(Photo | by Tammy Leseuer)
Teri Myers has a front-row seat to witness the thoughtful and planned evolution of the City of La Pine. Since 2004, she has been working in one way and another for the La Pine Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center, where she is currently the executive assistant. She also serves on the La Pine Planning Commission.
“La Pine is open to change by having thoughtful and controlled planning to welcome new businesses and residents,” Myers said. “We are seeing La Pine become a bedroom community to Bend, and people are moving here from all over the Pacific Northwest because the housing prices are still less expensive than Bend prices.”
La Pine’s population within the city limits is 2,500, an increase of 700 people in the last two years and for its mailing area, there are 25,000 people, Myers said.
Myers said La Pine is facing the same challenges of neighboring Central Oregon cities including a housing and rental shortage and businesses having difficulties finding employees. She said there are plans for 300 housing starts by the end of 2021 and for three new three-story apartment buildings. “We are seeing new businesses move into the industrial park including BadLands Artisan Distillery, Legend Cider Co. which is hosting a farmer’s market and music events plus new stores, restaurants and other service businesses.”
Myers and Chamber Executive Director Ann Gawith, along with other volunteers, were busy the last few days of June preparing for La Pine Frontier Days — A Fourth of July Celebration. The four-day event started in 1998 and only missed last year due to COVID. The largest event in La Pine has everything from apple pie contests to talent shows.
After a tough year for businesses and community members, Myers was looking forward to things returning to normal at the annual gathering. “The pandemic hurt a lot of businesses, including three restaurants that closed,” Myers said. “I think we are beginning to slowly see things return to normal.”
Myers said the La Pine Chamber of Commerce serves as a connecting force in the community by working with various government agencies, Central Oregon Visitors Association, Travel Oregon and neighboring chambers of commerce.
“For many years, La Pine was a place people passed by on their way to other destinations,” Myers said. “La Pine is becoming known for its wide range of recreational activities including the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.”
Visitors can explore the Fort Rock Basin and learn about Native American history, camp and mountain bike at La Pine State Park, navigate the numerous lakes or Deschutes River in a canoe, kayak or paddle board or go fishing at Wickiup Reservoir.
Myers invites people to visit La Pine for themselves to see how the town is slowly and thoughtfully beginning to change. “La Pine is a community that welcomes new people and businesses with open arms,” Myers said. “We invite people to come here to play and then decide to stay.”