OSU-Cascades considering pumice mine property for expansion


BEND — Oregon State University is eyeing a 46-acre pumice mine as a possible location to expand its Cascades campus.

Dozens of people attended a panel discussion the university held with engineering consultants Monday, reported The Bulletin. The consultants say the land can be developed and a decision could be made to purchase the property could be made later this fall, according to OSU officials.

The pumice mine currently belongs to 4 R Equipment, a Bend company owned by Jack Robinson and Sons. The university has an agreement with the company and the option to purchase the property by September 2017.

Initial plans call for removing a berm along the site and excavating and adding dirt to stabilize slopes along the mine walls.

The pumice mine isn't the only property OSU-Cascades is considering as part of its plan to accommodate 5,000 students.

The university has already started construction on an adjacent 10 acres that it already owns, and officials are also looking into the adjacent 76-acre former Deschutes County landfill.

Some residents oppose the campus location because they fear increased traffic will overwhelm the neighborhood. A group called Truth in Site has taken those concerns to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Carlson Testing dug nearly three dozen test pits at the mine to gather soil samples, according to the agency's geotechnical engineer Brad Wilcox. He says the tests helped them locate areas filled with dirt that had basalt boulders, concrete and asphalt mixed in, as well as pumice and tuff.

Wilcox says the company also found a fault zone that runs through Bend during their excavation work. The U.S. Geological Survey has determined movement of the fault is very low.

“Even though we saw a strand of a fault at the site, this site is no more unique than other sites in Bend because this fault zone encompasses the entire town,” said Wilcox.


Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com

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