OSU-Cascades has cleared another legal hurdle, allowing the university to move forward with construction on its new 10-acre campus on Bend's west side. That is, unless and until the opposition group Truth in Site sets another one on the track.
The Land Use Board of Appeals ruled Monday to uphold the previous decisions of Bend City Council and a Deschutes County hearings officer approval the site plan for OSU-Cascades' 10-acre campus.
“This represents a victory for higher education in Central Oregon and is particularly significant for our current and future students,” said Becky Johnson, OSU-Cascades vice president, in a release. “We will build a westside campus that integrates well within the community.”
But members of the Truth in Site Coalition don't see it that way. They are concerned about the impact of a westside campus on traffic, parking, and housing and feel that OSU-Cascades ought to be required to submit a master plan for a hypothetical second expansion involving property the university does not currently own.
Still, even with the delays and despite the continued absence of a new campus, OSU-Cascades will welcome its first freshman class in September. The so-far unsuccessful legal challenges have delayed groundbreaking by more than a year.
Johnson says that the university will continue to engage with the community as it moves closer to realizing the new campus.
“As we move to the next step, we will continue to invite and address the public’s thoughts and concerns,” she says.
But it appears that members of the Truth in Site Coalition will continue to share their thoughts and concerns through the legal system.
Truth in Site Coalition attorney Jeff Kleinman tells the Source
he recently received the decision and was just sitting down to read it.
"I would anticipate an appeal to the court of appeals," Kleinman says.
Truth in Site spokesman Scott Morgan has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Read the full decision here