Editorial: Get answers on OSU-Cascades expansion plans

Critics, mark your calendars. You have a responsibility to show up, to learn, to express your concerns, to engage.

Oregon State University-Cascades Campus is holding open houses Thursday evening and Friday midday to lay out its plans and ask your thoughts.

The creation of a four-year university in Bend is the best news this town has heard in years. It will expand opportunities, increase sophistication, spur cultural innovation and bring high-level jobs and economic development.

But that’s not to say there aren’t challenges.

Letters to the editor and Web postings have revealed some residents have significant anxiety about the expansion, especially about traffic and crowding on Bend’s busy west side.

OSU-Cascades plans to describe its plans and invite attendees to react to designs and discuss their expectations and concerns. The meetings are the first of a series of open houses, with subsequent sessions planned in February, May, September and December of 2014.

This week’s meetings are on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Cascades Hall on College Way on the Central Oregon Community College campus. Additional information is posted at www.osucascades.edu/4. (See related letter on this page from Bend Mayor Pro Tem Jodie Barram, who is also co-chair of the OSU-Cascades Campus Expansion Advisory Committee.)

Anyone who routinely travels on Century Drive, 14th Street and Newport Avenue, especially on late weekday afternoons, can relate to concerns about infrastructure. The answer, though, is to work to solve those issues, not oppose such a positive development.

Critics have a positive responsibility to show up and get informed. The rest of us just might find it interesting, maybe even find a constructive way to get involved.