In November 2023, Oregon Coast organizations received $1,109,761 in competitive grants from Travel Oregon to fund accessible and inclusive tourism projects in the region.
Across Oregon, 56 grant recipients were awarded $3.6M aimed at enhancing local economies and communities through visitor industry improvements and promotion. Of the $3,611,089 awarded statewide, 30 percent of funds are coming to Oregon Coast projects. An additional $116,660 will go to projects with Travel Lane County and Dirty Freehub that will also benefit the Oregon Coast.
The Oregon Coast Visitors Association received funding to produce a storytelling video that will highlight the intersection of accessible travel and stewardship. “OCVA is committed to helping travelers plan a sustainable, accessible trip to The People’s Coast,” says Karen Olson, Communications Director. “With this grant, we will be able to feature the incredible work of partners and advocates for an inclusive, resilient coast that meets the needs of residents and visitors and stewards the coastal environment.”
It is equally exciting to see so many Oregon Coast organizations awarded for a diverse range of projects (listed below) all aimed at improving accessibility for our visitors.
Oregon Coast Awardees:
City of Coos Bay received $65,307 to update the Coos Bay Boardwalk by creating interpretive signs with audio and braille features to represent each of the three Tribes indigenous to the Coos Bay area.
The City of Lincoln City received $100,000 for the design and construction of the first inclusive ADA playground in the city, part of a new 6.71-acre park that will also feature permanent pickleball courts, a special event stage and lawn, picnic shelters, trail and more.
City of Waldport received $100,000 to install accessible paving for the historical ‘Heritage Pavilion’ in the newly dedicated Southworth Park in honor of early Black pioneer Louis Southworth, a former slave who purchased his freedom and homesteaded near Waldport where he operated a ferry across the Alsea River.
Coos Bay-North Bend-Charleston VCB/Oregon’s Adventure Coast received $20,000 for a free Wheelchair Accessible Shuttle Service from the Charleston Marina to Shore Acres State Park during the Annual Holiday Lights event for those who are unable to get a timed entry pass, do not have transportation, or have mobility challenges.
Coquille Indian Tribe received $42,500 to develop and install five interpretive panels at the Mill Casino and RV Park in Coos Bay focusing on the Coquille Indian Tribe’s cultural heritage and their relationship to the landscape along Southwest Oregon’s waterways.
Dirty Freehub received $96,660 to create a pathway to off-road cycling (ex, gravel cycling) for those challenged by health conditions, physical fitness, or disabilities.
Oregon Coast Aquarium received $100,000 to replace the existing touch pool with a larger pool that employs the principles of universal design, making it easier for guests of all ages and abilities to reach into the water safely and comfortably and learn about tide pool ecosystems.
Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad received $100,000 for parking with improved accessibility, including ADA parking spaces, ramps and platforms to ensure safe accessibility across the site as well as a paved plaza able to accommodate a large number of visitors.
Oregon Coast School of Art received $67,600 to make the gallery accessible and increase tourism and arts exposure.
Oregon Coast Visitors Association received $100,000 to produce compelling video content highlighting the often-overlooked intersection of sustainable tourism and accessibility.
Port of Bandon received $100,000 to add accessible, paved parking and enhance the historic Old Town Bandon waterfront district by creating an inviting place for all visitors and residents to enjoy.
Rockaway Beach Chamber of Commerce received $93,854 to level uneven ground and create a safe, well-lit accessible path to the Visitor Center Caboose and Depot and oceanfront. An electric wheelchair storage locker will also be constructed to safely house multiple all-terrain wheelchairs for beachgoers.
Tillamook Coast Visitors Association, dba Visit Tillamook Coast received $65,000 to contract with Wheel the World to survey Tillamook County’s recreational, lodging and attraction options. The project will result in TCVA becoming a Wheel the World Verified Destination.
Travel Curry Coast received $20,000 for an accessibility study in collaboration with Wheel the World aimed at enhancing the destination’s capacity to welcome individuals with diverse accessibility needs.
Travel Lane County received $20,000 to develop marketing content with a mobility influencer(s), highlighting the accessible experiences and expanding on the accessibility work started with the hiking trails identified through a recent trail accessibility assessment project.
Yachats Chamber of Commerce received $100,000 for a wheelchair-friendly public trolley transportation service in Yachats.
Yaquina Pacific Railroad Historical Society received $35,500 for replacing and rebuilding the main access ramp to the Yaquina Pacific Railroad Historical Society (YPRHS) Museum and extending paved portions of existing walkways to accommodate wheelchair access to outdoor museum exhibits.
Oregon Coast Visitors Association
The Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) is the official Regional Destination Management Organization for the entire Oregon Coast as designated by the Oregon Tourism Commission (dba Travel Oregon). OCVA inspires travel and strengthens collaboration to create and steward a sustainable coastal economy.
OCVA has the honor of working with coastal communities to align partnerships, destination development projects, and destination marketing with the vision of creating “a coastal utopia for all.” This includes coastal stakeholders, new and returning visitors, and the natural resources that make these coveted experiences so magical.