BEND, OR -- Construction has started on the new OSU Cascades Campus on Bend's west side. The group opposing the site filed an appeal with the Oregon Court of Appeals, but the university is moving ahead with the project after being victorious in three previous appeals. OSU officials want to have the facility ready for students by next year.
"Now For Bend," a new group formed supporting the westside location, is pleased to see work finally underway. Co-coordinator Janie Teater says "Truth in Site" brought up legitimate concerns, but insists OSU will address them. "I think they've been cognizant of things - issues and concerns like traffic and housing. They've done extensive outreach to mitigate these problems and response in that area," she tells KBND.
More than 60 businesses have joined "Now For Bend" in supporting the campus off Chandler Avenue. Teater says, "It's time to get on board. It's time to go forward on a 30-year process. We've spent a lot of money on legal fees and delay costs. That's a lot of money that could have gone to professorships and scholarships."
Fellow co-coordinator Amy Tykeson reminds people this will be a branch campus, and will look different from larger universities. "As you know, education is really changing and OSU is in the top five nationally for online courses. This will expand opportunities for students here to take courses they need but potentially might not be available in Central Oregon."
The goals is to have the westside campus ready for 1,850 students by fall of 2016.