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Bend retirees don't buy 'worst state' ranking

By Kandra Kent
Published On: May 09 2013 09:00:35 PM CDT
Updated On: May 10 2013 07:08:56 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Kandra Kent spoke with Bend retirees about living in Central Oregon, as well as a tax expert.

BEND, Ore. -

Bend residents Sharyl and William Balker have pretty much seen it all when it comes to climate in America.

"We lived in Alaska for 15 years, wanted to warm up, went to Florida -- we were in Florida for 20 years," Sheryl said Thursday.

Yes, they lived in the nation's retirement capital, but they say after visiting Bend they found the place to settle and live out their leisure days.

"It's so wonderful here -- the medical facilities, the parks, the attitude, the philosophy of the people," Sheryl said.

So they were a bit shocked to learn a recent report named Oregon the worst state to retire in.

"They weren't looking at Bend, because Bend is wonderful," William said.

True, the report didn't look at outdoor scenery, recreation, golf courses or family.

But we're known for these elements, and retirees say it's a lot of what draws them here.

"I have three sons in a 150-mile radius, and my wife and I moved here 25 years ago," said an 88-year-old Bend resident.

The Balkers also appreciate Bend's dog-friendly nature.

"The dog parks -- we've never been in a town that embraced dogs, which we, of course, love," Sheryl said.

Instead, the report looked at factors like access to medical care, crime, cost of living, temperature and taxes.

"Unfortunately, our local income tax rate in Oregon is traditionally high and remains high compared to other states in the nation," said Brian Newton, senior manager of Jones and Roth CPAs and Business Advisors.

And if you're going to die in Oregon, you could be hit with the estate tax -- or, as critics call it, the "death tax."

"And in addition to that, our $1 million exemption from that estate tax is relatively low, comparatively, as well," Newton said.

Retirees told NewsChannel 21 they like the medical facilities and doctors here, and feel safe in their neighborhoods.

Another plus? No big bugs.

"I love the city -- no humidity, no bugs, wonderful climate," said a woman who grew up in Louisiana.

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