Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Keep OSU-Cascades at COCC

OSU-Cascades on the COCC campus
The local daily had a long article today about OSU-Cascades looking to take over much of the partially developed Shevlin Center business park near downtown Bend for its branch campus.

The article also mentions the city's huge, largely undeveloped Juniper Ridge business park/university at Bend's north end as the one-time future of OSU-Cascades.

Nowhere does the story mention the obvious: OSU-Cascades currently is based on the Central Oregon Community College campus and it makes the most sense to keep it there.

Shevlin Center is touted because it would be cheaper and quicker to build a "campus" there. But, as Councilor Jim Clinton noted, it'll still look just like an "office park."

Juniper Ridge's drawbacks are that it's near a ridiculously congested intersection on the main highway in Central Oregon and that it would cost up to $20 million in infrastructure costs.

Keeping OSU-Cascades at COCC has none of those problems.

This recent push to shoe-horn OSU-Cascades into Shevlin Center is more about bailing out property owners  there after our real estate market crashed five years ago.

Indeed, OSU-Cascades bought an empty building at the office park for its graduate courses. It makes more sense to just have all OSU-Cascades graduate courses at Shevlin Center while keeping undergraduate courses at COCC. Graduate students, presumably, have enjoyed the college campus life and look at extended schooling as all business.

Juniper Ridge, if it ever gets a school there, should become the site of COCC after OSU-Cascades takes over its current campus on Bend's west side.

The infrastructure problem at Juniper Ridge underscores the larger problems facing the entire city of Bend.

An editorial in the local daily notes that our sewer system, particularly of the north end of Bend, is so overburdened that some manholes experience overflows.

Gee, that's not a way to sell a city, is it?

In the next editorial, the paper notes that developers need a continued break on its system development charges (or infrastructure fees).

It seems that some dots need connecting here.

The city, for years, has asked too little of developers and got too little infrastructure in return. Asking less of developers will result in even less infrastructure.

The irony is that all this over-building in Bend through the years could result in no building at all because the sewer, water and road systems can't handle the growth.

Wouldn't that be something?

Bend finally adopts a public facilities strategy and until developers solve the infrastructure problem themselves like they did for NorthWest Crossing, they won't be able to develop at all.

What goes around, comes around in roundabout Bend.

5 comments:

  1. So how do you fit the 3,000 to 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students that are expected to attend OSU-Cascades by 2025? Keeping OSU-Cascades at COCC would require additional buildings at the current COCC campus which would impact the sewer and water challenges you worry so much about. Short of not allowing OSU-Cascades to grow I don't see how your complaining accomplishes much.

    P.S. I agree wholeheartedly with your complaint about the failure of the City to require developers to pay fair systems development charges and not months or years later.

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  2. "The city, for years, has asked too little of developers and got too little infrastructure in return."

    "Years"? Make it "decades." The Builder-Developer-Realtor Axis calls the shots in this town. Always has, always will. It says "Bend over" and the city says, "Is this far enough?"

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