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Transportation leaders in Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Columbia and Benton counties are working to create an interconnected bus system that will improve connections between communities and promote transit ridership.

A partnership of five transit agencies — Columbia County Rider, Sunset Empire Transportation District, Tillamook County Transportation District, Benton County Transit and Lincoln County Transit – have joined forces to create the “North by Northwest CONNECTOR” transit system.

The project is funded with a $3.5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant.

Over the next two years, the pilot project will seek to improve transit connections between communities, brand and market transit service in all five counties as a single service, build community partnerships to increase transit ridership and locate funding for continued transit development.

The individual bus systems cover five counties, encompassing 4,235 square miles and 112 towns and cities. 

In Clatsop, Tillamook and Lincoln counties, for example, the coastal economies are closely tied to tourism, where visitor travel could be improved through inter-county connections and collective marketing efforts, according to Oregon-based consulting firm, David Evans and Associates Inc. (DEA).

Last August, more than 130 people attended workshops facilitated by the DEA  consultant team, including state and local government leaders, economic development groups, business owners and non-profits.

Noble Erickson Inc., a graphic design firm working as part of the DEA consulting team, is creating a regional transit marketing strategy that includes a new name, tagline and logo for the North by Northwest CONNECTOR.

For updates and information about Northwest Oregon Transit Alliance, or to get involved, visit


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(5) comments


Be careful with how you develop transport lives and routes because a lot of people are looking for an eco adventure lately. If your location doesn't fit the bill, they go somewhere else.

John Ponce

Maybe just this thing is what some voters are thinking when they vote down road taxes: with all the public transit advocated, planned and maybe paid for by Uncle Sugar, why do we need to pay for roads anymore?



Only modest, service changes are being made with the energy grant, so they're not setting up unrealistic expectations for later. The main emphasis of the project is better coordination between counties, marketing, branding, and rider incentives. A non-profit group is being formed to help with fundraising for those things after the grant expires. Kind of like a "friends of transit" group. Its called the North by Northwest Transportation Foundation. Really amazing how many people have stepped up to be a part of this effort. If want to get involved, you can contact the project team at


This is wonderful, communications , transportation, and infrastructure are what will get people back to work and improve our lives. Where there's a will there's a way to pay.


Does anyone have any idea how this project would be funded after the federal grant runs out? And it WILL run out; sooner than one might think. Just curious.

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