2015 Policy Briefs



Best Practices for Serving LGBTQ+ People Experiencing Houselessness along the I-5 Corridor in Oregon


This brief summarizes a study of the service provider network for LGBTQ+ houseless young adults in Lane, Linn, Benton, Marion, Multnomah, and Clackamas Counties in Oregon.  Individual interviews with service providers and LGBTQ+ participants revealed barriers to access and recommendations for improving services.  The report identified the importance of safe, welcoming, and inclusive environments, LGBTQ+ knowledge amongst service providers, and LGBTQ+ specific support and advocacy in aiding houseless LGBTQ+ young adults.    



OSU transportation choices: What drives us?

This report is based on the 2014 transportation choices survey data by OSU's Capital Planning and Development group to explore current trends in transportation choices among university employees and students. The survey revealed that for both groups, convenience, saving time, and cost – in that order – are the top incentives in choosing different modes of transportation. The report examines choices among employees, choices among students, and analyzes how the major modes of travel compare in terms of convenience, saving time, and cost. 



Town and gown relations through the lens of transportation: A background document for Corvallis and Oregon State University

This document examines the historical and cultural implications of Town and Gown relations as they relate to solving issues of transportation. The paper begins with a bullet- point background summary and moves into a discussion of comparative cases both in the U.S. and Germany. It concludes by examining the situation in Corvallis and OSU. Solutions to both transportation issues and Town and Gown tensions must spring from and speak to the culture and history of both communities in order to succeed. While cultural relevance is a necessary condition for success, it is not sufficient; success is only possible through sustained cooperation between both communities. 



Non-reported traffic accidents on OSU campus: Student data

While major traffic accidents mostly get reported, a number of student-involved traffic accidents go unreported to authorities on the Oregon State campus. The result is that data on these accidents is limited. This brief investigates the location and types of accidents that students fail to report on the OSU campus. 



Preliminary findings: Single occupancy vehicles and parking permits

In Fall 2014, OSU implemented a new on-campus zonal parking permit system. The new generally more expensive system definitely changed parking habits, with implications for neighborhoods around campus, and for some travel choices by students and faculty. During winter term, the OSU Capital Planning and Development Transportation survey investigated OSU employee and student transportation choices. This study reports the impacts of work/study status, gender, living distance and age on the decision of OSU employees and students in purchasing a parking permit. Findings and recommendations are included at the end of the report. 



Regional governance of transportation issues

The City of Corvallis is experiencing transportation issues as a result of a higher volume of traffic traveling into and out of the city. While Oregon State University enrollment has peaked, the transportation problems facing the City of Corvallis continue. The problems in Corvallis have regional origins and implications, and a regional solution will be required to address them. Transportation policy-making organizations up and down the valley will need to collaborate in order to create a regional transportation policy that produces optimal results. This policy brief defines the transportation region, lists transportation policy actors, and discusses possibilities for collaboration. 



Opportunities for planning and experiments in transit connectivity

Since it is not always easy to get to Corvallis other than by car, a comprehensive transportation plan needs to link Corvallis residences with neighboring towns, airports, rail service, plus venues at OSU, in our downtown, and to outdoor activities. The goal is to design transportation connectivity that out-competes the car by being safer, faster, more efficient, and enjoyable. Better connectivity would help address problems such as congestion, wasteful use of resources, air and water pollution, climate change, and provide new community development opportunities for the future. One promising area is with autonomous vehicles (AVs): Corvallis and OSU could collaborate on experiments with one of the many companies designing AV systems. 



Corvallis parking: A proposal

Corvallis is very difficult to get to and from without a car. As a result, Corvallis streets have increasing numbers of parked cars creating safety problems, reducing neighborhood livability, increasing pollution and greenhouse gasses, and degrading local aesthetics. OSU, LBCC, City, County, School District, apartments, businesses, churches, and others push parking demand onto Corvallis streets. On November 4, 2014, Corvallis residents rejected Measure 02- 88, aimed at creating residential parking districts. An alternative parking proposal is offered for consideration in a revised approach. 



Autonomous vehicles in Benton County: A near-future certainty

As part of their commitment to reducing traffic congestion, parking issues, and vehicle accidents, the idea of becoming a test site for autonomous vehicles – private and public – can seem like both a solution and a potential problem for Benton County, Corvallis, and OSU. This policy brief will explore the concept and provide policy recommendations. 


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