Beach wheelchair lockers, historic theater renovations, mountain bike trail development and increased signage are just some of the products that will soon be available for Oregonians and our visitors to enjoy. The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, awarded almost $350,000 in matching grant funding to organizations around the state to enhance, expand and promote the visitor industry.
The competitive grants program awards eligible applicants funding for projects that contribute to Oregon’s tourism economy in communities throughout the state that support Travel Oregon’s vision of a better life for Oregonians through strong, sustainable local economies. Over the past decade, more than $4.8 million have been awarded to 150 projects across the state through Travel Oregon’s grant program.
“Travel Oregon’s mission is to inspire travel that drives sustainable economic development,” said Todd Davidson, Travel Oregon CEO. “By supporting these projects, we are not only generating economic impact across the state, but also making Oregon a better place for residents and visitors by providing them with world-class products, preserving the state’s history and increasing accessibility to existing attractions.”
The 23 grant projects awarded this year will be completed by November 2019.
The Travel Oregon Competitive Small Grant awardees and their projects are:
- City of Independence to construct and install pedestrian wayfinding signage throughout the historic downtown and along the Willamette River Trail.
- Wallowa Mountains Hells Canyon Trails Association to dismantle, move and reassemble the 120-foot long David Wheeler Memorial suspension footbridge from its current location near the Wallowa River to a new location one-quarter mile uphill, where it will span BC Creek and revitalize the Chief Joseph Trail.
- Sunset Empire Park & Recreation District to purchase and install three weatherproof lockers specifically designed to store a beach wheelchair.
- City of Cascade Locks to construct a “Hub” to serve as a community operated rest stop for hikers, cyclists, recreationalists and community members. The Hub will include amenities such as information kiosks, water fountains, restrooms and showers, electrical outlets, bicycle parking and repair stations, picnic areas and lockers and storage facilities.
- Columbia River Maritime Museum to design and construct interpretive sign panels for placement with existing historic artifacts and buildings on public walkways and trolley tracks which run through the museum campus in Astoria.
- Klamath Trails Alliance for Spence Mountain Trail development to construct a second black diamond trail called “Queen of the Lake.”
- Marshfield High School to complete work on the historic Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery by installing four panels on the cemetery gate outlining basic rules and etiquette, access and contact information, a cemetery map and cemetery history.
- TORTA to develop a world-class, comprehensive mountain biking trail system just outside of Pacific City.
- Baker County Tourism to bring Pink Bike Magazine, one of the leading publications among mountain biking enthusiasts, to the region to produce a print and online feature on mountain biking in Baker and Union counties.
- Lake County Chamber of Commerce to market the unique geological features of Lake County to travelers, hikers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts by designing, printing and distributing maps highlighting the region’s geological attractions.
- Port of St. Helens for improvements at Bayfront RV & Marina Park including picnic tables, landscaping, wayfinding signage and information kiosks.
- Baker County Tourism to send six Baker County tourism business owners to the 2019 Go West Summit trade show to connect with the world’s top international tour operators.
- Oregon Electric Railway Museum to upgrade the museum’s Trolley Barn to provide full visitor access with three additional exit doors, upgraded LED lighting and two ADA parking spaces.
- Eugene Civic Alliance to conduct an economic impact study, develop financial forecasts, identify marketing opportunities and an event outreach strategy for the new Civic Park sports and recreation facility.
- Cottage Theatre to remodel the facility to increase seating capacity (in addition to ADA seating), improve sightlines and upgrade technical capabilities.
- Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation to develop a statewide brand for Oregon’s Farmers Markets (OFM), in addition to a mobile-friendly online OFM finder, expanded annual farmers market directory and first-ever OFM holiday brochure.
- Friends of Sumpter Valley Dredge to enhance the visitor experience at Sumpter Dredge by developing a marketing and outreach plan, a fundraising plan and updating the visitor’s center interpretive plan.
- Oregon Electric Railway Museum to purchase rare and difficult to acquire parts to restore the last remaining electric interurban car (#1067) that was built in Portland, Ore.
- Cape Blanco Heritage Society to create a new tourism product by commissioning a 4’ x 4’ scale model of the Cape Blanco Light Station as it was in 1910.
- City of Canby to create the first ever Canby Tourism Plan, which will gather input from stakeholders and use insights from demographics studies to create a marketing and initial strategic plan.
- Umatilla County Historical Society to increase visibility of the Heritage Station Museum by installing a 4’x 8’ LED sign in front of the building.
- Eastern Oregon Regional Theater Inc. to produce construction documents necessary to begin the renovation of the historic Orpheum Theater building in Baker City’s Main Street District.
- Oregon Adaptive Sports (OAS) to develop an inclusive marketing project to further extend reach to visitors with disabilities by overhauling the OAS website and creating compelling video and photo content to be utilized in OAS marketing efforts.
Travel Oregon’s next Competitive Small Grants funding cycle will open in May 2019.
Photo by Elene Pressprich