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Oregon State president Ed Ray says site of Bend campus is settled

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BEND, Oregon — Oregon State University President Ed Ray said he's from New York and not prone to scare. And that's one reason why neighborhood opposition won't make him alter OSU's plan to put its expanded Central Oregon campus on the west side of Bend.

Ray referred to his roots when asked during a visit to Bend about a group's vow to place legal obstacles in the university's path.

"I grew up in New York City," he said. "So one of the things I tell people is that when somebody gets in my face, I get homesick. ... The notion that someone is going to intimidate me is a non-starter."

Oregon State University-Cascades' expansion into a four-year school fulfills a goal the university-free region had for decades. But the decision to place the new campus on the west side — where downtown is located — has met opposition from people concerned about increased traffic and changes to the character of residential neighborhoods.

KTVZ and The Bulletin newspaper report that Ray was asked during a question-and-answer session Wednesday whether it would be possible to put the campus on the north side of the city, where traffic is less of an issue. Ray said: "The simple answer is no."

The branch campus opened in 2001 with a "two-plus-two" model in which students take freshman and sophomore classes at Central Oregon Community College and upper-division courses at OSU-Cascades. The model has made it difficult to attract out-of-state and international students who pay the much higher tuition rates needed to subsidize those who pay in-state rates.

The new campus on a 56-acre site is scheduled to open in 2015. Enrollment, currently at about 1,000 students, is expected to grow to 3,000-to-5,000 students by 2025.

"We will not let the campus grow any faster than we are able to address and accommodate important matters such as student housing, traffic, quality of life, sustainability and land use," Ray said.

Ray also pledged to launch "Collaboration Central Oregon" to encourage cooperation between the university, neighbors, business leaders and other partners. The organization will be based on a project founded at the university's main campus in Corvallis.


Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com

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