Today I am ashamed to call myself a Central Oregonian and to say I live in Bend.
Last night I witnessed a large group of extremely passionate people come together for a cause—to raise money and awareness and speak up against what they considered injustice with one unified voice.
Under any other circumstances this would sound great and inspiring. However, this group was not passionately united to solve poverty and homelessness in Bend, or fight drugs and crime, or stand against child abuse, or even to protect the environment—all very great needs and worthy causes.
No, this body of people united to passionately promote, protect and raise money for their personal conveniences. The Truth In Site coalition to oppose the site selection for a 4-year university campus in Bend is made up of a small group of affluent people with expensive Westside Bend properties who are afraid of having to share their grocery stores, dry-cleaners, streets and neighborhoods with college students.
This group is bringing their influence, considerable money, and limitless time (most of them are retirees), to bear against higher education, jobs, economic stability and diversification for the region, cultural opportunities and let's not forget, a more youthful population.
I'm saddened and appalled that, of all of the amazing things this group could come together to support, promote and raise money for—of all the issues they could solve, lives they could improve and battles they could fight—they have chosen, and are so passionate about something so entirely self-interested.
I take back the first statement I made...I am not ashamed to say I live in Bend. Of the over 80,000 people who live here, the opinions of 150 or so that make up the Truth In Site group do not even register as a drop in the bucket, and they are the ones who should be ashamed of their agenda of self-interest.
We have a community college that is much larger than the proposed 5,000 OSU-Cascades students, located on the west side, adjacent to very expensive neighborhoods, that has worked just fine. Property values in those neighborhoods have not declined, traffic moves consistently on a narrow Newport Avenue connection, and the students have found places to live.
The west side location for OSU-Cascades will be an asset for the City of Bend now and for decades to come.
—A Bend Citizen for 20 years
It is late and the house is quiet. I have just finished grading the "final" final exam and I am terrifically tired and supremely satisfied. I am an instructor at OSU-Cascades in the department of Human Development and Family Sciences. As the term draws to a close, I bask in the glorious delight of spending time with students who want to make a difference for good in the world. They consistently raise their gaze beyond themselves to see the needs of others—especially those whose needs are easily overlooked and often underserved.
This past term, I had the privilege of spending time with about 30 students in one course as we grappled with the terrible tragedies of family violence and neglect in our community and around the world. We grieved with each other and we deepened our commitments to informed advocacy and prevention initiatives. In another course, 45 students immersed themselves in issues of families and poverty. In addition to serious study and invigorating classroom discussions, they each rolled up their sleeves and volunteered for 20 hours of community service learning projects during the quarter. They were resolved to do more than just read about the issues from the detached distance of a classroom.
I also spent time with 21 human service interns who bring competence and conviction and courage to their community work. Nine of them served in social service agencies for a total of 90 hours per student over the term, the other 12 interns each devoted 270 hours over the ten-week period to meaningful work and professional development. In settings like CASA in Prineville, the Brown Education Center in Redmond, and the Central Oregon Vet Center in Bend, they blended theory and action, research with real-world application.
I am profoundly grateful for these students who are preparing themselves academically and experientially for lives of service to others. And I am thankful they have chosen OSU-Cascades as their laboratory for learning and the launching point for their careers. These are exciting days filled with robust community discussions about important decisions related to OSU-Cascades. Whenever I am asked, "What's the story with OSU-Cascades?", I think I will simply say, "The students are the story."
Dennis Lynn, PhD, Instructor
As a bicyclist and automobile owner/driver I agree 100 percent with Aimee Bancroft's recent letter to the editor, with one clarification: cars swerving into the oncoming lane to pass a bicycle. On roads where cars are driving faster than 35 mph, the driver moves to the left of his lane because he has to. Oregon Revised Statute 811.065 states "(a) The driver of a motor vehicle may only pass a person operating a bicycle by driving to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance...a "safe distance" means a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver's lane of traffic." There are further explanations and exceptions. This means when you're riding out Neff Road on the east side or Shevlin Park Road on the west side, a driver should move to the left to allow you safe clearance, or be guilty of a class B traffic violation, minimum $130 fine.
So, I'm not offended when a car gives me a wide berth. What majorly pisses me is the number of licensed drivers who have no clue what their responsibilities are regarding sharing the road with bicycles, and proudly show off their driving skills by driving down the center of "their" lane while I scrape along the edge of the gravel shoulder.
The thing most irritating about the "keep Mirror Pond" people is that they will make sure that everyone living within the city limits of Bend will be required to pay for this much more expensive option. A huge number of citizens of Bend do not want that muddy pond held back by that ancient and ugly dam even if we do not have to help pay for its refurbishment and upkeep, but adding the tax part more than doubles our disgust. Why do the Pond People resist envisioning how much more beautiful the heart of our city could be with a free river and natural riparian corridor? Free rivers are superior to muddy ponds and reservoirs made by dams, particularly if they are an order of magnitude less expensive to maintain! Ponds bring to mind people in long formal nineteenth-century clothing sipping tea under parasols—not the active, outdoor enthusiasts the surrounding region attracts. The Boise River runs through Boise unobstructed and is a tubers' playground in the summer with sidewalks and trails running alongside it and bald eagles cruising above it hunting fish. Why can't we have the same thing here in Bend, especially since it is the much less expensive option? Here is an idea: how about if we good citizens of Bend clean all the rocks and timbers and century-old electrical generating machinery out of the heart of our otherwise-beautiful city this July 4th with a big dynamite party? We can invite lovers of free rivers everywhere to watch Bend throw the loudest July 4th party in the USA. Let's blow that damn dam to hell! End of problem!
Letter of the Week!
Eddie - While we actually like parasols and sipping tea, we agree that a July 4th dynamite party sounds like a pretty patriotic way to celebrate our city. How about stopping by our offices for your $5 gift certificate to Crow's Feet Commons; you'll have a front row seat to the fireworks.