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Bend City Council OKs OSU-Cascades campus over objections of neighbors concerned about traffic

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BEND, Oregon — The City Council has approved plans for a new four-year college campus in Bend, although several members have misgivings about the way Oregon State University is handling the expansion.

And residents near the area that could become a 56-acre campus of the OSU-Cascades branch are likely to appeal the decision to the state Land Use Board of Appeals, KTVZ-TV (http://bit.ly/1vrPsb6) reported.

The residents say the school isn't planning enough parking spots — just 300 for a projected 1,900 students in the school's initial expansion.

The school says limiting parking will give students reason to walk or bike to school, or use new public transit. Neighbors say students will just fill spaces in nearby residential areas.

The school was created in 2001 to provide upper division courses to students who did their first two years at Central Oregon Community College.

The branch has 10 acres initially for expansion on the west side of Bend and has an option to buy a nearby 46-acre site of a former pumice mine to expand the school further. Oregon State President Ed Ray has spoken of as many as 5,000 students by 2025.

Council members said Monday night they were constrained by the law to consider Oregon State's application for approval of the 10-acre site, which under city code doesn't require a master plan. They voted 6-0 to approve the application.

But they said they wished the school had done a master plan for the entire 56 acres, giving city residents a chance to address it.

"Why would we plan for 56 acres when we don't know there'll be demand for it?" said the school's attorney, Steve Janik,

City Council member Sally Russell said Oregon State "has chosen to move this forward through a very skinny wicket.

"I hope the university as an organization hears what we're telling them today — that moving forward is a much broader process," she said. "It needs to be successful for this community, and it all hinges around the master planned development many of us hoped and expected would take place."


Information from: KTVZ-TV, http://www.ktvz.com/

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