage All-Star program is a way to recognize communities that make the most of their heritage resources.
What makes an historic place or building special? Why is it so important to preserve a particular town tradition such as the 4th of July Pet Parade or renovate an abandoned building? As I listen to people’s memorable stories about the Kenwood School gym that collapsed during severe weather storms in January, I think of the many places and community events that make Bend the special place that it is today. These many stories inspire people to continue to support our community in more ways than I think could have ever been imagined.
In Bend, the Tower Theater and Boys and Girls Club building renovations are two examples of strong community efforts that gave historic spaces new life and relevance for our community. There are all the fascinating stories surrounding Bend’s Nordic ski history on display during the Winter Comes Exhibit at the Deschutes Historical Museum in 2016. I also think of the recorded voices from 1953 of some of Bend’s early pioneers in the “15 Minute Histories” series made available through the Deschutes Public Library, talking about how difficult it was to travel between Bend and Prineville before cars were available in Bend. These many stories in part helped to inspire the recent restoration of Bend’s first vehicle, the 1907 Holsman.
It is this pride in community heritage that inspires so many people to support the many ongoing historic preservation activities in Bend. The Deschutes Historical Museum, City of Bend and Deschutes Public Library staff all came together to submit the application for the Oregon All-Star Heritage Community Award as a thank you to all the members of Bend who work towards a common goal of keeping Bend’s history alive and important to today. Thank you for recognizing all of our efforts and presenting Bend with Oregon’s 7th All-Star Heritage Community award. Bend is especially excited to be the first community on the eastern side of the mountains to receive this award.
Bend joins Albany, Astoria, Cottage Grove, Oregon City, Roseburg, and Salem on the list of Oregon Heritage All-Star Communities.