Pacific University Study of Rural Washington County Presented at Northwest Transportation Conference

A recent Pacific University alumnus and staff member presented the results from a year-long study about the future of transportation in rural Washington County at the Northwest Transportation Conference on Wednesday, March 14.

Prescott Devinney ’17, and Mike Miller, director of Global Short Term Studies at Pacific shared The Rural Perspective: Technical Report for the Washington County Transportation Futures Study at gathering that biannually brings together engineers, designers, builders, operators, planners, other transportation officials and public policy makers from all over the Pacific Northwest.

A team of undergraduate students that included Devinney, and led by Miller with support from Jim Moore and the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation, prepared the report in 2016 for the Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation.

Devinney (economics, mathematics) and fellow students Jacob Rose '18 (environmental science, Spanish), Sophia Solano '17 (philosophy) and Pablo Valenzuela '17 (politics & government, ethics) conducted a large amount of qualitative research for the county. They examined past reports by governments and other institutions to understand transportation issues for rural residents, interviewed members of the rural Washington County community, and held a number of focus groups with the Latino community and members of community organizations.

Devinney and Valenzuela presented the report to the Washington County Transportation Futures Study Advisory Committee at a meeting in October 2016. The report provided key insight into the perceptions of workers and residents throughout rural areas of the county about what is needed to address the growing transportation needs, including expanded road systems, urban growth boundary limits and public safety.

The breadth and depth of the research and recommendations were so well received by the committee that officials from the Oregon Department of Transportation took notice and asked for the report to be presented at the upcoming Northwest Transportation Conference.

“The opportunity to deliver this report at a major meeting of more than 400 transportation professionals from throughout the Pacific Northwest is a testament to the value our students have demonstrated to public policy officials in one of Oregon’s fastest growing counties,” Miller said. “We are very pleased with how the project has provided continuing opportunities for our students to participate in and learn first-hand from government policymaking.”

Miller and Devinney presented the report as part of the Land Use, Trips and Travel session.

Miller said Washington County officials are interested in making these types of research and reporting projects a permanent part of the relationship between the county and Pacific.

For more information, please contact Miller at 503-352-2815 or

Wednesday, March 14, 2018