Gov. Kate Brown and leaders of the University of Oregon have reached a mutually beneficial agreement that could result in an extra $40 million in state bonds in February for the UO’s new Knight science campus project.
Brown endorsed the UO’s financial ask in a letter to state lawmakers on Dec. 4, after the UO agreed to incorporate at least 20,000 board feet of cross-laminated timber in the first Knight campus buildings. Brown has aggressively promoted cross-laminated timber, a wood product used in building construction, as a possible job creator in rural Oregon. The product — a timber industry favorite — still is emerging, however, and has faced headwinds in being accepted in building codes as a substitute for steel or concrete in certain applications.
For the UO, Brown’s support means a better chance at getting legislative approval for its $40 million bond ask during the February 2018 session. Lawmakers voted for $50 million in bond funding to the Knight campus earlier this year, but that was only half of the UO’s $100 million ask.
Most of the money for the $1 billion Knight campus for science innovation is expected to come through private donations, including a $500 million gift, over 10 years, from Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny.
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