The Purcell family came to Bend in 1962 and worked in the construction industry. The Riverhouse partnership was formed in 1973 and the motel opened in February of 1974 with 93 motel rooms. The facility was located on an old homestead where a meat processing plant had been located and ran for many years. Contractors by trade, the Purcell family built the motel, set up the books and picked out all the original furnishings and fixtures right down to the carpet, themselves.
In 1980, the Purcell's received approval from the city to do an additional 200 room hotel, convention center, golf course, restaurant and residential housing. Over the next several years, The Riverhouse embarked on its expansion.
1986 - 50 motel rooms were built
1987 - The first 9 holes at River's Edge Golf Course were built and the first residential lots were developed
1988 - 36 additional motel rooms were added
1992 - 12 additional motel rooms were added
1994 - A new pro-shop was built and an additional 9 holes were added to the golf course
1998 - The Purcell family began the process necessary to go forward with the Convention Center.
Over the next several years, the Purcell's worked on getting final approval to build the Convention Center. In 2001, the first formal application was filed with the city. After some challenges, the Purcell's received a lot of local support and finally broke ground on the facility in October of 2005.
The Riverhouse Convention Center houses the largest single meeting room east of the Cascades. Over 1,000 people can be accommodated for a sit down meal and over 1,700 people can be served in a reception. The Convention Center was built with state-of-the-art audio and visual technologies. It was also built in an environmentally friendly manner utilizing trees from the site for the building and harvested native grasses and boulders from the site for landscaping. High efficiency computerized heating and cooling also adds to the Convention Center's environmental friendliness.
The Convention Center has received several honors. The Riverhouse and Kirby Nagelhout Construction were awarded the "2006 Construction Recycler Of The Year". The Convention Center has also received "Creative Architecture, Technology & Energy Efficient Design for 2007", The "Arts, Beautification & Culture Commission Bend Beautification" Award 2006, and the 2007 "Private Sector Person of the year" was awarded to The Purcell Family by EDCO.