A U.S. poet-laureate once took pains to point out the difference between thinking and taking sides. The local media has sided with the new college campus without thinking about issues of serious concern. The Bulletin is but a ditzy cheerleader in this process. It seems to believe that just because Bend might benefit from a campus, it no longer matters where the campus is located or how the decision to put it there was made. Serious concerns about parking, traffic, and stress to local infrastructure are dismissed by asserting that we all just need to get behind the team. But the players who sited the campus are locked in a counterproductive lease with COCC up on the hill, which raises the question of whether people who can't sign a decent lease on a preexisting structure are up for the task of creating a college campus from scratch. The Bulletin and Source should stop taking sides and start thinking. Large new developments come with driveways, garages and property taxes, so there is no point in comparing them to a college campus, which brings none of the above. Simple question: Where will all the cars go? Don't beaver on about bike lanes and walkways. That's at best a drop in the bucket. Put down the pom-poms and pick up a pencil. Let's scrutinize the numbers.
Questioning OSU Cascades Campus Location
I am somewhat of a newcomer to Bend, but I have lived in several college towns and worked on the master plans of several universities. With each expansion the first and foremost problems to be addressed are always housing, transportation and parking. I find it curious that these are the issues here that are being addressed last and the public is being shut out of the conversation almost completely. Everyone I meet seems to have the same opinion. Yes, the cascades campus is a great idea for this town. And yes the current location is the absolute worst possible alternative. So it is with curiosity that I find the Bend Bulletin and its editor so staunchly behind this location. His first argument is that the only way students will be attracted to our campus is if we place it at the heart of everything that makes Bend great (ie. biking trails, ski hills, and breweries). Is that really the kind of college that we want to create here? An elitist expensive four-year party school? Doesn't our country have enough of these institutions with ever declining student populations?
The second argument made several weeks later stated that we need this school as the only viable alternative for all our eastern Oregon poorer students. Never mind that this contradicts the first argument but then he states "They currently only have Eastern Oregon U and the Medford tech campus to choose from." I guess their cars can't make it all the way to Eugene or Corvallis.
So with these apparently contradictory statements I took a close look at the campus location and all its apparent drawbacks.
First and foremost it will be forever landlocked to a dedicated size of a very small university offering very limited opportunities. Secondly, it will be located in an area of extremely limited and expensive housing. Thus forcing students, faculty and staff to commute long distances from the east side. Next comes the problem of the pumice mine and garbage dump with unstable ground and contaminated soil.
So what is the deal with the editor of the Bulletin? Why the support? Here is where I have to speculate a bit. The Bulletin built an 85,000 s.f. facility right next to the campus at the height of the building boom. It has come out of bankruptcy not ago. It is a business that is in its declining years as more people get their news online and advertising space is constantly decreasing. So I guess it makes sense to eventually move to a smaller facility some day soon. Who could they possibly sell that great big building to? Why not their neighbor who needs the space? Just guessing here.
More on OSU Cascades
Dear Editor: I was in Bend last week and picked up a copy of The Source Weekly to read while I waited for my lunch order. I immediately sympathized with the letter and his/her misgivings about OSU starting a campus in Bend.
If you want to know how OSU conducts business with the Corvallis community then you need to be aware of a few facts that have been noted in the Corvallis Gazette Times. There is a real problem with parking in our community. I have now been here two and a half years and the parking situation has only gotten worse.
The president of OSU, Ed Ray, has basically solved the problem of parking at OSU by turning it over to the Corvallis City council. Neighborhoods near the campus have basically been sacrificed to provide student housing. The students park on the street near these lovely residential areas and now there is talk of charging the homeowners to park at their own house. There is virtually no parking on campus...space is being filled in with new buildings. I'm auditing a class and I take the city bus to campus. I could buy a parking permit for $80 or so but would not be guaranteed a parking spot.
The other contentious problem is student-housing apartments. There are plans for a huge complex off Harrison to accommodate students (called near Witham Oaks) and Campus Crest, a Charlotte, N.C., company will be building it. The neighborhood residents do not want it built but the City Council seems determined to okay it.
There is basically no on-street parking near campus. Residential areas are quickly changing. To fact check these news items, just go to the Corvallis Gazette newspaper and check out these items in the March 3, 2014 issue. Good-luck.
—Patricia Fordney, Corvallis, Or.
On Mirror Pond
As a variety of elected, appointed, and publicly-employed individuals prepare to embark on a major decision that will financially and physically affect Bend and the Deschutes River for decades to come, it seems reasonable to explore a recent local public decision.
In Dec. 2006 The Bulletin's Christine Metz described the city of Bend's purchase of used buses in this fashion:
"Two-and-a-half months after the start of Bend Area Transit, the city of Bend has realized it didn't get the good deal it thought it did when it purchased six large blue buses for the heart of its transit system. Since BAT's launch Sept. 27, the buses have been fraught with mechanical problems."
Metz's article also included these two quotes.
"I frankly think we didn't do our homework," stated Councilor Chris Telfer.
"Given 20/20 hindsight, we would have done a lot more research," noted city of Bend Purchasing Manager Bob Griffith.
Letter of the Week!
Bob—Yes, a bad investment is a bad investment. Thanks for connecting for the dots. That is thirsty work! Enjoy a $5 drink on us at Crow's Feet Commons. Stop by the office to pick up the certificate. Why not take the bus here?