Joseph Ditzler
The Bulletin

Entrepreneurs in Bend created about 325 new businesses in January, while another 69 apparently faded out of existence, according to numbers gathered by a Bend law firm and the city of Bend.

The Oregon Secretary of State Corporation Division registered more than 600 total new businesses with a Bend address in January, a number that includes duplicate filings, duplicate addresses, renewals and other filings, said attorney Jeff Eager, of EagerLawPC, a Bend firm.

“It occurred to us that we can separate registrations by geography, including city,” Eager said Tuesday. “No one was really compiling those stats and putting them into a format that would be interesting to people in Bend.”

Eager’s firm sifted through the January filings to find what he believes is a fairly accurate number that shows the actual number of new businesses created that month. He plans on compiling the same data each month.

“There is some redundancy, no doubt,” said Eager, a former Bend mayor. “But we did our best to weed out the cases where there are two names for one business.”

Statewide, new business filings in January remained fairly steady between January 2011, with 5,899 new businesses of all types, and last month, when 6,149 registered, according to a search of the corporation division online database.

That search turned up more than 12,680 statewide business registrations in January, which includes new filings, renewals, duplicate filings and filings in all categories, from domestic limited liability corporation, the most common type, to domestic nonprofit corporations, foreign business corporations and other business types.

The city of Bend in January licensed 68 new businesses and renewed 250, according to Ben Hemson, the city business advocate. Another 69 business licenses lapsed that month. City business licenses and state business registration numbers typically do not coincide, Hemson said. For instance, an entrepreneur may register with the state but not obtain a business license for weeks or months, when business doors are ready to open.

Using new business registrations to gauge the health of a local economy can be tough, Hemson said.

For example, limited liability corporations also serve to protect assets such as real estate. Plus, the city does not require some vacation-rental owners to obtain city business licenses if they’re classified as passive holdings for tax purposes, rather than for-profit ventures, he said. Businesses that make less than $3,000 annually are not required to obtain a city license.

Each month, 30 to 60 Bend businesses disappear, with another 65 to 100 taking their places, he said.

Business closures spiked in 2007-08, during the onset the Great Recession, he said.

For the past two years, the number of business licenses in Bend has remained consistent, he said. He estimated between 7,500 and 8,000 separate businesses in the city, most of them with fewer than nine employees.

“There’s not really a great trend,” Hemson said Wednesday. “Since 2014, it’s pretty steady.”

Creating a limited liability corporation, or LLC, is relatively simple and inexpensive, Eager said. An LLC also provides most of the liability protection that a domestic business corporation would provide, Eager said.

In January, about half the new registrations in Bend — 155 — were limited liability corporations; 37 percent, or 121, registered as assumed business names and 9 percent, or 30, registered as corporations, Eager said. Registering as a business provides basic liability protection.

“Without an LLC or domestic corporation or a host of similar entities, you’re a sole proprietor,” he said. “If you’re sued, they’re suing you personally. If there’s a judgment against you, they can exercise that judgment against your personal assets.”

New registrations fluctuate from month to month. In February 2016, the state registered more than 500 new businesses of all types in Bend, according to the corporation division, a raw number that includes redundancies such as dual registrations with the same Post Office boxes and physical addresses.

In September, 452 new businesses registered, again a raw number.

— Reporter: 541-617-7815,