OSU-Cascades announced today that it plans to begin construction on the contested 10-acre westside campus once it receives the necessary permits from the City. Officials say they anticipate getting permits for construction activities such as excavation and tree removal during the last week of June.
Though citizen-led opposition group Truth in Site has indicated it plans to appeal the recent decision by the Land Use Board of Appeals affirming the approval of OSU's site plan, university officials say they are confident the Court of Appeals will uphold the past three approvals of their plan.
“OSU carefully reviewed the June 8 decision by LUBA affirming OSU-Cascades' site plan approval for a 10.44-acre campus in Bend,” OSU Vice President Becky Johnson said in a release. “The LUBA decision fully and strongly affirmed the city of Bend's approval of this site plan.”
And the university is within its rights to move forward with construction even when an appeal is pending.
“Under local code and state law, development is allowed to continue while an appeal is pending," Johnson said. “Oregon State is confident that significant construction progress can be made while a potential appeal is being considered and still allow the university to adjust to changes that could result from an unlikely remand or reversal by the Court of Appeals.”
First on the list: a 43,650-square-foot academic building and a 113,000-square-foot residence hall and dining center complex, along with the related infrastructure—streets, pathways and parking.
The hope is that by starting construction this summer, OSU-Cascades will be able to open the fully-fledged four-year campus in fall of 2016.
In the meantime, Truth in Site is soliciting donations from supporters to raise $27,000 before June 29 to fund the next appeal.