WOW! People. You had a lot to say this week. This selection—three times as many letters as we normally publish—represents less than one-fourth the letters and words we were sent. Was it the spring weather that lit a fire under your bums? Could you just no longer bite your tongue? Regardless: We are publishing a special super number of letters this issue. Enjoy! (And, p.s., we are awarding not just one, but the FINAL FOUR letters of the week).
We are writing in support of the site selection committee's choice for the new OSU Cascades campus on Bend's west side. Numerous potential sites were thoroughly evaluated by a group of highly qualified individuals for the following characteristics: cost to purchase and develop, potential for expansion, appeal to students, ability to meet the timeline of being ready for an incoming freshman class by 2015. The west side site was clearly the best choice. Juniper Ridge is economically unfeasible, could not meet the timeline and would be less attractive to students.
Of course, there are traffic implications to resolve with the selected site, but we have lived near COCC for nearly 40 years and have not found traffic to be a significant problem because trips to and from the campus are spread over 14 hours on weekdays. The Westside Church and Highland and Westside Village elementary schools impact traffic flow much more than does COCC.
This is the greatest opportunity for Central Oregon in the last 50 years. We must not risk losing it.
—Bob and Clella Thomas
Dear "A Bend Citizen for 20 years,"
With all due respect your letter of March 27 is "from the mouths of babes." If you had lived here in the 1940s, you would recall Portland Ave. as a quiet street with little traffic running east and west through the neighborhoods of the lower west hills. To accommodate the increased traffic for growth in the college and neighborhoods to the west, the street has been widened and can no longer be regarded as "quiet." I would guess property values of the homes lining that street have been adversely impacted.
I would recommend you read the Corvallis Gazette, dated March 11, 2014, and study the article describing the ongoing conflict between OSU and the neighborhoods surrounding the university. It turns out OSU hasn't been such a good neighbor.
What makes you think the impact of the new OSU-Cascades campus will only be felt on the west side of Bend? Land is cheaper on the east side and you can bet developers are studying the undeveloped tracts on the east side for potential apartment development.
You state that the new campus will bring economic stability and jobs. Show us a study documenting that the jobs that are created in the long term will outweigh the "cost" of this university to the taxpayers.
Finally, the president of the university has stated that his goal is to have 10,000 students, not the 5,000 you mentioned.
—A 76-year-old resident
Dear 76-year old resident: Thank you for living in Bend for so many years. I'm sure that the Model T traffic along Portland Ave. was quite a bit more calm then. Maybe the students could commute by jet pack? Would that help aleviate congestion? Please enjoy a $5 certificate on us.
I strongly oppose the west-side location for the proposed OSU-Cascades campus.
The west-side location is already congested. All roads serving the west side are single lane and traffic will be hammered. Even today, there's a substantial amount of rush hour traffic at the Old Mill District. I think OSU-Cascades will push traffic congestion past the tipping point and the Westside traffic will be horrible.
In addition, I'm sure the new campus is going to require water and sewer connections. Can the current public works handle the additional capacity?
OSU-Cascades is being incredibly short-sighted. This is a permanent university, right? So then let's plan for the next 50, even 100 years.
Here's my idea from what I read in The Bulletin: the city is considering selling the Juniper Ridge development. Let's just give that property to OSU-Cascades. Free. And they'll have sufficient land for the next century. Yes, OSU-Cascades will have to pay for their own infrastructure upgrades. The taxpayers of Bend shouldn't have to pay for those upgrades.
The west side is just the wrong place for OSU-Cascades.
I moved to Bend 10 years ago and when I started school at COCC I was racking my brain how to stay in Bend for my bachelor's degree, when I found out about the OSU-Cascades campus. I am now a full time student and couldn't be prouder to be a Bend Beaver! As our campus grows, I was excited to be on the ground floor and get to have input on our new campus, especially because I have a daughter who very much plans on being a Bend Beaver herself. Not only do I support the expansion, I really support the new location off of Chandler and Century Drive. When people think of Bend, they think of Mt. Bachelor, so of course we want a quick route to the mountain! Besides that we want to be a part of Bend with the new campus; we shop in Bend's stores, we play in Bend's parks, and we float Bend's river, so why not be right next to all of this. I plea to all of Central Oregon, for our children and our town, approve this new location. Bend is full of bikers, hikers, snowboarders, skiers, walkers, talkers, shoppers, and just plain nice people, and that is who Bend Beavers are!
—Rosie Laurie, student, mom, Bend citizen, neighbor
Rosie - Thank you for actually being the only student who wrote in to express her opinion! It may be a drive from campus to get to Crow's Feet Commons, but go now before traffic gets hella crazy! Stop by our offices to pick up your $5 certificate.
I am sure you have heard from organized activists, university officials, local business leaders and other invested parties articulating why or why not support OSU-Cascade's selected development site. I write you with a lighthearted perspective, as just one citizen who truly appreciates our town, and a common pedestrian's viewpoint. Some of my most treasured moments come from simply walking with my wife and dog.
Sara and I walk our Golden Retriever, Sam, most weekends on what we have coined our "I Love Bend Loop." The journey starts at the historic State Street homesteads, through Mirror Pond and Drake Park, and on to the Old Mill via the Deschutes River Trail. This walk reminds us of Bend's many chapters, the leaders before us that tussled with significant decisions on where to guide our lovely town. I am asking you to add one more chapter to our walk: OSU-Cascades selected site. I support the selected location, because it is the perfect fit, a key puzzle piece to Bend's personality that can be woven in with Bend's both natural and developed treasures; and, reminding us of our investment in our future, and our commitment to higher education. Thank you for your consideration,
We oppose the west-side location for OSU-Cascades new campus, because of the shortsighted planning for parking and transportation. The streets cannot accommodate the amount of traffic that will fill every street as the plan now stands. There is nowhere near enough parking places for all of the students and faculty and staff coming from "out of town" locations, such as Prineville, Redmond, Sisters, Sunriver and La Pine. Even if buses and bicycles are used. Thank you for considering this opinion.
—Ann and Bill
I'd like to take this opportunity to address Bend government officials and the press to discuss the importance of OSU-Cascades and the recent challenges with an opposing group-Truth in Site. I have lived in Bend now for one year. I made a conscious decision to move to this community because of the great outdoors, friendly community, the community college and soon to be four-year university. I was surprised to hear the opposition when I attended the Truth in Site event. It went against everything I believed makes Bend such a great place to live. What happened to the friendly, supportive community that works together to help each other?
With other amazing individuals, we have launched the TedxBendSalon for Women and several leadership teams to make Bend a better place. I am honored to sit on the boards of Tech Alliance, Looking Forward and support Founders Pad and EDCO. While spending time with a lot of women across our city I have found we really need more opportunities to help our unemployed as well as the under-employed to have a better career path and new jobs and opportunities. In addition, many children feel there are no job possibilities here and they must leave to build a future elsewhere. These are all challenges OSU-Cascades may help resolve.
I know the concerns of parking, infrastructure, traffic and home values that have been brought up. But all the positives of this campus outweigh the negatives that have been brought up. I am also confident OSU-Cascades, Bend Park & Recreation, Bend-LaPine School District and the city can come up with solutions to solve these issues over time. When the university opens in fall 2015, there are projected to be less than 2,000 students. I acknowledge the suggestions of other areas, but I think we need to stop being selfish and backward and put ourselves in the shoes of prospective students. Also, if we want less traffic, we want students located in a place where they can ride bikes, walk and be close to the comforts of restaurants, grocery stores and necessities. The students want to be as close to downtown as possible, and this is an appropriate location.
I travel the world for Microsoft, and my job keeps me very busy. I moved to the west side to be near the university and community college, as I think these are super important institutions for the community. I am not worried that my home value is going to decrease. I am not worried that students are going to be crazy and disrespectful. I am passionate about the success of OSU-Cascades and what it can bring to this community. I have agreed (in addition to my job) to teach a course and have volunteered to do what I can to support the institution and ensure students get industry perspectives.
I really hope you will not slow down the progress but agree this is a fabulous opportunity for Bend and all our residents. I think we can work with Truth in Site to ensure all their concerns are met and that we are a thriving community with great institutions! We will become the destination place where students across the country, not only in Central Oregon, will want to come for an amazing education and life learning.
Thank you, and I hope you will support OSU-Cascades to move forward!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The site location does not make sense for the following reasons:
- Initial area is too small. The future footprint is too small.
- Parking is too limited for students, faculty and admin folks.
- Ingress and egress is too limited and any future road expansion is virtually impossible. Traffic will be "choked," emergency vehicles unable to respond, students, school employees and service vehicles will encounter delays. Should any corrective work be considered it will be borne by the city, thus it's citizens. I can see city bonds required, not state bonds.
Let's take our time and not try to jam a square peg into a round hole.
You get tons of letters so I will keep this short.
There is plenty of room for expansion when needed and after some 20 years in the planning, it is time to break ground.
Growth in Bend is inevitable. Something will occupy that property and will have an impact on the adjoining area in any event. It has been years and years we've been talking about the benefits of a university here, and it's time to have it happen.
With the governor and the state legislature behind this effort and the overwhelming support from the community and the City of Bend, it is time to break ground.
My wife and I have lived here in Bend since 1969 and without doubt the building of this four-year university is the most important and exciting thing we have experienced.
—Loren and Sally Irving
Universities are awful neighbors. Consider the experiences Corvallis and Eugene have policing the U of O and OSU campuses and adjacent neighborhoods. There is no evidence that any thought has been given to funding these additional policing expenses. The campus will increase crowding and traffic on the Westside.
—John C. Driscoll
John - We agree. College students are horrible! Here's a $5 gift certificate at Crow's Feet Commons. We hope there are none of those pesky students studying there.
I moved to Bend two years ago with my family of two children. My wife and I are separately small business owners who have been slowly working to find local talent to work for our companies in the technology, marketing and research areas. The work to get OSU Cascades a full program is important for the growth of Bend to bring more potential employees and employers to our areas which will help the community and contribute more to the great dynamic that is growing here in Central Oregon.
I also support the selected location for OSU Cascades on the west side of Bend where we live, as it will help bring a great place for attracting students and the growing climate for new business and future interns and employees.
Regards, Mark Smith, CEO & Chief Research Officer,
The preliminary design OSU has presented seems appropriate where the campus would be plopped down in the middle of downtown Portland. Clearly Bend's Westside residents don't think Bend is like Portland and don't want Bend to become Portland.
—Dr. Kimble J. Clark
Apparently because of pressure to meet certain goals established by one or more important state officials, as well as encouragement from other political and educational supporters, OSU-Cascades has chosen to pursue its major campus development project by establishing a very short (and in effect artificial) timetable for the opening of the campus in the fall of 2015, and by splitting the development of the campus into separate phases, which individually might appear to be acceptable and desirable, but when considered as a whole, will cause major environmental impacts (traffic, transportation, parking, air quality, resource use, housing and planning constraints) and impose heavy financial burdens on the City of Bend, and particularly on the established communities immediately surrounding the proposed campus site.
In California, for example, when a proposed phased project is presented to a city or county for discretionary zoning or planning approvals, the overall "end project" is required to be described and evaluated for environmental review purposes. In such instances, the sponsor of the project is required to provide to the appropriate local jurisdiction, for purposes of planning and environmental review and analysis, a full description of the phased project, including the sponsor's reasonable assumptions and projections regarding the ultimate size, character, population, timing, design and configuration of the proposed phased project upon full completion.
While we are not in California, of course, the California experience is relevant to proper and prudent land use planning considerations in connection with the siting and approval of a significant project, particularly one that will be located in a growing community, such as Bend, that over time will experience additional stresses and strains on city and community environmental, financial and educational resources, lifestyles and health and social welfare needs.
We reserve the right to provide additional comments as the approval process proceeds.
Thank you for your consideration,
—Carl (Kim) Seneker and Julie Seneker
I firmly believe that OSU-Cascades' presence, located at the current proposed site, will have such a remarkably positive impact on the future of our community. I support the current proposed location. Bringing a land-grant, accredited university to Bend will provide an anchor to which a breadth of economic drivers can attach, moving our community toward a remarkably stable and sustainable economy. Further, it provides a cultural and social center that will elevate the educational capacity of our citizens and provides them with an opportunity for higher levels of local, regional, national and international debate and conversations, transforming our community into a global one rather than an isolated oasis in the desert. Centering OSU-Cascades in the heart of our community at Mt. Washington Drive and Simpson Ave. will reinforce that anchoring capacity.
Having grown up in university communities across the United States (Auburn, Ames, Corvallis), I can say without a doubt that it was because of the universities being anchored in the hub of those communities, rather than the outskirts, that I grew up in what truly felt like a global village. Because of the central location, all three communities developed infrastructures that managed the demands. It often takes a single moving part like OSU-Cascades to assist in making infrastructure changes possible. The area at Mt. Washington Drive and Simpson Ave. will be developed. It is not a question of if, it is a question of when.
A diverse collection of students, faculty and staff living and working in this area will add an immense amount of new ideas, opportunities and experiences to our town's core. Again, having grown up uniquely in university towns across the country, I can state that I was positively impacted by the exposure. The fear-based justification to move OSU-Cascades to the edge of town due to "partying" and "irresponsible students" is neglecting the majority of those who attend universities. I feel fortunate that I grew up in other communities that embraced that concept and want the same for the kids and families growing up here.
I am writing concerning the proposed location for the new OSU-Cascades campus. While I am pleased that OSU wants to have a four-year campus in central Oregon, I am not at all pleased with the currently proposed location for the following reasons.
1. Traffic - there is currently a lack of viable roadways for students and faculty to arrive at the intended destination.
2. Parking - I believe OSU-Cascades plans some 300 parking places at the proposed location for some 2000 students. While I understand that (a) not all students and faculty will drive and (b) not all students and faculty will be there during the full class day I do not believe that 300 parking places will suffice. Having gone to college in Corvallis (albeit many years ago) I know that parking around the campus was always a problem. There is not much if any street parking in the area and the idea that students and faculty will use public transport, while a great idea, is probably not very workable. For those who think it will work I would recommend they go look at who is currently riding on our bus system and see why it is that they are doing so - I believe you will find that they would not choose to do so if they had another option. People nowadays, and more so in Central Oregon, drive rather than bike or walk.
3. Growth - The current location does not allow for much growth of the campus. I think this is very shortsighted.
4. Housing - There will be a large number of students who will need housing. While some people may be concerned about property values suffering from having students renting houses that is not my primary concern. What does concern me is where they will find housing. I think that available housing on the west side is extremely limited and quite expensive. Students will be forced to rent farther from the college.
5. Selection of the Location - As a designer and builder of furniture, I know the pitfall of making all decisions based on one assumption or choice. In this case, I do not believe that OSU looked at any locations that were not on the westside of Bend. This choice has driven them into finding this one location and deciding that any problems with it can be overcome. Unfortunately, this translates into the people of Bend having to live with the problems, as OSU-Cascades will not fund changes to our infrastructure to fix them.
6. OSU-Cascades' desire for students to have an aesthetic experience - OSU has stated that they want the current location so that the students will have existing facilities (restaurants, bars) within easy reach. While I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, I do think it is not the purpose of college. We already have a lot for students to do - hiking, skiing, fishing, climbing, mountain biking, road biking, sports bars, microbreweries, restaurants - all over town and right around most every corner. I am pretty sure that wherever the OSU-Cascades campus is sited, the microbreweries and restaurants will move in. Thanks,
Locating the new four-year OSU-Cascades campus in the west-side location does not conform to a 100-year view necessary for this type of long-term project. The neighborhood is already congested and there will be little room for the university to expand in the future–where would we place a "drone research center" or an "agricultural support center" or a sports facilities? These programs would be valuable to our economy but would not fit on the proposed west-side location.
- David C. White
Dear City and County Official and Responsible Citizens:
I am appalled at the proposal (and the lack of public process) to create an OSU-Cascades campus on the west side of Bend.
I am opposed to creating a student campus in this location, because it's one the most expensive residential areas of Bend and because of the burden of traffic it will create on Century Drive, which is already dangerously over crowded and over traveled.
This is especially the situation during the winter months, when the ski-mountain traffic is already bumper to bumper down the hill into town. The roundabouts are plugged, the businesses on Century are difficult to access. Pulling out onto Century Drive from the stores on there is dangerous and time consuming.
Please consider this opposition, as it will only grow stronger and get more strident as you ignore the process of the peoples' opinions.
resident and taxpayer since 1988,
retired executive Director for Bend-La Pine School District,
Owner, Craveiro Consulting Company, LLC
We support the selected location for many reasons. Most importantly, because we know the OSU-Cascades team and their professional partners did their due diligence.
They looked at all locations around Bend and the selected location at 1500 Chandler Drive looks to be the best because of its location, size, supporting infrastructure, surrounding and desirable amenities.
Other locations did not meet the requirements. Juniper Ridge, although large in size is completely out of the question. There is no supporting infrastructure and the estimated $25 million to develop it is not remotely available. Then there is the Highway 97 Interchange required by ODOT. We heard that would be $40 million and about 10 years away? So, even the City of Bend has given up on this. Besides, there is not a nearby bike path to a pub or pizza place!
We are dismayed by the opposition's timing. Why did they wait until after the first phase was sold to OSU-Cascades? The teams held many, many meetings, public notices were made and sent, were very transparent, and unlike the opposition, withheld no information. Are the taxes, public funds, donations and many hours invested by thousand of diverse supporters in the community going to be wasted, thwarted by a few folks who refused to be confused by the facts. Please!? The selected OSU-Cascades location is good for Bend, Central Oregon, OSU and our future!
—Jeff and Kathy Gates
Dear Mayor Clinton,
Most of the homeowners in the surrounding area have paid higher dollar amounts both for purchase of their homes and in property taxes. A factor in the decision to spend extra money is that all of the surrounding housing neighborhoods have high standards in their covenants—how would the OSU-Cascades campus design their campus to fit with these high standards? How will OSU and the City of Bend support the surrounding neighborhoods high standards with regard to appearance, property value and safety? How will OSU-Cascades enforce student compliance with these high standards if they are living and utilizing the surrounding neighborhoods?
It feels as if this project is being ramrodded through without the appropriate due diligence for a decision that will change the City of Bend's landscape forever. I completely understand why OSU-Cascades would like this location, the infrastructure is in place to get the project started now, it is in one of the prettiest locations in Bend, it has the easiest access to the mountains and the river still available in Bend. However, just because it is the most convenient for OSU-Cascades, should our community of Bend risk the problems, health risks, costs, inconveniences without comprehensive discussion on the issues.
I am not a builder, nor a architect, engineer or city planner, but it seems that we have other locations in Bend.
—Stephen M. Leary
To All Concerned:
My wife, Nansee, and I have been Bend residents for over 20 years and would like to voice our opposition to the proposed location for OSU-Cascades new campus for the following reasons:
1) Traffic - Anyone who doesn't think we've got a traffic problem on the westside of Bend right now doesn't spend much time driving on the west side. It's already a congested mess at times, adding more traffic will over-tax a system that's already broken. Let's apply a little common sense here, folks.
2) Cost of Infrastructure - Speaking of taxes, who pays for the additional infrastructure required to serve this addition? The local taxpayer, of course. ANY new entity, private or public, needs to pay their fair share for services used, be it fire, police, sewer, water, transportation, etc. Regardless of location, OSU-Cascades needs to foot the bill for these costs. The city needs to mandate this as a condition of any approval.
3) Size - The proposed location does not adequately provide enough space for the forecast student count and leaves no room for expansion, compared to other four-year universities around the country. This campus would be of the smallest 1 percent nationally.
4) Emergency Response - Because of problems delineated in No. 1 above, you will be putting the public in danger due to slower emergency response times.
5) Affordable Housing - Once again, anyone using common sense can see that there is no affordable housing on the west side. We currently have less than 1 percent vacancy in the rental market. As land costs are cheaper on the east side, students will be renting there and commuting to the west side campus, further aggravating the traffic issues.
6) Tax base - The proposed location is prime development land for the private sector, which would provide millions of dollars in SDCs and property tax revenue for years to come. The last time I looked, the city is basically broke due primarily to financial mis-management of public funds, and lack of vision for growth management.
7) "We have to pass this, so we can see what's in it ... " Sound familiar? That's the line being used with the campus selection. "Building it, so we can work through the potential problems" is poor public policy. The problems are clear. The solutions being offered are not. Suggesting that the traffic concerns can be eliminated through class scheduling, mass transit and other commuter options, is fallacy ... as are other proffered remedies.
8) Quality of Life: The very reasons we love Bend are being threatened with more growth. Unless we do a better job planning for growth, we will continue to see our quality of life diminish. Stacking more people on top of one another does not make anyone's life better.
Unfortunately, our city planners, council members, managers in years past have a history of making terrible decisions that have dearly cost the taxpayers. The common thread is that short-sighted solutions have been chosen for long-term problems. Comprehensive planning for growth that is sustainable and affordable is what is required. Please reverse the trend and require an alternative site. If none can be found, I would submit we are better off doing without for now.
—Jim and Nansee Bruce
The last Bend Canada goose extermination occurred four years ago. Since then, using a multi-pronged system of purely humane methods, Bend Park & Recreation District has succeeded in stabilizing the resident goose population. We can continue this unblemished and commendable record of humane management by encouraging BPRD to continue its program of egg oiling and dog hazing.
Geese are the product of millions of years of evolution; they have developed uncanny survival skills, including amazing adeptness at nesting.
One way to help avoid future exterminations is by reporting the locations of goose nests. When notified, Sasha Sulia, BPRD's new natural resources manager, can then take steps to make sure the eggs are oiled, thus preventing hatching.
Some of us may object to the idea of preventing the hatching of goose eggs. But this is the middle way—a non-extreme form of population management that happens to be humane AND effective.
Foster - Thank you for talking about something other than OSU-Cascades! Although we hear that the campus may be accepting applications from geese. Please stop by to pick up your non-oiled $5 certificate from Crow's Feet Commons.