Bend-Redmond, Oregon Area Number One in the Country in Best Performing Small Cities


The Los Angeles-based Milken Institute released the findings to its most recent Best Performing Small Cities study, affirming the Bend-Redmond area as number one in the country. The Milken Institute has tracked and evaluated the success of metropolitan areas in its Best-Performing Cities index since 1999, highlighting urban regions that are outperforming their peers on key measures of economic health, including total employment and wage growth.

Led by economist Minoli Ratnatunga and a team of research analysts at the Institute, conclusions from their investigation included a list of nine “key findings” across a broad spectrum of factors. While some success factors were specific to the location (i.e. scenic beauty), several policies and strategies employed in the Bend-Redmond area could be implemented in similar regions across the country. The just released Regional Performance Over Time research aims to identify those elements.

“We really enjoyed learning more about the extremely collaborative approach the Bend-Redmond region continually takes towards development and think it bodes well for your economy,” stated Minoli Ratnatunga, associate director of regional economics research at the Milken Institute. We hope that the lessons learned from Central Oregon will be of use to local decision-makers across the country.”

This past fall, Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) helped Milken Institute researchers with introductions to individuals and organizations across the area that could provide perspectives and illuminate strategies and efforts to improve and diversify the economy.

“It was an honor to work with the Milken Institute economists, and to be selected for this study,” said Roger Lee, EDCO executive director. “We will be following their ongoing research about other places in the country from which we can learn and improve.”

For the complete study,

The Milken Institute
The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs, and improve health. They achieve this through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented meetings, and meaningful policy initiatives. For more information, visit

Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)
Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders, whose mission is to create middle-class jobs in Central Oregon by: recruiting new employers to move to the region; helping entrepreneurs start new, scalable businesses; and working with businesses that are already here to grow their operations. For more information, visit


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