Confirmation of a new commercial development in La Pine which would bring a Starbucks, Walgreens and more is sitting on hold as the city waits for a completed application.
Meanwhile, businesses operating in the space have already started the moving process.
Slated for one of the most visible areas of La Pine, the development is a symptom of a growing community. It’s the kind of change that many residents knew was coming, whether they were ready or not.
“I hope that the powers that be look at growth and try to be a little more thoughtful,” said Ann Gawith, executive director, La Pine Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center
She has seen a lot of growth throughout her 43 years in La Pine. The community’s reputation is something she takes great pride in.
“They (visitors) comment on how friendly our community is and how friendly and welcoming the people are,” she said.
Gawith hopes the latest development proposal, which aims to bring Starbucks, Auto Zone and Walgreens, won’t change the town she loves.
“I would hope that that does not go away, because that really is the core of who we are,” she said.
Although the development isn’t confirmed, the Chamber of Commerce has already transitioned out of their old location, which was sold to the developers.
“We’ve embraced the move and now we’re planning for new things and how to fit into a smaller space,” Gawith said.
As for the project itself, the city of La Pine says there’s no green light on the development yet.
“At this time, we’ve received no completed or formalized application submitted to the city,” City Manager Geoff Wullschlager said. “There’s just been a what we would call pre-development conversation as to how the zoning ordinances, the rules for parking might apply to something of what they’re potentially proposing.”
This level of growth is new, but Gawith said she knew it was coming, with rising costs in Bend.
“We became the affordable spot to come, and now we’re slowly kind of pricing ourselves out of that,” she said.
It’s a difference she calls the “small-town vibe” and she’s optimistic La Pine can keep it.
“There was a reason people moved to our area and I hope that we can retain that,” Gawith said.