Polk County Community Success Stories

Located in the mid-Willamette Valley, Polk County is near many visitor destinations. It lies adjacent to Marion County – home of Oregon’s state capital, Salem. Yamhill County, densely populated with award winning wineries, rides the northern border. Lincoln County, with a diverse array of coastal experiences, is to the west. Benton County, the home of Oregon State University and its robust event schedule, is to the south. While Polk County has many visitor-worthy attributes, the visitor too often experiences it as a place to drive through on the way to somewhere else, perhaps worthy of a brief day trip at best. Its identity as a destination has been blurred by its blend of suburban and rural land uses; several viticultural regions which cross county boundaries; a dearth of lodging options; and a lack of cohesive marketing.

This is why Travel Oregon hosted a Rural Tourism Studio in Polk County between October 2014 and January 2015. Through increased regional collaboration and strategic investment, the Polk County Rural Tourism Studio galvanized community leaders to hone and implement ideas that had been simmering for years, as well as to create new visitor experiences. These activities were aimed at tapping several opportunities:

  • Road bicycling through a scenic, relatively flat landscape
  • Unique and accessible wineries and farms
  • Diverse, family-friendly attractions
  • Increased market visibility through collaboration with Travel Salem, a destination management organization focused on Salem & the mid-Willamette Valley

Longer term, Polk County leaders continue to work on expanding lodging options. For now, Polk County has already positioned itself as a conveniently located place that’s worthy of spending considerable time. Visit Polk County’s Rural Tourism Studio page to see the workshops that took place in their community and led to the following results:

Bike Tourism

Ride Polk CountyA success story about how to create content that showcases a region’s signature assets and activities for promotion across multiple channels.

Resources and Tools

Regional Marketing Brochures

A success story about how Polk County developed updated printed collateral to communicate a diversity of visitor attractions in a well-designed unified format.

Polk County BrochureResources and Tools

Regional Collaboration and Impact

A success story about how to a small but mighty network of public and private sector tourism champions can shift how they work together based on new levels of trust, knowledge and capacity.

Resources and Tools


Want more information about Polk County Community Success Stories?

If you have additional questions or comments about Polk County Community Success Stories, please contact the appropriate member of the Travel Oregon staff listed below.

  1. Alexa Carey