Central Oregon is the region that lies at the center of Oregon, encompassing the varied terrain of the Deschutes River Basin. Central Oregon is separated from Western Oregon by the Cascade Mountain range, which extend from southern British Columbia through Washington and Oregon to Northern California. At 10,000' and higher, the Cascades have historically created a significant barrier to between Central Oregon and the greater Willamette Valley and Portland, limiting the number of mountain passes and, to some extent, travel in the winter. Because of its geography, Central Oregon's weather is markedly different than Western Oregon's - it's mostly dry and sunny in the summer, snowy and cold in the winter, with light rainfalls and some cloud cover in the spring and fall.
U.S. Highway 97 passes through Central Oregon, from La Pine in the south, through Bend and Redmond, and on up to Madras to the north. Hwy 97 serves as a major north-south freight route connecting I-5 (north-south) in California with I-84 (east-west) and Washington state. Site selectors frequently find that Central Oregon offers proximity to major West Coast markets without the congestion of being directly on I-5. State Route 126 passes through Redmond and Prineville and offers an east and west route across the state, connecting Portland and Boise. Central Oregon is home to a number of long haul carriers; motor freight imports often exceed exports, resulting in favorable freight rates for shipping from Central Oregon.
Central Oregon includes three counties - Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson - which are frequently referred to as the Tri-County region. The area includes the primary cities of Bend, Redmond, La Pine, Sisters, Madras, and Prineville, as well as the Warm Springs reservation. Each of these communities is rich in its own unique landscape, character, and activities.
Central Oregon operates at several levels. There's been increasing recognition over the past decade, particularly among companies whose business is solely within the region, that the commerce of the region is interconnected. EDCO has seen increased frequency of individuals who live in one city in the region and commute to another city for work. With the current economic conditions at the end of 2008, we suspect that more Central Oregon residents are commuting further distances to work. The 2010 U.S. Census will shed light on how prevalent intra-region commuting has become and if average commute times have significantly lengthened from the 2000 Census, which pegged the average commute at just over 15 minutes. At another level, more of Central Oregon's traded-sector businesses have a significant national or international customer base.
Take a look at other map pages on our website: maps of the Oregon and the Central Oregon region, maps of Deschutes County, maps of Crook County, and maps of Jefferson County.