Legislature acts on higher education investments and governance before adjourning

The Oregon State Legislature adjourned its 2014 session Friday, February 7. Before adjourning the legislature gave final approval to its budget bills, which included investments in higher education. Included in these investments was $2.1 million for the repair of the utility tunnel that runs under Franklin Blvd. After engineers discovered problems last spring that jeopardized the structural integrity of the tunnel, these funds were needed to ensure structural integrity.

The legislature also approved $200 million in bonds for OHSU to support infrastructure to house new cancer research as part of the Knight Cancer Challenge – an investment UO President Gottfredson supported and called an “historic opportunity to bring world class researchers to Oregon and benefit all public universities in our state.”

The legislature did not fund the full list of capital construction projects put forth by higher education institutions this session, including a UO request for funds to provide critical repairs to Chapman Hall. The Chapman projects and others higher education projects will be considered as part of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission capital budget process.

In addition to these investments, the legislature authorized the State Board of Higher Education to develop and approve local governing boards for the regional and technical universities in Ashland, Monmouth, La Grande and Klamath Falls.