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Rachel Dawson


Rachel Dawson joined Cascade Policy Institute as a Policy Analyst in 2019. Her work encompasses a variety of topics, including electric utility regulation and transportation policy.

Rachel previously worked with Cascade as a Research Associate through the Charles Koch Internship Program. In that role, Rachel conducted research and testified at public hearings on affordable housing, transportation, and energy policy.

Rachel graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York with a degree in Public Policy and a focus on criminal justice reform. While at Hamilton College, Rachel conducted research on the Swedish criminal justice system in Stockholm and on Burmese refugees’ interaction with standardized state exams in New York. Her senior thesis evaluated the accuracy of a risk assessment algorithm commonly used by some courts to determine the risk a person will commit another crime prior to their court date and compared it to an algorithm she created using statistical software.

A native Oregonian, Rachel is a rabid Portland Thorns fan and a member of the Timbers Army.


  • Mike Irwin

    Rachel, I read your comments in the “reader views” section. I could not agree more. Wapato has been a topic of conversation among many of us for some time, and it appears to be a great solution to what to date has been an unsolvable problem. The issue of being too far away from services is a red herring. The city should imbed services within the facility, and as one of the most prolific volunteer cities in the US, there would be a number of people (including myself) who would add their talents to assisting in making this successful. Many potential volunteers would be hesitant about doing so in the current conditions of homelessness because of safety reasons.

    The property was purchased for the purpose of helping with the problem, and now it seems impossible to get the city to consider the alternative as a homeless shelter. The issue of transportation is also solvable, either through Trimet or volunteer efforts. Yesterday I took my family to the Scandinavia fair at Memorial Colosseum. Walking my granddaughter pass the homeless encampments just solidified my concerns about what this issue is doing to the city. So, during your visit, or your discuss among those that visited, did you sense any chance for getting this reconsideration for the city? I spent 42 years in public service, and this issue is something I would love to assist with. (Mike Irwin, 971-288-9712)

    • 5:26 am - December 9, 2019

  • Korleen Kraft

    I was very interested in your letter to the editor in the O on Sunday. Many of us have been furious with City/County unwillingness to open Wapato for the homeless. We spent nearly $60 million to build it and sold it for a drastic loss. In addition, we have voted for millions in the last two cycles for funding for low income/homeless and Metro is reported to be getting ready to askfor more. The City and County should allocate funds from those used to provide clean up/enforcement,etc.

    And the arguments that “we can’t put the homeless in a prison” (it never has been and never will be) or it’s too far from services are absolutely inane. Transportation can be provided via Tri-Met coordination and services could be provided on site or transportation provided downtown. There was news recently about services being taken on the east side as far as 185th or so. How is that different from taking them to Wapato?

    Would you mind providing more details about the group of 100 you toured with. Yes, of course, the mayor’s schedule was too full and he’s already been there. No doubt Ms. Kafoury had the same problems! Did the group include the person from HUD?

    Keep up the fight. There are unseen thousands of us angry about homeless being left unsheltered in the winter when this beautiful facility is available.

    • 4:06 pm - December 10, 2019

  • Bryan L Schmidt


    Today’s presentation on Grid Reliability and Resource Adequacy in the Northwest was very well done. It reminded me of the seminar I attended in college that lead to my senior thesis on geothermal energy. It also reminds me of the stark difference between what the public is told about renewal energy through popular media, and the actual state of affairs as known by those who work in the industry. The challenge is always to get the contrarian viewpoint heard and discussed on the same level as the popular view. That clearly requires persistence from as many people as possible. I appreciate your efforts in making that happen.

    • 1:01 pm - June 30, 2020

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