Governor John Kitzhaber stopped in Bend Thursday as part of a swing through Central Oregon. He expressed his support for a plan to transform Oregon State’s Cascades Campus into a four-year university.
Kitzhaber’s remarks came at a meeting of the Governor’s Central Oregon Regional Solutions Advisory Committee.
One participant called the establishment of a 4 year university, the single most important thing that could be done to bolster the economic and social health of the region.
In order to make that a reality, OSU is requesting $16 million in state funding. Kitzhaber told the group he’s behind the plan - noting that by next biennium the state should have greater flexibility to raise money through the sale of bonds.
“I expect that will not be too heavy a lift. Ultimately, the legislature will make that decision, not me. But, I think we all recognize that this would be a very exciting addition to our post secondary capacity,” Kitzhaber said.
The conversation covered a variety of other topics — ranging from Central Oregon’s transportation infrastructure — to a push to test unmanned aerial drones in the region.