(Photo above courtesy of OSU-Cascades)
The last legal obstacle standing in the way of Oregon State University – Cascades’ development of a 10-acre campus in Bend was removed last week when the Oregon State Supreme Court decided to not consider an appeal filed in opposition to the campus.
“We remained confident throughout this land use process that our site plan for the campus was sound,” said Becky Johnson, OSU-Cascades vice president. “This is great affirmation and a timely recognition.”
The Supreme Court decision to not consider the appeal was made public on Christmas Eve and marks the fifth decision in support of OSU-Cascades’ site development plan for the 10-acre campus on Bend’s west side. An independent hearings officer, the Bend City Council, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals and the Oregon Court of Appeals all previously ruled in favor of the plan.
“We are very grateful to the countless supporters in the community who have waited for this final approval, “ Johnson said. “We are eager to move forward and fulfill the region’s vision for a four-year university in Central Oregon,” Johnson said.
Construction of the 10-acre campus began in June and university officials anticipate the campus opening for classes in fall 2016.
OSU-Cascades: Oregon State University’s campus in Bend features outstanding faculty in degree programs that reflect Central Oregon’s vibrant economy and abundant natural resources. Eighteen undergraduate majors, 30 minors and options, and three graduate programs include computer science, energy systems engineering, kinesiology, hospitality management, and tourism and outdoor leadership. The branch campus expanded to a four-year university in fall 2015.
The Supreme Court decision to not consider the appeal did not mark a decision in support of OSU-Cascades’ site development plan for the 10-acre campus on Bend’s west side. It was a decision not to hear the appeal, which is the most common outcome of appeals. Truth in Site fought a commendable battle to preserve Bend’s West side from the disaster this poor campus location will bring. If I am not mistaken, the picture OSU provided for this article points to the additional acreage beyond the 10 acre site, that was part and parcel of their plans for the campus from the very beginning. The Truth in Site appeal and other legal challenges to OSU along the way simply demanded that OSU be truthful to Bend about the size and scope of their campus plans. Rather than being forthcoming, they were deceitful to all of Bend in using the 10 acre loophole to avoid proper planning requirements for a project of the true size of their West side campus of 50+ acres. Sad that they took advantage of our community’s strong desire for higher ed in Central OR. OSU doesn’t seem to be a partner Bend can trust.