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Site dispute could delay opening of Bend campus

BEND (AP) — The Cascades Campus of Oregon State University faces a potential delay in opening a four-year campus in Bend, so the school is looking for temporary classroom and housing space in 2015.

A group opposed to a campus site in west Bend has promised a legal challenge.

It has raised questions about traffic, parking and the availability of housing.

Anticipating an appeal that could be lengthy, the City Council has decided to have a hearings officer handle proceedings on the school’s plan for the first phase of its expansion, the Bend Bulletin reported.

An appeal of a hearing officer’s decision could go to the City Council, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, the state Court of Appeals and then the Oregon Supreme Court.

“If we’re not going to have buildings in place by fall of 2015, we need to figure out where to teach freshman and sophomore classes and house freshmen whose parents want them to be in a supervised living environment,” said Becky Johnson, an Oregon State vice president and the highest-ranking administrator in Bend.

The branch campus opened in 2001, offering upper-division courses to students who did their freshman and sophomore years at Central Oregon Community College.

Enrollment at the college is is currently about 1,000 students.

Johnson said the uncertainty could hurt recruiting efforts, but even the worst-case scenario would still see the campus ready by fall 2016.

The school has submitted an application for a site plan for the 10-acre area where it hopes to serve 1,900 students.

Eventually it hopes to expand to 56 acres and as many as 5,000 students.

It’s now using a building on the community college campus for junior and senior courses.

Johnson said finding housing may be more difficult than finding classroom space.

“We were going to require all freshman students to live on campus, but depending on what solution we come up with, we may not be able to require any of them to live on campus,” she said.

Information from: The Bulletin,

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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