BEND, OR -- A bill that would send bond money to OSU-Cascades to help with the Bend campus expansion continues to make its way through Salem. Vice President Becky Johnson says another group from the university will be in Salem Friday for the next subcommittee meeting on the bond request.
She says she knows lawmakers are already struggling with a budget shortfall, "We’re asking for capital bonds, so that’s different than the operating budget but it still has to be paid back over time. And so it’s going to be a heavy lift to try to get the $69.5 million that we’re asking for, but our Legislators here in Central Oregon have been fabulous. They’ve been completely supportive of this and doing what they can to move this through. But, obviously they’re in the minority party." She tells KBND News, "We’ve also gotten good response from the majority party that we’ve met with. So, if there’s additional money - and we know that the new budget projections are going to come out in a week, I think - Hopefully those will be positive and they’ll be able to free up a little bit more money."
Johnson contends failing to pass the bill will lead to problems down the road. "We need to have a building in place by 2021, or we will have to start turning students away; so that’s the crunch. When they allocate bonds, they don’t actually give you the bonds until the end of the biennium. So, even if they pass them this year, we don’t get there until 2019. So, then we have two years left to try and build a building. If we don’t get them this session and we get them in 2019, we’re really behind the 8 Ball on that."