Editorial: Measure OSU-Cascades the right way

Published Jun 27, 2014 at 12:01AM

For some, the proposed location of the new Oregon State University-Cascades is measured more by the traffic and hassles it may create than what a college can inspire.

There’s no way to deny that building a campus off Chandler Avenue will create inconveniences, challenges and change.

But what it also will do is ignite an educational, cultural and economic engine.

You may have seen that article recently noting how Central Oregon fits into the national trend of an increase in median age.

Nationally, as baby boomers grow older, that cohort is driving the increase. Locally, Crook County had the highest median age with 48 in 2013. Deschutes County had 42 and Jefferson County had 41.

Those are all higher than the state figure of 39 and the national number of 38.

It means the pressures created, such as the demand for more elder care or workforce shortages, could very well be felt more acutely in Central Oregon.

Do you want to know the secret to fight aging?

We don’t have any scientific breakthroughs to announce.

But we can say that one answer for the community is OSU-Cascades. A growing college campus will mean more young people. It will mean more opportunities for those who grow up here to stay here. It makes it a more attractive place for people and employers to come here.

Bend will grow. What do we want that growth to look like?

An expanded OSU-Cascades gives Bend a powerful new lever to grow better than it would without it. It should not be measured by a recitation of maladies that can be mitigated. It should be measured by what it will inspire.