Accessible Bend – Banking in Downtown Bend



“Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. This is about making things accessible to all people (whether they have a disability or not).”

Banks and Credit Unions. Columbia Bank, Bank of the Cascades, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Umpqua Bank, Home Federal Bank, Onpoint Community Credit Union and Chase. These are the banks and the one credit union that you will find residing in the downtown core of Bend.

Why am I looking at just the core of downtown and not throwing in every bank and credit union within a ½ mile radius or 1 mile radius? Accessibility. Parking is difficult at best and finding an accessible parking space where one can offload and reload a wheelchair or other mobility device in Bend is much more limited. Dad - Wheelchair with cane holders   “But,” you say, “there are so many banks with drive-thru options what does it matter?” It matters because it limits those with mobility issues to the confines of the automobile and denies them the ability to get out and enjoy the same shops, restaurants and pubs that the rest of us visiting downtown enjoy.

Once you arrive in downtown, I recommend that rather than drive up and down Bond and Wall Street looking for those handicap parking spaces that you will find have the minimum space needed to offload with a limit of 2 hour free parking, that you park in the parking garage located on Lava Avenue between Minnesota and Oregon Avenue. You will find that it has 3 hours of free customer parking, much more available parking if you go upward rather than fighting over the first two levels of parking, and elevator access to the street level.


I visited each of the banks in downtown. The majority of banks in Bend have friendly and warm staff. It seems they each compete on who provides the best cookies and coffee to visiting patrons. They also each greet you from across the room when you enter.  Between wrestling that front door open and shoving a chair or walker through it, all while trying to keep that door from slapping you or the loved one you are assisting in the back of the head or side of the body as you go through it, you might not hear them. But let me assure you, every place you walked into had a teller that shouted this at you in your general direction when you entered.

Handicap Accessible

Few, very few, had an automatic door for accessible access. Certainly, they all have the blue wheelchair decal pasted to their entrance. What that means is that at the time the entry doors were installed, they met the minimum requirements of the Americans with Disability Act. It does not mean they are convenient, easy to use or even properly maintained in a manner consistent with the Act. Just that they met the minimum requirement of installation.

Once we were actually inside, completing our banking was the next hurdle. Certainly, every place in town will provide you assistance in the event their lobby design prevents you from independently completing the transaction.

Of the banks and the credit union we visited, we found two banks and the one credit union easily accessible. They were Bank of America, US Bank and Onpoint Community Credit Union.  They each have automatic doors making independent entry easy. The counters in Bank of America however are all quite tall and require alternative methods to independently complete the transaction. US Bank and Onpoint each have easy entry, and a lobby design allowing for independent completion, including the availability of low counters and maneuverability.

In revisiting each of these places on a wintery, snowy day, we found that few actually completed clearing the sidewalks surrounding their buildings. Most just cleared directly in front of the building and left us unable to reach the door unless we parked directly in front of the building. Bank of America and Onpoint Community Credit Union were the exception. All sidewalks, parking lot and driveway surrounding their buildings were kept clear and free from ice and slush.



Out of all the places we visited, my favorite was Onpoint Community Credit Union.  They were easy to approach, entry was accessible from both public access doors, their lobby is clean, modern and easily usable, and they have a dedicated customer service clerk that will help steer you in the right direction immediately upon entry.

IMAG1431 After reviewing each of the banks I’ve mentioned, I went back to Onpoint. I was so surprised at the level of difficulty in physical usability of so many of our banking institutions that I wanted to speak with the bank manager to find out why Onpoint is different.  I met with Tonya Bernardy, the Business Relationship Manager and Stephen Wymer, the Central Oregon Area Manager of Onpoint.  As a local credit union based out of Portland, Onpoint is able to pinpoint the needs and implement changes much more quickly as there is not a great deal of distance in communication between their Board of Directors and the operations of their day-to-day business.

Additionally, as Stephen Wymer confided in me, much like me, he has been faced in his own life with the needs and concerns of families living with and navigating the challenges of family caregiving. It’s an issue that is near and dear to his heart and he is looking for ways to work within our community to provide an accessible Bend for all of us. For me, this was important and the clincher. I choose Onpoint.


Onpoint Community Credit Union is located at 950 NW Bond Street, Bend, Oregon. Phone (800) 527-3932.

*Please note that none of these have been rated for the sight or hearing impaired. We have rated for mobility accessibility.*

Questions or feedback are welcome. The purpose of this blogging is to assist and encourage Accessibility For All. Please contact Kathleen Leppert at 541-350-1795.


Best Small Cities for Beer-Lovers

Best Small Cities for Beer-Lovers.

The Bend I Love       We live on Bend’s Westside. I’m not talking the northwest area of the City of Bend. I’m talking the area known to the locals as “The Westside.” You know, that area that starts as soon as you pass under the bridge on Franklin and rise into the downtown corridor. The Westside meanders through Drake Park and heads out toward The Victorian Café.   It takes in the homes built by the founders of Bend; the old Thomas McCann home, the Putnam house, the Shevlin house.

The millworker’s homes often times built or added onto by excess timber they’d bring home at the end of the day. It includes homes that started out as old camp cabins, shipped in by the mills pre-built to house their laborers. The Westside also includes homes built by families who came to start their own businesses as furriers, milliners, developers, builders, lawyers, and doctors.

The days when homes, streets, sidewalks and businesses were built to be convenient for those with little or no motorized transportation as many people still traveled to their work and home by foot.

And running smack dab through it all is the Deschutes River.

A fast moving river in parts that slows down as it shines through Drake Park and is lovingly referred to as Mirror Pond.

This is the Westside where I live. Not only do my husband and I live here, we also work here. We have the privilege of working out of our home. While the world has grown up around this throwback to a bygone era, I still see those times when I walk around town during my daily business errands, when I walk the dogs, when we go out to eat or play.

I write this piece to share with you my love of Bend. I also had a number of pictures I took that I wanted to share and came up with this post just so I could insert them for the world to see my town. Yes, I’m a Realtor. Yes, this is a blog about real estate and investments in Bend. But hey, the real reason I live here is because it is an amazingly beautiful playground . . . and we get to live smack dab in the middle of it!

Live, Work, Play in Bend ~ Love Your Life!

Rentals in Bend – What has Happened?

Rentals in Bend. What has happened??

Recently, I received a call from a tenant asking to renew their lease for another year. As a small, boutique real estate company with approximately 60 rentals, we are very “hands on” in our approach to management. As such, our rentals rarely become vacant. We enjoy working with our owners and tenants alike and try to keep everyone happy and things moving along peacefully. So, of course, we wanted to renew the lease.

The next question though stirred some interest. They asked if they could reduce their rent as they’ve been good tenants for the last several years. Reduce? I can understand asking to stay the same and avoid an increase, but to reduce?

Here’s a bit of what’s going on in the market today. Did you know our real estate market went over a cliff 5 years ago? Yes, it did. In 2008. When that happened, not only did many people lose their homes, but many property owners looked to the rental market as a way to see them through the downturn. They rented out their properties, many at a huge loss, waiting until the market recovered enough to sell.

While the majority of unintentional landlords ended up losing their real property through foreclosure or short selling it, we still have many investors that weathered the storm and still own rental properties; often still feeding it monthly.

Happy New Year 2013! In January of 2013, we all awoke from the holiday celebration and noticed that market revival that started in the previous year was kicking full steam ahead.  Within the first quarter of 2013, median sales amount had appreciated by 28% placing it at $250,000. That sparkle was coming back into the eyes of many in the industry.

Click Here for First Quarter 2013 Stats

May 2013. My tenant asks to reduce their rent. At the same time right here in Bend, we have a couple who contacts me asking if we have any rentals. Something $1,300 or under. They’ve called all the other companies in town, looked on everyone’s websites and watch Craigslist with a religious zeal. They’ve applied for 4 different properties and are the 5th applicant being considered on one property and the 10th applicant being considered on another. They’ve been beaten by others who can move in the same day. They applied within hours of those properties being listed. Their credit score is perfect and any other time would be considered the perfect tenants.

I called an owner I know that manages their own property thinking I would get them in with him. Sorry, he tells me, he just listed the place on Craigslist 2 hours previously and already has 20 emails and his phone won’t stop ringing. He’s shutting it off.

I’m getting calls and emails from other tenants asking to renew their leases months ahead of time because they are terrified of being asked to leave at the end of the lease and wanting the security of knowing they won’t be stuck looking in this market.

The question as to “Why is this happening?” It’s the sales market. Unintentional landlords are selling their properties and many of them are going to first time home buyers. Bye-bye rental property.

In November 2012, there were 181 new residential listings for sale in Bend. In April 2013, there were 400 new residential listings for sale in Bend. Of these 400 new residential listings, 151 were under $250,000. The single family residential market. Several of the rentals I manage were sold within the last couple months alone.

So, back to the question my tenant asked, “Would the owner consider reducing the rent? “

Rents have increased across the board. For their particular property, rents have increased by $200 per month. Keeping the rent the same would be generous. Reducing it? No way.

In fact, after reviewing the market, I contacted many of our property owners recommending a rental increase. My next task? Sending out all the rental increase notices.

Seriously, it’s a good time to buy a rental right now. Not so great to be trying to find a place to rent in Bend.

If you have any questions or wish me to take a look at the rental value of your property, please call me at 541-350-1795 or send me an email at

Home Prices in Bend Rise over 14%

Surprise?? Yes. Here is an article that led our area news last week!




2012 MLS Sales in Review

Latest Financials Reported by the FDIC on Your Bank.

Unemployment Rates in Oregon