Bend is again one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation with a population approaching 100,000.
A new estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Bend’s population increased 4.3 percent — to 94,520 — between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017. That’s a steady pace of about nine people moving to Bend every day.
The estimate ranks Bend as 12th among the fastest-growing cities across the country last year, with populations of 50,000 or more. Frisco, Texas, grew the fastest last year at 8.2 percent, according to the census data.
Damian Syrnyk, senior planner in Bend’s growth management department, said the city relies on data from the census bureau and Portland State University’s population research center, which has a more conservative estimate of 86,765 people in Bend in July 2017.
Portland State University, which draws much of its population estimates from housing permits and housing developments, is projecting that Bend will reach 109,338 by 2025, Syrnyk said.
That forecast mirrors the city’s own projection of 109,389 by 2025.
Depending on the economy, home prices and migration to Bend, the population estimates show the city could reach the 100,000 milestone by 2020, Syrnyk said.
“We are getting closer,” he said. “It’s entirely possible by the time the 2020 census comes around we will have 100,000 in Bend, and if we are not there, we will be pretty close.”
Syrnyk said the census and Portland State estimates are critical for the work done at the city.
While working on the city’s urban growth boundary expansion in 2016, the city used the population data to predict 115,063 residents by 2028. And in that time, the city would need more than 16,000 new housing units, Syrnyk said.
Population estimates are also a key part to the city’s plans to upgrade roadways, Syrnyk said. The numbers help city officials determine what roads are used the most and if new roads need to be built, he said.
With Bend on pace to break the 100,000 population mark, the city is nearing the same size as Portland’s largest suburbs.
For example, Beaverton recorded 97,514 residents and Hillsboro reached 106,894 between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017, according to the census data.
All other Central Oregon cities have also increased in population, and two reached new milestones.
For the first time, Redmond reached more than 30,000 residents and Prineville hit more than 10,000, the census data showed. Madras recorded 6,839; Sisters was 2,701; and La Pine grew to 1,864.
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