Now that Oregon legislators backed $16 million in bonds for an Oregon State University branch campus in Bend, it's a wonder why they did so given the fact that there is no location for the school just yet.
Yes, a few million was raised locally for OSU-Cascades, which currently occupies its own building on the campus of Central Oregon Community College in west Bend.
For the past decade, the city of Bend has been trying to lure a four-year, "world class" research university to its fledgling mixed-use project, Juniper Ridge, on Bend's north end.
But, the current "brain trust" at OSU-Cascades rejected Juniper Ridge because it would take too much expensive infrastructure to make it a reality.
Meanwhile, property owners in and around the Shevlin Center, a business "park" on Bend's west side, were preparing for a heroin fix of government money to cash in at the public's expense with the hope of siting the branch campus amid a hodge-podge of office buildings.
Now, the daily newspaper says OSU-Cascades is looking at the former Deschutes County demolition landfill on Bend's west side for the new campus.
Are you kidding me? WTF?
There is no infrastructure at the site, so it would make no sense to choose this location over Juniper Ridge, since Juniper Ridge is designed to handle traffic that a 5,000-student university would generate. The west side of Bend is designed to handle no more traffic than it currently does.
The real problem with the former 68-acre demo landfill is that it was already the subject of a lawsuit when a boy was badly burned there from the subterranean fires that still burn to this day from all the construction debris dumped there.
Plus, throw in the probability of hazardous waste being chucked there over the years and you have a potential catastrophe on your hands.
Plus, 68 acres is too small. When COCC was created in the early 1960s, 100 acres was considered the minimum amount of space.
When you allow for student housing, OSU-Cascades would need even more than 100 acres for its campus.
I would expect such nucklehead thinking from the University of Oregon since it gave up its engineering college decades ago.
But, OSU is known for its engineering school. Have these folks lost all sense of deductive reasoning?
Do they know what they're doing?
Since the educated folks at the higher ed levels in this state cannot envision the scenic campus of COCC evolving into OSU-Cascades, than Juniper Ridge is the only real alternative for the branch campus.
It's more centrally located for the population of Central Oregon. Plus, Juniper Ridge was designed for such an institution. The west side of Bend is not designed for anything but boutique shops and brewpubs.
If the "smart" folks can't figure out where to site OSU-Cascades, put it up for a vote of the people, like what happened decades ago when Bend was picked over Redmond for COCC.
Clearly, there is no need to rush into a disastrous decision.
We've lived this long without a legitimate four-year university. We can wait a few more years until we get this right.