Public Insight Journalist Amanda Peacher recently asked our listeners and readers for their thoughts on the Oregon State University’s decision to build a new campus southwest of Bend’s downtown.
We received an overwhelming response both for and against the site — some worry about traffic and the already-tight real estate and rental market, while others are excited for diversity and hopefully the boost in the economy that new students could bring. Here are some answers from our recent query.
“It couldn’t be in a worse place. The only possibility for expansion is onto a former landfill where multi-story are impossible. As former Transportation Committee Chair, I know all the students living in the affordable eastside will overwhelm the at capacity Healy bridge connection with OSU, and the Century Drive connection with downtown.” -Kenneth Chard
“I think I’ll have a beautiful campus next door to walk my dog. I’ll be surrounded by people who want to better themselves. OSU will diversify Bend’s economy and add cultural vibrancy to our city. The proposed location is ideal for recruiting students.” -Lori Elkins
“We live and work within 1 and 2 miles of the site. Hopefully, we will have more energy and diversity in Bend. We grew up in a college town and loved it. I think the young people will be a blessing and the focus on education in this town will bring a good example for our younger students. We need this! There will be some more traffic but the positives outweigh that inconvenience and the traffic won’t be continual. The kids don’t drive 24/7. The college will help our economy which will help us all.”
“I expect that it will be increasingly difficult to exit our street onto Mt Washington or to walk across Mt Washington to walking, hiking and biking trails. In addition, I expect the Mt Washington and Century Dr. rotaries will cease to function as they were designed and traveling by car will be undesirable with trips across town becoming more time consuming. Without adequate student housing on campus and rental vacancies currently less than one percent, it seems likely that the current housing around campus will become rental housing for students, as current homeowners find the westside overcrowded and therefore less desirable. This type of situation would negatively change the character of the existing residential neighborhoods.” -Ann Brayfield
“There has been much focus recently on legitimate issues that the nearby neighborhoods may face (parking, traffic) without equal exploration of the positive elements a campus can bring to a community. The campus will provide walking trails for neighbors to the Old Mill and the River, open space for gathering, and eventually a performing arts center and community meeting spaces. It may offer daycare as part of the early childhood education program and an innovation center so that entrepreneurs can accelerate their businesses faster. These are real benefits to a community, and we need to determine which to pursue and leverage them for the greater community.” -Christine Coffin
“As an educator for 31 years, I see the inclusion of a four-year university as a huge boost to our education systems in the region. I also know many startups and small businesses will span from an education environment.
“Yes, the university will change the way Bend is today — Bend is a very different place than it was in 1976. Many of the people who are ‘upset’ about the location are the very reason Bend is no longer the little town of 15,000 people. With growth and change, we have both lost and gained positive elements in our community. I am bothered by the ‘no change/no growth’ attitude by many individuals who have moved to our area in the last 15 years or so.” -Janie Teater
“I have followed the OSU-Cascades plans from their very beginning. I have participated. I have attended meetings. I find their care, their candor, their community involvement, their transparency, their due diligence, and their honesty refreshing and encouraging. I honestly find no disadvantage and every advantage to OSU’s Bend expansion plans.” -Bruce Cummings
What do you think about the proposed campus? How will it affect the community?