Brookswood Lodge Partner Website

Legacy of Work and Play

Brookswood Lodge Offers Exceptionality

by Noah Nelson

Be it the five-day work week, the umbilical link to an office, or daily commutes, COVID changed how we look at work. Video conferencing, remote document signing, and project management software existed for decades, but the adoption curve—and the dislocation of employees—exploded in the months and years following the pandemic.

Forcing employees to return to an office full-time, or jamming them into a windowless hotel ballroom for a few days every year for “team-building” now feels out of step. What’s needed are places where small groups of employees can engage together for a few days every few months to build on relationships, strengthen brand culture, and unleash group innovation.

Thirty years ago, Starbucks repositioned itself as a “third place” between home and work. Business innovators are discovering the need for something similar – places where teams can work together to escape the pressures of places one and two, and where the line between work and play is thin, if not smudged out entirely.


Bend has such a place.

Almost 50 years ago, three former employees from Brooks-Scanlon left to start a sales and marketing company that sold timber and finished lumber. Bill Smith, who helped lead Brooks Resources, sold them an undeveloped wooded acre on the rim rock near what is now Mt. Bachelor Village with a view of the Cascades.

The deal had a catch: they would have to hire one of the best architects on the West Coast, Don Goodhue, who had helped design Black Butte Ranch, another Brooks-Scanlon development.


Pictured left to right: Scott Bedbury, Steve Nichols, Lauren Irving, and Frank Cammack

“I told him we didn’t want any cubicles, just a lot of open space where we could work upstairs and relax a little downstairs,” remembers Frank Cammack, one of the three former Brooks-Scanlon employees who started Deschutes Pine Sales.

In 1976, the Deschutes Pine Building was built with old-growth Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and high-desert juniper. It had a 1,000-square-foot bullpen upstairs with a vaulted 30-foot ceiling. Downstairs was home to a pool table, a kitchen with a kegerator, a massive 25-foot-wide lava rock fireplace, and restrooms big enough for saunas, lockers, and showers. For the Deschutes Pine team, it wasn’t just about work; it was about fusing work and play.

“If the snow was pretty good, we might knock off work for a few runs on the mountain,” says Cammack, who won the gold medal in the Nordic Combined at the U.S. National Skiing Championships in 1957. He stepped in to lead the Mt. Bachelor Skyliners Ski Club in 1962, known today as the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation.

In 2012, the founders sold the building to a couple of sales and marketing guys who had worked together at Nike. When Steve Nichols and Scott Bedbury first visited the building, they were struck by the work hard/play hard ethos that had been enshrined so long ago. It did not feel like an office. With all the wood it felt like a warm Pacific Northwest hug and reflected the same ethos that had created one of the world’s most respected brands 130 miles away.

When Nichols and Bedbury asked Deschutes Pine co-founder Loren Irving what it was like to work there, he paused and flashed on the memories. “A day here never felt like work,” he recalls.


“We are not just a tile and stone shop anymore. Today, we offer full design service for kitchen and baths in a beautiful Bend showroom. The new division of Surface Kitchen & Bath focuses on providing it all under one roof.”

-Jennifer Nelson, Principal, Nelson Tile & Stone

The new owners spent 18 months restoring the building with floor-to-ceiling windows and doors throughout and massive sliding glass doors into the bullpen for greater privacy. They removed carpet downstairs and refinished the original concrete slab. A few conference rooms and a shuffleboard table were added, and the pool room was transformed into a bar and café that celebrates Oregon athletes.

To bring the building into the Digital Age, Home System Solutions in Bend was hired to design and install a state-of-the-art Control4 automation system to run A/V, lighting, and security for each room in 2013. The building was fully upgraded by HSS in 2023 to integrate full 4k video distribution and Wi-Fi 6 for faster wireless connectivity. Lawrence Fisher, CEO of HSS, is especially proud of the Brookswood Lodge system, and the shared commitment to keep it state-of-the-art.

No matter who owns the building, the Bend location has always been part of its magic. Nearly 50 years ago, the Deschutes Pine team would bring clients from across the country to Bend for a little business and to hunt, fly fish, ski, or just enjoy a game of pool with a beer by the fireplace. Likewise, Nike also has a long history of retreats in Bend, going back to the early ‘70s. In the ‘80s, Nichols began inviting Footlocker buyers from New York to overnight raft trips on the Deschutes after visiting the Beaverton headquarters.

“Scott and I have attended or led offsites around the world in our careers,” says Nichols. “It has always been about building relationships. Brookswood and Bend align with the best of those experiences.”


“We are not just a tile and stone shop anymore. Today, we offer full design service for kitchen and baths in a beautiful Bend showroom. The new division of Surface Kitchen & Bath focuses on providing it all under one roof.”

-Jennifer Nelson, Principal, Nelson Tile & Stone

Unlike most offsite locations, Brookswood is private, rented to one group at a time. “We tell clients that the building is theirs while they are here. It should feel that way,” says Nichols. “It is their private space.”

Brookswood’s bespoke catering partner, Crafted Life, works with clients to design menus and offsite experiences, be it a BBQ on the patio, a plated white tablecloth dinner with a renowned guest chef, or a catered excursion on the Deschutes.


“Small team offsites, ideally every quarter, are becoming a crucial third place between home and the home office,” says Bedbury, who led the Starbucks repositioning after leaving Nike. “Employee dislocation can blunt brand culture and the leaps of innovation that happen when teams are rubbing elbows somewhere inspiring and private.”

“If a team at Brookswood can’t solve something during the day, they usually crack the code around one of the fire pits with a local whiskey or microbrew once the sun goes down,” says Nichols. “Or around the shuffleboard table. Whatever it takes.”

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