2015 Policy Briefs

Town and Gown through the lens of transportation: Executive Summary

This document examines the historical and cultural implications of university/community relations as they relate to solving issues of transporation. It offers comparative cases in the United States and Germany and argues for cultural relevance in transportation solutions. It was originally an OPAL internal document and is offered here as historical and contemporary context for the larger issue of the transportation challenges OSU and Corvallis face together.


Game Day Train Preliminary Report

The concept of a train to shuttle football and other sports fans between Portland and Corvallis for major home games has been tried several times. However, each previous attempt was a "solo" trial put together by individual departments without coordination or sufficient logistical planning. With graduate students examining transportation opportunities and policy, OPAL can provide critical support through networking, data gathering, and analysis. This report outlines the background, concept, history, steps taken, key contacts so far, and next steps forward.


Carbon Footprint Calculator: Next Steps

Corvallis is a highly ranked sustainable city, we have multiple solar and wind farms across the state, and we have a large university full of cars and intense energy usage. OPAL researchers recently developed a Carbon Footprint Calculator for OSU and Corvallis residents. The Carbon Footprint Calculator project can help provide information about the factors that lead to a high carbon footprint for individuals and to provide ideas to offset usage. Individuals or teams can take on any one of these projects.



2014 Policy Briefs


Developing a mobile app for the Corvallis Transit System: Public policy intervention, programming solution

OPAL researchers worked closely with the OSU app club to create a transit app for the Corvallis Transit System. This app is called "Transport" and it delivers real-time bus information for the Corvallis community. This app is the result of a collaboration between the app club and OPAL. To find out more about how policy informed the development of the app, you can read the policy brief for a comprehensive look at the probelm, background, analysis, and policy recommendations. Watch the video below for a short summary of the app.




Crossing the Finish Line: On-time Graduation Rate in Corvallis, Oregon.  

The on-time high school graduation rate in the Corvallis School District (CSD) was found to be 72.3 percent for the 2009 cohort of interest, which is slightly above the state average but lagging behind the national average. Through the utilization of CSD data as well as interviews with 13 CSD professionals, the present study creates a profile of the students who graduate on time as well as characteristics associated with students who tend not to graduate on time.  Findings and recommendations are included at the end of the report. The  study makes clear which students need more support in the pursuit of on-time graduation. 




Special Districts and Public Service Delivery: An analysis of a Corvallis Park and Recreation district

In 2011, the City of Corvallis faced severe budget cuts which threatened services and facilities administered by the Corvallis Parks and Recreation Department. In an attempt to stabilize funding, the City started to explore the possibility of transferring park and recreation services to a special taxing district. This policy brief, a collaborative effort between the Corvallis League of Women Voters and OPAL, examines the potential impacts of the development of special taxing districts in the the City of Corvallis. 




Law Enforcement Response to People with Mental Illnesses in Benton County

The disproportionate arrest and incarceration of people with mental illnesses is a significant concern for police, policymakers, and academic researchers throughout the United States. Benton County (Oregon) law enforcement agencies have mirrored this national trend and reported a significant increase in police contacts with people with mental illnesses in recent years.


In this context, this project (1) examined the prevalence of contacts between police and people with mental illness in Benton County; (2) examined some of the potential causes and consequences of the trend; and (3) provided policy suggestions for more efficient and successful contacts between those with mental illnesses and the police.



The Public Private Partnership Model as a Funding Mechanism for Renewable Energy and Resource Development

Renewable energy technologies have garnered a positive connotation in society for the social and environmental benefits they provide. Today both renewable and traditional technologies are reaching market parity. This has been made possible in large part through state and federal public investment mechanisms. Renewable energy project funding is under increasing threat as the availability of public investment declines.

This policy brief considers alternatives that utilize private investment in order to fill the void of lost public-side monetary support. The brief discusses the use of Public Private Partnerships and Master Limited Partnerships in detail. 


Corvallis Arts and Culture Commission 


The Corvallis Arts and Culture Commission worked with OPAL to better understand public perception of the role and importance of arts and culture in the community. The study worked to: discover opportunities to enhance and develop the Commission’s role in building a strong, vibrant arts and culture community; understand the current strengths of the arts and culture community and identify opportunities to build on those strengths; and to foster the expansion of underdeveloped segments within the arts and culture community.

In total, 110 surveys were collected to specifically examine how arts and cultural events contribute to economic development, the role of arts-based tourism, and how independent and artistic groups contribute to the community. This project contributed to a larger Oregon State University and City of Corvallis effort to share information, build community, and ensure a strong, sustainable future. The results of the project were shared with the Corvallis Arts and Culture Commission in January of 2014.



2013 Policy Briefs

Solar Water Heating in Oregon’s Residential Sector: The Current Landscape

The Influence of Environmental Value Orientation and Climate Change Beliefs
on Firewise Behaviors of Central Oregon Residents

The Oregon Senior Tax Deferral Program: Effects on Low-Income, Long-term Homeowners

The Electricity Bias in Renewable Resources: Areas of Opportunity for Thermal Biomass Applications

Biological Biomass: Present and Future Applications

Biochar Analysis

Emphasizing Community in Community Development