Before landing in Bend’s NorthWest Crossing, Jason Burge and his wife Molly Tilley lived through a tough heat spell. Tilley was stationed in Texas with the Air Force where they endured sixty continuous days of temperatures higher than 100 degrees. When she got the opportunity to interview for a new job in a town with more temperate seasons—Bend—the couple jumped at the chance. “I was so sold on moving here that I told my wife to make sure she didn’t bomb the interview the next day,” Burge recalled.
The interview went well and Tilley was hired as a nephrologist with Bend Memorial Clinic. As the new job’s start date steadily approached, it was time for the couple to find a new place to call home. They met with a realtor who drove them from house to house, and the couple soon realized that every home that excited them belonged to a certain neighborhood—NorthWest Crossing. “It was at this point when we knew where we wanted to live,” Burge said. The couple was fortunate enough to secure a house that had only been on the market for a handful of days, and the rest is history.
There are many factors that drove Burge and Tilley into NorthWest Crossing, but their two young children might have been the most important. “Our kids were pre-K and elementary level at the time, so High Lakes Elementary was a big draw for us,” Burge said. “We also enjoy being close to Compass Park where the kids always had room to run around.” The shopping and restaurant scene in NorthWest Crossing was still small when Burge and Tilley first moved in nine years ago, but it has since grown in popularity as new businesses and residents have settled in.
Having homes close to schools, parks, shops and restaurants was a matter of design for the master-planned community on the west side of Bend, a quick five-minute drive from downtown. NorthWest Crossing was developed by West Bend Property Company LLC, a partnership of two local developers—Tennant Developments, LLC and Brooks Resources Corporation. Lots for the nearly 500-acre, mixed-use development were sold in phases to a pool of builders, using a lottery system that began in 2001. Developers built a mix of custom and speculative homes over the years, attracting young families, as well as retirees who had money to spend during the economic downturn. By 2018, the last lots were spoken for and the final homes under construction.
Today, the development is comprised of 1,175 homesites, with home sales over the past six months averaging around $900,000, according to Cascade Sotheby’s realtor Lisa Connors, who has worked with buyers and sellers in the neighborhood since 2015.
Connors has watched the neighborhood develop firsthand, and even decided to purchase her own family home in an adjacent neighborhood, just to get access to the amenities of NorthWest Crossing. “Many businesses in NorthWest Crossing, whether old or new, act as gathering places for the community,” Connors said. “This not only creates a sense of community for everyone involved, it also makes local businesses very welcoming places. The businesses are within walking distance to the neighborhood, and this makes homes in the area very desirable.” Roundabout Books and Sparrow Bakery have been popular spots for book clubs, while Portello Winecafe and other restaurants bring in people through special deals that are spread by word of mouth, keeping them mostly secret to all but locals.
With a sense of community, there’s also a sense of safety, which Burge and Tilley both enjoy about their neighborhood. “Our kids can get on their bikes and bring us eggs or milk from West Coast Provisions when we run out, or even some sweet treats from Sparrow to start the morning,” Burge said.
While many gatherings have been on hold because of the pandemic, many NorthWest Crossing businesses have continued to operate as normally as possible, adapting to changing protocols over the past year. At the new Bavarian restaurant Pflüke, this means cozy, hand-built igloos available for outdoor diners. “These restaurants are really doing everything they can to provide you their service,” Connors said. “I remember seeing the owner of Pflüke building the igloos out of cinder blocks by himself, and that is reflective of the effort these businesses are putting in.”
NorthWest Crossing has some exciting developments on the horizon that might make it an even more attractive place to live. Currently under construction is The Grove, a two-story, mixed-use building that will have a public marketplace with space for food and drink vendors and shared seating. Along with retail and parking on the ground level and condominiums in the back, this new development has the potential to become yet another popular gathering place, and just another reason to move to NorthWest Crossing.