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, read the policy brief which provides a comprehensive look at the probelm, background, analysis, and recommendations. WATCH the video below for a brief summary of the app. 


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 with 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. 

Author: Jos Grandolfo


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 reported this very concern -- 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; (2) examined some of the potential causes and consequences of the change; and (3) provided policy suggestions, based on the available research, for more efficiently and successfully addressing contacts between those with mental illnesses and the police.

Authors: Dr. Scott Akins, Dr. Brett Burkhardt, Charles Lanfear, Katelyn Stevens & Mariana Amorim


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

Iconic renewable energy technologies have garnered a positive connotation in society for the social and environmental benefits they provide. Today both technologies are reaching market parity made possible in large part using state and federal public investment mechanisms. Yet project funding is under increasing threat as the availability of public investment declines. Recognizing this, this 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. 

Author: Darrell McGie


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 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 group 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.

 Coming soon: OPAL's presentation to the Corvallis Arts and Culture Commission. 


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