First Advisor

Max Nielsen-Pincus

Term of Graduation


Date of Publication

Fall 12-4-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Sciences and Resources


Environmental Sciences and Resources




Floodplain management -- Oregon -- Case studies, Sustainable development -- Oregon -- Case studies, Environmental policy



Physical Description

1 online resource (xiii, 192 pages)


To mitigate flood hazard, which affects millions of people every year, increasing numbers of communities are developing green infrastructure policies to not only mitigate the hazard, but to meet other community policy objectives, as green infrastructure is often cited for the multiple benefits it confers. To support the implementation of policies that help communities meet their policy objectives, however, it is imperative to understand how policy is innovated and adopted. To do so, I applied the internal determinants and regional diffusion models, what I refer to as the lone wolf and copycat models. In policy, a lone wolf innovates a policy to meet a specific, internal objective; this objective may include economic, environmental, or social needs. A copycat evaluates the efficacy of a policy in other municipalities before adopting it for its own use. Because infrastructure is one of the primary routes of implementing flood hazard and floodplain management policies, I developed a framework that describes the relationship between these two models. In this framework, a community may rely more heavily on either gray or green infrastructure, while also being more of a lone wolf or copycat in the ways in which it adopts policy.

Based on this framework, I analyzed four Oregon communities -- Eugene, Milton-Freewater, Prineville, and Sherwood -- that exemplify these different infrastructure and policy approaches. From this case study analysis, I developed several propositions to explain why each community pursued certain policies. I then expanded this research to floodplain administrators across the state, using a key informant questionnaire to capture the managerial and demographic characteristics that correlate with the adoption of green infrastructure in over 100 Oregon communities. I found that urbanization strongly correlated with the use of green infrastructure, as did a floodplain administrator having professional experience with flooding, being knowledgeable about flood mitigation infrastructure, and talking more frequently to other floodplain administrators. Finally, I use my research framework for an in-depth case study of the internal determinants model. I focus on a community in the Portland metropolitan area, Sherwood, and a program the community developed in the early 1990s to protect extensive areas of open space, greenways, and floodplains to preserve a unique community identity. In pursuing these objectives, Sherwood spearheaded the creation of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, the first urban wildlife refuge in the country.


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