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Gaffney receives 2017 Rep. Timm Ormsby Citizenship Award

Michael J. GaffneyPULLMAN, Wash. – Michael J. Gaffney, assistant director of WSU Extension, recently received the 2017 Rep. Timm Ormsby Citizenship Award. The award was presented to five citizens in the state.

Gaffney was honored for his leadership on the SR 530 (Oso) Slide recovery project that began in April 2014, shortly after then WSU President Elson S. Floyd announced the university’s commitment to assist with the long-term recovery. Working with WSU County Extension Director Curt Moulton, Gaffney developed a strategy for engagement which focused on addressing unmet needs and building sustainable capacity in the region to support both recovery and resilience in the long run.

The SR 530 Slide Recovery Project developed an internship program to place WSU-funded students in summer positions to support recovery and development efforts. More than 50 students and a number of local volunteers committed more than 1,300 hours of service working on 15 projects related to Slide Recovery, including economic development, youth programming, school engagement, broadband expansion, trauma support, and work with the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

Gaffney also is facilitating a commission, appointed by the governor and Snohomish County executives, to examine the slide response and identify lessons that could be applied to enhance statewide public safety.

Currently, Gaffney and WSU are continuing the transition from a focus on outside engagement to a model that emphasizes sustainable local capacity supported by WSU Extension programming and university resources linked through extension.

Gaffney is the former director of WSU’s Division of Governmental Studies and Services, a joint outreach effort of the College of Liberal Arts and WSU Extension that provides applied research, consultation and training for governmental agencies throughout the Northwest.

Before joining WSU 12 years ago, he was an attorney in both private practice and the U.S. Air Force. His research interests include emergency response, social capital, volunteerism, crime prevention, disaster preparedness, research methodology, ethics, biased policing and profiling, democratization, alternative dispute resolution, community oriented policing, hazard mitigation planning, and citizen-government interaction. He is also a principal in WSU’s partnership with the Western Regional Institute for Community Oriented Public Safety. WRICOPS has worked in five western states and with tribes across the country to advance community policing and innovative public safety practices.

Gaffney earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics as well as his Juris Doctor from the University of Idaho. He is in the process of completely is doctoral degree in political science at Washington State University.

Other people presented with the Ormsby award include: Central Washington University’s Cynthia D. Coe; Eastern Washington University’s Nydia Martinez; The Evergreen State College’s Barbara Leigh Smith and Linda Moon Stumpff; and Western Washington University’s Veronica Velez.

For details on the Rep. Timm Ormsby Citizenship Award, see


Media Contact:

Patricia Chantrill, Council of Faculty Representatives, 509-599-5359,

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