The parking problem near OSU-Cascades in Bend has become a roundabout argument with no exit.
The city insists there is no problem. The campus says it is doing all sorts of things to make things better and wants the city to take action. But the city says there is no problem.
Both are at fault. Both need to act. The university is going to grow. The problem is going to grow. Now is the time to do something about it.
OSU-Cascades says it is required by university policy to charge for parking on campus. It charges $2 a day for the campus lot if it’s done in advance or $3 for people who just show up and pay. Students and staff using cars have a couple options. They could pay for on-campus parking, park for free at the off-campus lot off Simpson Avenue and Columbia Street, or park for free on the streets next to campus. Free next to campus is the best deal. That’s what many people do.
OSU exports its parking to city streets. That can make the street a challenge to navigate. In winter weather, it could be a challenge for emergency vehicles to get through. That’s not being a good neighbor, nor a responsible city partner.
To its credit, OSU-Cascades has asked the city to change the parking requirements near campus. The city could put in meters. The city could limit parking to two hours, as it does elsewhere. The city could prohibit parking on one side of the street, as it already does on one stretch of Chandler Avenue near the campus.
The city has not been interested. It has told us over and over again that there is no problem, though, there is change. A fire truck can squeeze through, it has said.
OSU-Cascades should put pressure on the university board to allow free parking on campus in Bend. The campus already had been doing it on Fridays. The OSU policy is creating a problem. It is being a bad neighbor. Surely, the board doesn’t endorse causing trouble.
The city should stop its silly argument that there is no problem — and act.