Deschutes County entered the 1930s with 14,749 residents. Not surprisingly, The Great Depression slowed growth in the county, and even halted Deschutes Library’s plan for the first permanent Bend Library building.
Designed by Portland architect A. E. Doyle in 1929, local architect Hugh Thompson redesigned the building to use wood instead of brick to save money, and grants from the Federal Public Works Administration saved the project. The library finally had a permanent home in the spring of 1939. The original library building today serves as the administration building for the library district. It is listed with the National Register of Historic Places and is one of few surviving examples of the Oregon Rustic or National Park Style.
Also in 1939, the Redmond Library received its first permanent home: an 800-square-foot corner of the new City Hall at 6th and Evergreen. Until that time, the library had moved between various tents and rented rooms in Redmond. The Sisters Civic Club also decided it was time to build a proper library in Sisters. The women of the Sisters Civic Club raised funds for construction through card parties and cake walks. Local men donated their labor to construct a 14 x 20 foot building with lumber from the mills, and the Sisters Library officially opened on January 27, 1939.
Despite the Depression, or perhaps inspired by it, major icons of Deschutes history were born in this decade. In 1931, the first Pet Parade was held; in 1933, the Bend Chamber of Commerce brought to life the first Bend Water Pageant; and in 1936 Maren Gribskov and Martha Bechen established and opened the doors of The Pine Tavern. Connections to the wider region were also made in this decade, with construction on a road from Sisters to the summit of Santiam, passing by Suttle Lake, beginning in 1931. By 1936, Santiam Highway provided a modern paved route across the pass to replace the old Santiam Wagon Road.
By 1940, the county population grew to 18,631, with 10,021 and 1,876 in Bend and Redmond.