Every two years, seven new Oregon projects are nominated to be recipients of the Fund – one from each of Oregon’s seven tourism regions. These projects work to enhance natural environments, support communities’ economic vitality and enrich their appeal as a destination – for both the experience of locals and visitors alike.
Funds are collected from participating businesses by the Fund administrator, The Oregon Community Foundation, a third-party 501(c)3 non-profit organization working with Travel Oregon. The funds are then distributed equally among all seven projects at the start of each calendar year.
Selected projects support one or more of the objectives below:
- Improve visitor experience in Oregon
- Restore or protect Oregon’s natural landscapes
- Enhance Oregon’s outdoor recreation product
- Provide volunteer opportunities for Oregon residents and visitors
2018-2019 Project Beneficiaries:
Oregon Coast | Tillamook Estuaries Partnership
Explore Nature – This project is a collaborative effort between eight partner organizations to deliver a series of over 60 meaningful, nature-based hikes, walks, and paddles that showcase the uniqueness of Tillamook County and the work being done to conserve the area’s natural resources, restore biodiversity, and preserve natural resource-based industries.
The Portland Region | Northwest Trails Alliance
Dirt Lab Evolution at Gateway Green – Since opening in 2017, Gateway Green is quickly becoming an iconic mountain bike attraction in Portland for users of all skills levels. The location of Gateway Green — in one of Portland’s underserved neighborhoods — also helps to increase new and diverse user groups to this outdoor activity. This project will help increase the fun and challenge of mountain biking at Gateway Green’s Dirt Lab, while simultaneously lowering the bar for the youngest riders.
Willamette Valley | The Oregon Timber Trail Alliance
Bunchgrass Ridge Rehabilitation – Bunchgrass Ridge is a historic transportation route for travelers and recreationalists looking to connect Oakridge and the Willamette Valley to Central Oregon. Recent wildfires, poorly designed switchbacks, erosion, and a missing segment of trail have all combined to prevent Bunchgrass Ridge from realizing its potential as a resource for the Oakridge community. This project will re-establish this epic backcountry destination for all users through volunteer events and work parties.
Southern Oregon | The Umpqua National Forest
Restoring the North Umpqua Trail – Damage from the 2017 Umpqua North Complex closed 12.5 miles of the 79-mile North Umpqua Trail for the foreseeable future. Through this project, the Umpqua National Forest will offer a volunteer training program and build a sustainable volunteer base tailored to the restoration and stewardship of the North Umpqua Trail.
Central Oregon | Oregon Equestrians Trails
Cascade Lakes Mountain Bike Trail – This project will enhance the recreational experience for visitors and locals by creating a new mountain bike trail in the area to alleviate user conflicts on the nearby Metolius-Windigo Trail.
Mt. Hood / Columbia River Gorge | Friends of the Columbia Gorge
Ready, Set, GOrge! – Ready, Set, GOrge! is a collaborative effort to inspire Columbia Gorge visitors to keep their visit safe and fun. The funding provided by the Forever Fund will support Friends of the Columbia Gorge to expand this campaign by creating seasonal digital and print content and offering trainings for public-facing businesses, chambers, trailhead ambassadors to ensure the Ready, Set, GOrge! message is used consistently and inspires more people to enjoy the Gorge responsibly.
Eastern Oregon | Oregon Natural Desert Association
Oregon Desert Trail – Oregon’s high desert public lands are largely unknown and difficult to access. The Oregon Desert Trail helps break down these barriers and provide users with an inspiring introduction to Eastern Oregon’s unparalleled natural beauty. The funding provided by the Forever Fund will help the Oregon Natural Desert Association to host 10 stewardship projects to improve the route corridor, to engage in community outreach and develop promotional materials.
2016-2017 Project Beneficiaries:
Oregon Coast | Redfish Rocks Community Team
Diver Access in Port Orford – This project will establish a safe access point for scuba diving at the port of Port Orford along the southern Oregon coast.
The Portland Region | SOLVE
Portland Metro Park Restoration – SOLVE will host eight volunteer events in parks located in the greater Portland Metro area. These events will directly enhance a park’s environment through the large-scale removal of harmful trash, debris and invasive vegetation and then by planting native, ecologically-appropriate vegetation.
Willamette Valley | Oregon Wine Country Electric Vehicle Byway Alliance
Plug & Pinot – This project will install new charging stations through the Willamette Valley and build awareness of where you can take your electric vehicle wine tasting.
Southern Oregon | Elkton Community Education Center
Monarch Butterfly Project – This project will develop an extensive demonstration butterfly habitat at the Elkton Community Education Center. The expanded habitat will support monarch research programs and increase capacity for visitors to enjoy the Butterfly Pavilion and to learn how to create backyard butterfly habitats.
Central Oregon | Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce
Sisters Tourism Directory Kiosks – This project will install traveler information kiosks in the town of Sisters, to inform and direct visitors to the location of trails, green spaces, downtown merchants, restaurants, bike friendly businesses and the arts district.
Mt. Hood / Columbia River Gorge | Sandy River Basin Watershed Council
Sandy River Water Trail Recreation and Restoration Guide – This project will develop a new Sandy River Water Trail Recreation and Restoration Guide. The guide will be available in both print and digital editions to engage recreational enthusiasts to experience the Sandy River and to educate visitors on sustainable river stewardship.
Eastern Oregon | Joseph Branch Trail Consortium
Rails with Trails Project – This project will begin building a multi-use non-motorized trail alongside the Wallowa Union Railroad between Wallowa and Union county in eastern Oregon.
2014-2015 Project Beneficiaries:
Oregon Coast | The Nature Conservancy
Netarts Native Oyster Restoration Plan – This project will reintroduce the Oregon-native Olympia oysters in suitable habitats, while creating new self-sustaining populations for both ecological and economic purposes.
The Portland Region | The Human Access Project
Audrey McCall Beach – Now that the Willamette River has been declared clean and safe for swimming, The Human Access Project will provide a new water-based recreation opportunity in Portland by restoring beach access underneath the Hawthorne Bridge.
Willamette Valley | Camas Country Mill
The Schoolhouse Project – This project will convert a historic one-room schoolhouse into an interpretive center in the Willamette Valley. The restored site will educate visitors on the seed-to-table process and how locally grown and locally supported agriculture can benefit the community.
Southern Oregon | US Bureau of Land Management and The Nature Conservancy
Table Rocks Interpretive Plan – A coalition of local organizations will develop new visitor education programs designed to protect the precious natural and cultural heritage of the iconic Table Rocks, located just outside of Medford.
Central Oregon | Bend Paddle Trail Alliance
Bend Whitewater Park – This project supports restoration of the Colorado Dam site in downtown Bend to more natural conditions for fish habitat and a whitewater surf channel that will serve as a premier site for whitewater recreation and training.
Mt. Hood / Columbia River Gorge | Hood River Area Trail Stewards
The Kleeway Mountain Bike Trail – In an effort to ease user conflicts on the 7 Streams Artery Trail and improve recreation opportunities in Post Canyon just outside of Hood River, this new trail will enhance and preserve premier trail experiences for all users.
Eastern Oregon | The Fossil Educational Foundation
Native Plant Park – The Foundation is developing a new interpretive area behind the Fossil Elementary School for visitors to experience the unique native plants and local ecosystems of Oregon’s High Desert.
2012-2013 Project Beneficiaries:
Oregon Coast | Friends of Haystack Rock
The Sustainable Seafood Initiative – will increase visitor awareness of their role within the ocean food web, especially as it pertains to the animals and environment of Haystack Rock. The project will empower visitors to make sustainable seafood choices and encourage patronage of local program partners (including restaurants and seafood vendors) who pledge to make sustainable seafood business choices.
The Portland Region | Friends of Trees
The Living Highway Project – Friends of Trees will plant and maintain over 5,000 trees along I-205 using more than 2,000 volunteers donating 10,000 hours as part of the I-205 Greenspace Initiative. The Initiative partners with ODOT, Metro and numerous businesses, non-profits, neighborhood association and community groups.
Willamette Valley | Willamette Farm & Food Coalition
Promoting Locally Grown Beans and Grains – Willamette Farm & Food Coalition is working to increase sales to local consumers of beans, grains and edible seeds grown by farms in the southern Willamette Valley. The project will develop promotional display materials for grocery stores,restaurants, hotels, bed and breakfasts and other markets that carry local produce, telling the stories of farmers in the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project.
Southern Oregon | Rogue River Greenway Foundation
Building Rogue River Corridor & Greenway – The Rogue River Greenway Foundation will connect the town of Rogue River to the Valley of the Rogue with a corridor, providing a trail upon which children, families and travelers can recreate. Project activities will include building the trails and installing interpretive signage to share the area’s compelling history and educate its travelers on its abundance of flora and fauna.
Central Oregon | Trout Unlimited Deschutes Chapter
Deschutes Restoration Outreach Program – Trout Unlimited is working to implement the Deschutes Restoration Outreach Program (DROP), which builds an environmental ethic in Central Oregon to restore and sustain the health of the upper Deschutes basin by increasing volunteer engagement and service in the region.
Mt. Hood / Columbia River Gorge | Friends of the Columbia River Gorge
The Mosier Plateau Trail – The trail will be a 1.4-mile non-motorized trail on Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust land providing stunning Gorge vistas as well as direct access to the community of Mosier, Or.
Eastern Oregon | Northeast Oregon Economic Development District
Wallowa County Agritourism Development – The Northeast Oregon Economic Development District will help develop agritourism in Eastern Oregon by providing visitor information, developing new point-of-sale options for local food products, services and enhancing collaboration.