BEND, Ore. - Several months ago, the Central Oregon Builders Association and the Central Oregon Association of Realtors began a friendly competition.
The organizations were competing to see who could raise the most money for a new building for the Bethlehem Inn, and Thursday night, they celebrated hitting their goal.
Inside the building, which is still under construction, there are dozens of inscriptions on the wooden framing of the structure. They're messages from members of the community to the future residents of this new home for the downtrodden -- a home the Bethlehem Inn leadership has been wanting for a long time.
"We've been operating out of a 1960s motel," Bethlehem Inn Campaign Chair Heather Salveson said. "We just cannot keep up with the need for our most vulnerable residents in Central Oregon, so we have been raising money for about a year and a half, and have just reached our $7 million mark."
The builders wound up raising more money, but as someone who's a member of both associations said, they're not the ones who really won.
"In the end, really Bethlehem Inn wins," Shelly Griffin of Harcourts the Garner Group said. "The residents here win, and that's the most important thing."
The building is on schedule to be completed by June.
For more on the Bethlehem Inn: https://bethleheminn.org/