|Pumice, like Swiss cheese, is full of holes|
For roughly $13 million, taxpayers get a huge hole in the ground on Bend's west side that they have to spend another $8 million to fill with dirt, plus cleanup, to make it even buildable.
Again, only a fool, or a government entity, would ever buy such land.
Oh, as the daily newspaper duly noted, the state education panel that approved the purchase is chaired by a man with a 50 percent stake in one of the property companies involved in the sale.
To keep it all above board, Kirk Schueler recused himself from the vote, but amazingly, the rest of the board members voted unanimously to line the pockets of their chairman with taxpayer dollars.
It's obvious that the fix was in to build OSU Pumice Pit on Bend's west side because those who gave about $2 million in private fund-raising for the effort likely stipulated that the campus had to be on Bend's west side, even though there is more than enough near-free land set aside on Bend's north side at Juniper Ridge for just such a campus.
But, OSU Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson said that it was important for students to get the real feel of Bend by being so close to downtown Bend.
What she's really saying is that those in Bend who do not live on the west side, don't fully experience the real Bend.
Now, Johnson may be real smart, but she does know how to insult friends and alienate others.
Of course, there are a number of brewpubs near the future OSU Pumice Pit and since college students, especially under-drinking age college teens, love to drink beer, it's essential they have access to some mighty fine brews. Just wait until marijuana is legalized.
But, future OSU Pumice Pit students will get to experience almost all of Bend since there are no apartments or any affordable housing on Bend's west side where students could live. And, the 56-acre site is too small to include much student housing.
This means students will have to live on the east side of Bend, where there are numerous apartment complexes and other affordable housing, and commute across town to OSU Pumice Pit.
This is just fine for the westsiders, because they don't really want drunken students and their loud parties on their side of town.
When Central Oregon Community College, also on Bend's west side, decided to build some housing for students, there was an uproar from the neighbors.
In this sense, west-side Bendites represent the Oregon ethos: You can commute all you want, just don't move to the west side of town.
Of course, the city, which had wanted to attract a "world-class research university" to Juniper Ridge, may get its say on the proposed OSU Pumice Pit.
What mitigation will be demanded of OSU Pumice Pit for its impact on roads, which are already overcrowded in the area, or on the sewer system, which is already failing? Or on water? Or on storm drains?
Will the city adopt a public facility strategy for the first time ever?
Let's hope the city can school the collegians about land use.
But, considering how westsiders have won so far, it's apparent that city planners will gladly Bend over and grab their ankles.