State funds for OSU-Cascades expansion clear hurdle

The Oregon House Higher Education Committee voted Tuesday to authorize the issuance of $70 million in state bond funds to be dedicated to further expansions of Oregon State University-Cascades. The funds will be used to build new academic facilities, including a Student Success Center and a Graduate and Research Center, among other projects.

“The continued development of OSU-Cascades is essential to the long-term economic health of Central Oregon,” said Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver,, who sits on the Higher Education Committee. “It is critically important that we maintain the momentum behind this effort by providing the school with the resources it needs to continue to grow and serve Central Oregon’s rapidly increasing population.”

The new investments contained in HB 2782 will allow OSU-Cascades to continue to grow and expand its facilities to keep up with the tremendous demand for a four-year institution in Central Oregon. OSU-Cascades is Oregon’s fastest growing public institution, with administrators projecting the school will be at maximum capacity by the 2021 school year. If the $70 million investment in HB 2782 is approved, the school will be on track to meet its goal of serving 3,000-5,000 students by 2025.

“This is a worthy investment of state funds that will pay dividends down the road, not just for Central Oregon, but for our entire state,” Whisnant said. “HB 2782 will bring good jobs, better education and a brighter future to thousands of Central Oregonians. I hope the Legislature will approve this investment in its full amount during this session.”

According to testimony presented by OSU-Cascades, the university's continued growth will lead to $197.8 million in economic output, $72.7 million in operations and construction activities, 2,083 jobs and $3.43 million in annual state income taxes. Advocates also testified that the expansion of OSU-Cascades will allow the Central Oregon region to continue to close the higher educational attainment gap the community suffers from when compared to other areas of the state.

Having received approval from the House Higher Education Committee, HB 2782 now moves to the Legislature’s budget committee for further consideration.

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