The City Council did the right thing in preventing dorms from being built on campus open space. Oregon State University miscalculated site selection, misjudged the need for proactive community involvement, and misinterpreted the Campus Master Plan. Recent land use decisions indicate that the dorm siting was not an isolated blunder. Constructing the Learning Innovation Center on campus open space eliminated the potential of establishing a third quad, as recommended in previous planning documents; almost no community involvement was solicited.
To prevent future myopic land use proposals related to open space, it would be prudent for the city, university, and community to review and possibly update the Campus Master Plan. This effort would also promote relationship-building between the college and community, which is a plan component, and sorely needed now. As part of this process, opportunities to convert campus impervious areas to open space could be discussed, such as transforming the parking lot south of the Linus Pauling Center into a quad, converting the parking lot north of McAlexander Fieldhouse to a plaza, removing Gilmore and Fairbanks annexes, and replacing street parking south of Sackett Hall with landscaping.
Hopefully, university staff will look at the dorm siting rejection as an opportunity to improve the land use process and community relations, with the end result of making OSU one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.
Seattle (Aug. 4)