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Republican Walkout Puts Funding For Higher Ed Projects In Doubt

Oregon State University

The ongoing walkout by most Republicans in the Oregon legislature over climate change legislation is putting the fate of many other bills in doubt, including a measure that would fund construction and renovation projects at public universities.

The schools are asking lawmakers for around $300 million in bonds to fund 16 projects across the state. While there’s no guarantee all of those requests would have made the cut, lawmakers can’t act on any spending plan without a legislative quorum.

Oregon State University has three projects on the list of bonding requests, including two at its main campus in Corvallis and one at its Cascades campus in Bend.

OSU's Vice President for University Relations, Steve Clark, said the school is actively following the situation at the state capitol. And he said OSU is continuing to lobby for the funding, even while the legislature lacks the quorum needed to conduct business.

"We are doing our best to continue to participate in the legislative process even while interrupted," he said. "The importance of the projects that have been proposed by OSU and the other six universities are just as important (now) as they were before the legislature was abruptly put on hold, so we remain committed to these bonding requests."

The legislative session will wrap up by March 8, regardless of whether the missing Republicans return to Salem.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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