Dr. Thomas Gonzales was selected in 1981 to succeed Needham as LBCC president. Gonzales had been campus president at the Community College of Denver, Auraria Campus, Denver, Colo. before coming to LBCC. He held a B.S. from Colorado State University, an M.A. and Ed. S. from University of Northern Colorado, and an Ed. D. from the University of Colorado. Gonzales was elected to the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges and vice president of the Oregon Private Industry Council, Inc. He was also appointed to the Oregon Commission on Public Broadcasting.

In 1984, the Farrier School opened at a new site in Oregon State University's Manchester Arena, making it the newest, best-equipped farrier training facility in the western United States.
The state legislature approved a capital construction funding plan for community colleges in 1987, enabling LBCC to build the Family Resource Center for parent education and childcare. The new center was the first building constructed at the college since Takena Hall opened in 1979.

Also in 1987, a study revealed that Oregon Community Colleges had a total economic impact of $500 million on Oregon's economy in 1985-1986. Locally, LBCC's direct and indirect economic impact amounted to $37.5 million in Linn and Benton counties-six times as much as the $6 million in taxes paid that year.

In July of the same year, LBCC became one of the first community colleges in the nation to offer an educational guarantee to its degree students. Also, seven programs were designated as ³regional² because they were not readily available at other Northwest community colleges. The programs included agriculture; animal science; farrier science; horticulture; metallurgy; refrigeration, heating and air conditioning; and water/wastewater technology. For regional programs, first term out-of-state tuition is waived so students can establish Oregon residency.

Jon Carnahan became president of LBCC in August 1989. First employed in 1973 as LBCC's director of admissions, Carnahan served on a state commission to review community college organization, the screening committee for a new Albany School Board superintendent, and was nominated for a spot on the Cascades West board of directors. He held a bachelor's in business education and a master's in education from Central Washington University.