Aerial view of River Bend Resort

Aerial view of River Bend Resort

Recreational vehicle owners have a new place to call home, at least for a few days or weeks before they move on down the road.

River Bend Resort in Harrisburg, Ore., offers 95 RV sites, a 19-room motel, meeting space and a restaurant and lounge as well as views of the Willamette River.

The owners of the facility say they’re trying to capitalize on the region being a hub for the recreational vehicle industry, which draws RV owners from all over the country, even with manufacturers such as Country Coach in nearby Junction City and Monaco RV in Coburg falling on hard times, according to the Eugene Register-Guard

“We’re still seeing lots of folks coming here for service,” Chris Erickson, the resort’s general manager, said Wednesday (Aug. 26).

The facility already has hosted one RV rally. Several others are booked for later this year and into 2010, he said.

Erickson and his wife, Wendy, of Junction City, are partners in the project with his father, Donald Erickson, and Tony and Gail Cross of Junction City. They bought the 12-acre property on the bank of the Willamette in 2005, when RV manufacturers were still going strong, and it was clear that the area was in need of an RV resort, he said.

The $4.9 million project had a soft opening in March and has been fully open since May, when the RV pads were completed. Business has been “picking up every day,” Erickson said.

“Getting the word out is the biggest challenge,” he said. RV sites go for $25 per night plus tax, $125 per week and $450 per month. Motel room rates range from $79 to $159. Both the RV and motel rates are subject to change, according to the resort.

In addition to the RV rally, the facility has hosted seven weddings, some class reunions and various business meetings. The 66-seat restaurant, Bella’s, features Northwest cuisine.

The resort gets business from local companies that service RVs, such as Guaranty RV, Countryside Interiors, Oregon Motor Coach Center and Camping World, he said. That’s how Ron Marlow of Mesa, Ariz., found out about the resort. He drove his Safari coach to Countryside Interiors to get it worked on, and that’s where he heard about River Bend. He’s been staying there for about four weeks.

“It’s a wonderful resort,” he said. “The amenities are outstanding. The restaurant is outstanding.”

Rick Kissock, executive director of the Junction City-Harrisburg Chamber of Commerce, said the new resort is a great asset to the area, and will provide “a shot in the arm for the economy.”

“As far as we’re concerned, for the Junction City-Harrisburg area, this is dynamic,” he said. “It’s definitely something that was needed.”

The chamber held its annual meeting at the resort, and members came away impressed, Kissock said.

“They just did an awesome job,” he said.