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Kerr Administration Building 01 (copy) (copy)

The Kerr Administration Building on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis includes the offices of OSU's president.

ROSE (roz) n. One of the most beautiful of all flowers, a symbol of fragrance and loveliness. Often given as a sign of appreciation.

RASPBERRY (raz’ber’e) n. A sharp, scornful comment, criticism or rebuke; a derisive, splatting noise, often called the Bronx cheer.

We hereby deliver:

• RASPBERRIES to the secrecy that continues to stalk the presidential search at Oregon State University.

The university announced this week that it's down to the final four candidates to replace Ed Ray, who plans to retire at the end of June after 17 years. But that's just about all that we know. The four finalists haven't been publicly named. They will be interviewed by a 26-member stakeholders' group and then the OSU Board of Trustees. The board will rank the four candidates and then Rani Borkar, chair of the university's Board of Trustees, will negotiate with the candidates in ranked order and consult with the governor or her designee about the hiring decision.

When negotiations are finished, then the board will meet in open session to appoint the new president.

The reasoning given for the confidentiality of the process is that some highly qualified candidates might not apply if their names were made public. But this strikes us as a hollow excuse: Considering how often top administrators at institutions of higher learning move from job to job, surely it can't be a surprise that an ambitious administrator might be interested in a presidential job elsewhere.

The reasoning seems especially hollow when the process boils down to the final four candidates, since presumably candidates will be traveling for face-to-face interviews, requiring at least some absence from their day jobs. Word gets around.

By contast, Linn-Benton Community College, which also is searching for a new president to replace the retiring Greg Hamann, is planning a process in which finalists in its search will participate in some kind of public forum. (LBCC, by the way, is holding three community forums next Wednesday at which members of the public can comment about the attributes they want in the college's next president.)

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To be fair, LBCC also is promising applicants confidentiality in the process up until the finalist stage. We're still not sold on the necessity for that confidentiality, but at least the public will get a preview of the top candidates.

It's not too late for OSU to build a public component into its search — although it seems unlikely at this point, given the emphasis the board has put on confidentiality. On the website outlining details of the search, the board notes that it "will respect and protect candidate confidentiality to the fullest extent allowed by law, while making every effort to ensure the search process is transparent and as inclusive as possible." We'd say the board is batting .500 on those goals.

• ROSES to this week's news that Corvallis has been named Oregon's Tree City of the Year for 2019.

The honor comes from the Oregon Department of Forestry, in conjunction with Oregon Community Trees, and is meant to honor one of the state's 66 nationally recognized Tree City USA communities for delivering outstanding urban forestry practices. In particular, the work singled out the city's work to create a Neighborhood Tree Stewards program, which trains neighborhood volunteers to supplement the work of the Corvallis Parks and Recreation Department's urban foresters. 

The city of Corvallis, by the way, is better than just a Tree City USA; it is a Sterling Tree City USA, which means it has 10 years of Tree City USA Growth Awards. Those awards are achieved when a city completes additional urban forestry activities that go beyond the basic minimum requirements of Tree City USA, a program of the Arbor Day Foundation.

In any event, there's little doubt that the 15,000 or so trees in Corvallis' urban forest contribute greatly to the city's quality of life. The award is well-deserved.

But where there are trees, there are leaves to be raked in the fall. And so:

• ROSES to students at College Hill school, who took time off from their studies on Thursday to help neighbors deal with the season's load of fallen leaves. Not everyone in that neighborhood has an easy time with that chore, and so the work of those students is appreciated. In fact, a  grateful neighbors called the students' work a "wonderful community service," and we second that assessment. (mm)

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