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OSU-Cascades campus to have big Westside impact

By Brittany Weiner
Published On: Sep 17 2013 11:33:45 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Brittany Weiner talked to Westside businesses about the idea of a 4 year college right next door.

BEND, Ore. -

When you open a new business like The Cankery bike shop, sometimes you need a little luck.

"That's the best news I've heard all day," Crankery owner Ben Dodge said Tuesday.

And sometimes you hit the jackpot -- like learning you're right by the future home of OSU-Cascades, on Bend's Westside.

"College kids ride bikes.  They break bikes.  I fix a lot bikes," said Dodge.

For Westside Bend businesses, the news of a new college campus right next door is just that.

"It really just helps us maintain a foothold in the hospitality sector, and also in the beer business for Bend," said Cascade Lakes Brewing Company co-owner Chris Justema. "We're next to a university, and that's something that people will gravitate to."

But the boost in business, will come with a boost in population -- which can have its pluses and minuses.

"If I get a notice (a tenant is leaving), I make a phone call -- and I've got it filled already," said Helen Kimbrough, resident manager of the Village at Southern Crossing.

"The rental housing market from my understanding is already tight," Bend Assistant City Manager Jon Skidmore. "So the increase in student population is something we're going to have to work with the university on."

The  new OSU-Cascades campus will be able to house 25 percent of its freshmen and sophomore class -- that's about 65 students -- its first year. By 2025, they expect to house 825 students on campus.

"My guess is that supply will meet demand and that there will be, you know, development interest that are very keen on the idea of providing student housing," Skidmore said.

Right now, a high demand for commercial tenants and buyers can be seen on many street corners in Bend.

The city has applied for a state grant to fund transportation studies for southwest Bend.

"We're trying to look at a multi-modal type split -- bikes, transit and those types of things," said Skidmore.

The city of Bend is also planning for other city impacts, and has a new sewer pump station in the works in the area.

"Between our conveyance system, which are the pipes and the pumps, and our treatment facility, we will be able to accommodate a university far into the future," Skidmore said.

There will be a few hurdles to overcome before OSU opens its doors. But once that day comes, most will welcome it with open arms.

"We couldn't be more excited," Justema said.

Skidmore added, "It really has the opportunity to redefine Bend to a degree in a very positive way."

On Friday, OSU-Cascades officials will meet with the state Board of Higher Education to formally propose the land purchase.

After that, they will hire a master planner to develop site plans, hoping to get initial designs to the city of Bend by January.

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