A big moment for fans of higher education in Central Oregon. Yesterday, right before they left for home, Oregon lawmakers approved legislation that will help fund the purchase of a permanent building for OSU-Cascades graduate programs. State Representative Jason Conger of Bend says this was his top priority this session: “In terms of the future of OSU Cascades in Bend and having potentionally at some point in the future a stand-alone university located in Central Oregon, this is a critical step in that direction." The budget authorizes $2 million in bonding authority, which is backed by State Lottery revenues dedicated to economic development. The bond proceeds will be combined with a $1.05 million contribution by OSU-Cascades and an $800,000 contribution from a private donor.