In February 2021, The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, awarded $973,336 for the development, enhancement and stewardship of key visitor experiences that are COVID-19 appropriate, will aid in economic recovery, enhance local livability and provide access to a diversity of explorers through the Destination Ready program. Project work is underway across the state and all projects will be complete by September 2021, following program guidelines.
Learn about the 35 awarded projects and anticipated outcomes, as of April 28, 2021 below:
Discover Your Forest Trailhead Signs ($12,500) to install temporary signage at 100 trailheads in the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests that will promote stewardship by providing visitors access to resources and information to get involved in supporting their national forests. Outcomes include:
- Greater number of volunteers on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests.
- Higher level of donations going into projects on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests.
- Visitors to the 100 signed trailheads are practicing stewardship.
- A reduction to resource damage at targeted recreation areas.
- The U.S. Forest Service is seen as meeting the needs of locals and visitors from all backgrounds and addressing the public’s concerns related to high use.
- Bilingual signage is recognized as a positive step in community engagement.
Navigate Oregon Coach ($40,000) to launch a transportation pilot serving Mt. Bachelor in partnership with Oregon-based transportation company, Northwest Navigator. Outcomes include:
- Diversify transit modes available for visitors and residents.
- Offer a safe mode of transportation and help to alleviate traveler apprehension.
- Offer visitors and residents access to previously underserved areas.
- Encourage responsible recreation in the Central Oregon region.
City of Florence – Old Town Outdoor Plaza Improvements ($44,361.70) for additional seating areas, trash receptacles and bike racks in Florence’s Old Town and along the Port of Siuslaw’s Boardwalk. Outcomes include:
- Enhance visitor experience and the livability for residents by creating a public outdoor plaza with amenities such as benches, tables, and bike racks.
- Provide on-site options to enjoy takeout meals by adding additional seating in Old Town.
- Ensure that the proper disposal of litter by adding extra trash receptacles.
- Update existing and add additional bike racks for visitors and locals to safely leave their bicycles.
City of Garibaldi – Safe Outdoor Seating and Trash Management ($17,762) for additional infrastructure for trash receptacles as well as COVID-19 appropriate visitor seating for the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad (OCSR). Outcomes include:
- Changed visitor behaviors by utilizing COVID-19 appropriate seating.
- Changed visitor behaviors by utilizing designated trash receptacles to reduce trash issues throughout community.
- Increased attractiveness of the Garibaldi main business district.
- Increased collaboration between city, OCSR, port and other partners to address messaging included with OCSR about food purchases and food waste.
- OCSR better accommodating additional layover time for economic impact.
- Collaboration with the City of Rockaway Beach and Rockaway businesses around trash management.
Port of Bandon – Outdoor Seating Area ($20,000) for creation of an outdoor seating area along Bandon’s historic waterfront. Outcomes include:
- Support local businesses and the community by creating outdoor seating designs.
- Enhance the use of amphitheater for cultural events by providing sufficient seating areas.
- Showcase community art and embrace cultural expression by incorporating them into the bench designs.
- Provide options to enjoy takeout meals meal by adding additional seating.
Tillamook County Accessibility – Beach & Kayak Launch ($10,000) to install two kayak launchers at water access points in Garibaldi and Wheeler and purchase an additional beach wheelchair for the Netarts/Oceanside area. Outcomes include:
- Provide more inclusive access to the beach by adding a beach wheelchair to the Netarts/Oceanside area.
- Assist those with mobility, balance or strength impairments to safely step into their kayaks by installing two kayak launchers in Garibaldi and Wheeler.
Tugman State Park ADA Kayak Launch Installation ($25,000) for the installation of an ADA accessible kayak launch on Eel Lake. Outcomes include:
- Increased use (and ease of use) of facilities by recreationalists with accessibility needs.
- Increase in use (and ease of use) by recreationalists without accessibility needs (veteran and older populations).
- Video resources are created and used for advertising and promotion to showcase new asset/experience.
- Project serves as a model/blueprint for use in other areas on the South Coast.
Eastern Oregon Farm Trails ($28,365) for updates to three Eastern Oregon Farm Trail brochures with distribution, and creation of a new on-the-ground kiosk. Outcomes include:
- Farm trail businesses notice increased awareness of farm trail among locals/visitors, with some farm trail businesses experiencing an increase in customers and sales over past seasons.
- Increased visitation to River to Hills Farm Trail by Spanish-speaking locals and visitors.
- Visitors are engaging with the new kiosk and reaching deeper content on visiteasternoregon.com.
- Visitors are engaging with the digital versions of the farm trail brochures, available on the new visiteasternoregon.com.
- A narrative/itinerary is created for the John Day River Farm Trail and posted on traveloregon.com and visiteasternoregon.com; the other farm trail itineraries are successfully updated online.
Blue Mountain Trail ($27,711) to help with mapping and trail maintenance operations for the Blue Mountains Trail, a 556-mile thru-hiking experience through northeast Oregon. Outcomes include:
- Communities along the trail are familiar with the project and they know how to engage with the Greater Hells Canyon Council and with visitors hiking on the Blue Mountains Trail.
- Hikers are familiar with the services provided in the communities along and near the trail.
- Hikers are aware of the resupply options along the trail.
- Trail Coordinator serving as point of contact for hikers and volunteers working on maintenance efforts in 2021.
Eastern Oregon High-Use Trail Stewardship ($20,000) for land stewardship and maintenance efforts to prepare Eastern Oregon’s most visited public lands for the coming season including Wallowa Whitman National Forest, the Owyhee Region, the Steens Mountain Wilderness and the Alvord Desert. Outcomes include:
- Increase the number of miles maintained, quantity of work parties and engagement with volunteers to enhance outdoor recreation spaces in Eastern Oregon.
- Increased use of services around provided trash facilities to reduce waste in and around sensitive landscapes.
- Grow the number of collaborative projects that trail stewardship organizations are working on together to fortify relationships.
- Increased awareness/traffic around responsible recreation messaging on Eastern Oregon Visitors Association and partner sites.
City of John Day – Outdoor Plaza & Restroom ($41,000) to create a community “pit stop” with food truck stalls, improved parking and new public restrooms. Outcomes include:
- Provide ease of access by constructing 14 improved parking spaces (including ADA-accessible), public restrooms, and food truck stalls.
- Improve sense of place by adding signage and kiosks identifying activities to do in and around John Day.
- Improve access for visitors and residents by creating trailheads.
- Create a welcoming space for visitors and residents to meet, listen to music and socialize.
- Celebrate diversity by creating cultural displays, culinary experiences and public art displays.
Marr pond ADA Fishing Infrastructure & Restrooms ($25,000) to make infrastructure and accessibility improvements to establish Marr Pond as the only ADA accessible fishing facility in Wallowa County. Outcomes include:
- Provide an accessible trail by constructing a vault toilet and trash facilities.
- Create a more inclusive trail by adding ADA accessible trails.
- Increase public enjoyment of the trail by creating several accessible fishing platforms as well as picnic areas and covered gazebo with picnic tables.
- Improve ease of access through constructing parking and designated ADA parking spaces.
- Increase wildlife viewing areas.
Wallowa County Bicycle Route Development ($18,295) to develop five cycle routes in Wallowa County that feature points of historical and cultural significance for Black and Indigenous people in Eastern Oregon. Outcomes include:
- Cycle routes offer varying lengths and difficulties to appeal to a broad audience.
- Cyclists learn historical and cultural information in addition to the route experience via downloadable Cycle Oregon Connections guide.
- Local businesses are highlighted in the route guides.
- Businesses that are close to becoming Bike Friendly Businesses are identified and provided assistance to reach that designation.
Mt. Hood & Columbia River Gorge
East Gorge Food Trail ($15,000) for updates to the East Gorge Food Trail brochure, creation of new bilingual trail wayfinding signage, business trainings and a digital footprint for select businesses. Outcomes include:
- Every East Gorge Food Trail business has an identification sign.
- Every business that gets a digital audit has an implementation plan moving forward.
- All participating businesses in the digital audit have claimed their Google listing.
- Businesses feel ownership and excitement around the trail.
- Local awareness of the trail has improved.
Trail Ambassadors Responsible Recreation Signs ($11,380) to integrate the Take Care Out There responsible recreation messaging pillars and COVID-19 safety guidelines into materials used by the Trail Ambassador program in the Columbia Gorge. Outcomes include:
- Volunteers feel well prepared for another COVID-19 impacted summer with new useful communication tools that improve safety.
- Partners are using the new graphic design toolkit including iconography for key Take Care Out There messages.
- Inclusion and accessibility is improved by signage in multiple languages.
- Signs were well used and direct to deeper content online using QR codes.
Gorge Hop-on, Hop-off Trolley ($30,000) towards creation of a Columbia Gorge waterfall corridor hop-on-hop-off trolley system. Outcomes include:
- Offer a unique and high-quality visitor experience in the form of an interpretive tour.
- Reduce visitor traffic in the Gorge waterfall corridor.
- Reduce demand for parking in the Gorge waterfall corridor.
Mt. Hood Trail Signage ($31,375) for design and construction of a comprehensive trail signage program for 8.6 miles of new hiking trails developed by Mt. Hood Meadows in 2020. Outcomes include:
- Provide ease of access for visitors and residents by designing and installing comprehensive signage program for the new trail system, including: welcome and trail map signage, interpretive signage, trail marker signage and interpretive markers to interpret the specific flora and fauna.
- Improve inclusivity on the trail by translating signage and trail maps into different languages using QR codes.
- Help visitors identify the different levels of trail difficulty and challenge by installing informative trail signage.
Cascade Locks Port Parking Enhancement ($25,000) to fund enhancements to Cascade Locks Port parking lot that will provide access to multiple recreation modalities. Outcomes include:
- Serve the needs of hikers and bikers by constructing a parking lot that will give access to multiple recreation modalities.
- Provide a more accessible trail by constructing two portable bathrooms.
- Provide visitor and business information by adding an informational kiosk.
The Dalles – Parklet/Pedlet Expansion Project ($50,000) to expand the 2020 parklet/pedestrian bypass infrastructure to support additional outdoor dining on main street in 2021. Outcomes include:
- Meet business demand by expanding the existing 2020 parklet/pedlet project.
- Provide ease of use and access for different mobility abilities by providing ADA approved pedlets.
- Enable wider use across all business types by doubling the inventory of pedlets/parklets.
Columbia County Bike Hubs ($28,600) to develop four bike hubs that include a bike rack, bench, repair station, signage and an informational kiosk in three communities in Columbia County. Outcomes include:
- Enhance the visitor experience and alleviate apprehension for new users.
- Improve awareness of cycling, outdoor recreation and other visitor experiences in Columbia County.
- Support Columbia County’s ongoing efforts to provide consistent amenities, signage and visitor information across the destination.
- Demonstrate the value of bike hubs and serve as pilot project for other cities within Columbia County.
Prosper Portland – Painted Portland ($50,000) to offer safe experiences on bicycle and foot and enhance locations where people can stop to enjoy local businesses along the Portland Green Loop. Outcomes include:
- Contribute positively to the Portland narrative.
- Engage a high percentage of participants from BIPOC community.
- People are using the new spaces to safely gather and have a positive experience.
Salmonberry Trail Diversity & Stewardship Readiness ($25,000) for trail improvements and a new volunteer program in support of the Salmonberry Trail. Outcomes include:
- Develop meaningful relationships with leaders in communities of color; these relationships provide direction/action steps that Salmonberry Trail Foundation can take as an organization.
- High level stewardship plan for a segment of the trail, focus on Salmonberry River.
- Hold six stewardship events with a total of 60 people who reflect the Portland population demographics.
- Trail stewardship events with diverse participants are documented through photography.
Portland Healthy Business Plaza Development ($47,600) for development and implementation of temporary wayfinding and placemaking for 20 Portland healthy business plazas directing people towards outdoor dining areas in high-visitation neighborhoods. Outcomes include:
- The user experience at PBOT’s healthy businesses plazas has been enhanced through wayfinding and placemaking.
- Permit holding businesses experience an increase in customers and associated revenue.
- Pedestrian counts at plazas increase.
East Applegate Ridge Trail Restroom ($25,171) to fund installation of a vault toilet and safe recreation signage in the East Applegate Ridge Trailhead parking lot. Outcomes include:
- Improve trail access road.
- Provide a more accessible trail by constructing vault toilet and automatic hand sanitizer dispenser in the vault.
- Contribute to making everyone feel welcome on the trail by building a new trailhead sign.
Rogue Valley Vintners Digital Footprint Audit ($42,127) for a digital footprint audit and technical assistance to support 29 wineries in the Rogue Valley improve their online information and presence. Outcomes include:
- Winery digital content and visuals are accurate and up to date.
- Wineries are using social media to communicate, promote themselves and the region.
- All wineries have claimed Google listing and understand value/importance of continuing to update.
- Wineries are trained in how to use keywords to elevate region and understand search engine marketing and value for driving traffic to them.
- Uptick in use of hashtags: #roguevalleywinecountry and #winewitheverything.
Spring Creek Infrastructure Improvements ($40,000) to make important infrastructure improvements to Spring Creek access points that address high-use impacts at Collier State Park. Outcomes include:
- The impacts of soil erosion, low fish counts, pet and human waste have been reduced.
- Tribes feel respected as a result of these issues being addressed and have continued easy access to the waterway, as the creek is a critically important natural and culture resource for the tribes.
- Neighboring land owners feel respected as a result of these issues being addressed.
- Guides and outfitters continue to feel a sense of cooperation with land managers.
- Users of Spring Creek are prepared to safely use the river.
- Users have a better overall experience when accessing Spring Creek.
- River is accessible for a broader range of users with ADA compliant dock.
Southern Oregon Trail Alliance – Taylor Creek Trail ($17,857) for rehabilitation of sections of the Taylor Creek Trail following the Klondike Fire and construction of five trailhead kiosks along Taylor Creek Trail. Outcomes include:
- Restore sections of the Taylor Creek trail to U.S. Forest Service standards to make them accessible to intermediate level mountain bikers.
- Provide trail information, inclusive of a map, to better prepare visitors for using the trail.
- Improve safety and trail stewardship; increase knowledge of any challenges that a trail user may experience.
- Attract more people to use the trail.
Cottage Grove Parklet Development ($30,000) for construction of three outdoor public parklets that will support restaurant and business activity in the Downtown Cottage Grove Historic District. Outcomes include:
- Support the economic vitality and historic charm of Cottage Grove by constructing parklets on Main Street.
- Provide more places for people to eat and drink.
- Add public gathering space with amenities such as seating, plantings and public art.
- Construct bicycle parking along each parklet for broader access.
- Improve inclusivity by adding signage in English and Spanish.
Coburg Bike Hub ($11,700) to develop a bike hub that includes a fix-it station, lockers, picnic table, signage and device chargers on the southern anchor of the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. Outcomes include:
- Increase visitation by cyclists to Coburg generally and the bike hub.
- Increase diversity of cyclists outside of typical demographic (more families, etc.).
- Increase number of locals cycling to events in downtown.
- Activate Pavilion Park for residents and visitors.
- Increased patronage from cyclists to downtown businesses.
Westfir & Oakridge Bike Repair Hubs ($18,502) for bike hub development to complement wash and repair stations for the mountain bike destinations of greater Oakridge and Westfir area. Outcomes include:
- Reduce contaminants and sediment discharge near trailhead and into the river.
- Improve sense of responsibility among visitors to care for the area.
- Trailheads are seen as destinations for visitors.
- Support the continued promotion of Oakridge/Westfir as a mountain bike destination.
- Further encourage new and lower-income cyclists to participate.
- Attract more events to Greenwaters and Westfir as well as youth mountain bike clubs and skills clinics.
Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail ($18,400) for updates and distribution of the Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail brochure and digital footprint audit and assistance for food trail businesses. Outcomes include:
- Gather baseline metrics for value of the food trail based on annual survey inputs from returning food trail businesses.
- Create a fourth itinerary and have all businesses represented on food trail landing page located on the Visit Corvallis website.
- All businesses participating in the digital audit have claimed their Google business listing.
- Businesses participating in the audit implement a suggested improvement.
McKenzie Regenerative Travel Project ($21,313) to work with tour operators to create voluntourism travel packages that will both support local lodging properties and trail recovery efforts in the wildfire-impacted McKenzie River corridor. Outcomes include:
- Visitors from the region are inspired to become long-term stewards of their public lands.
- Locals in the Pacific Northwest have a renewed sense of travel opportunities in their backyard.
- Local stakeholders have had a good experience that generates a positive outlook/sentiment for hosting visitors in the future.
- Local businesses experience an economic boost.
- Locals feel that the volunteer visitor experiences have left the region better than before.
- Partners have new relationships with one another and see a new model for collaboration to give back to a destination.
Albany Outdoor Plaza Alley Development ($50,110) for enhancements to parking and public spaces to increase outdoor seating and expand outdoor dining in historic downtown Albany. Outcomes include:
- Over 80% of the alleyway building owners and businesses participate at some level in the project.
- Alley project becomes a marketable asset for Albany highlighting the rich history and diversity of the community.
- Visitors to the space have a positive experience.
- Volunteers are engaged and have a positive experience. Volunteers and community members feel proud of their involvement in the project and the results.
- Visitors of all ages and various cultures, seek out the alley dining experience as a destination when visiting downtown.
Willamette River Recreation – Water Trail Development & Safety ($50,000) for enhancements along the Willamette Water Trail including portable floatation devices, safety kiosks, river guardians, river sanitation support and discovery paddles for BIPOC community groups. Outcomes include:
- Address critical high-use challenges stemming from record usage.
- Enhance the visitor experience for people of different recreational backgrounds and skills.
- Introduce and educate underserved populations — and to break down access barriers to paddling and navigating the Willamette River.
- Create a more positive experience for visitors as a result of uncluttered riverbanks and well-kept restrooms.
Oregon Farm Stay Digital Footprint Audit ($13,500) for a digital footprint audit and technical assistance for 12 farm stays across Oregon to improve their online information and presence. Outcomes include:
- All 12 farms have claimed their Google listing and know how to use the associated tools (analytics, etc.) and other steps are taken towards improving SEO.
- Farms feel comfortable with and understand the important of online marketing.
- Farm stays begin following other farm stays on social media (know how to interact in that arena to help drive business for everyone).
- Farm stay websites have improved and it is clear how to contact businesses.
- Farm stays are telling their story through online marketing.
For media inquiries, see the official press release.