SALEM, Ore.— Sept. 12, 2019 — Historic underground tours, cowboy courtesy, mountain bike trail development, public art installations and diversity and inclusion trainings are just a sampling of the projects that will make Oregon a more welcoming and exciting place to live and visit. The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, has awarded more than $470,000 in matching grant funding to organizations around the state to enhance, expand and promote the tourism 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 all Oregonians through strong, sustainable local communities that welcome a diversity of explorers. In 11 years, more than $8 million has been awarded to 190 projects across the state through Travel Oregon’s grant program.
“Travel Oregon’s mission is to inspire travel that drives community enhancement and economic development,” said Todd Davidson, Travel Oregon CEO. “By supporting these projects, we are not only working to fulfill this mission, but also making Oregon a better place for residents and visitors by increasing accessibility to attractions and preserving the state’s history and its natural places.”
The 30 grant projects awarded this year will be completed by October 2020.
The Travel Oregon Competitive Small Grant awardees and their projects are:
- Baker Loves Bikes ($8,000) to increase visitation to Eastern Oregon by marketing the new Churchill Hostel as a year-round destination for cyclists and skiers.
- Oregon Made Creative Foundation ($20,000) to create and install 15 new signs along the Historic Oregon Film Trail. Funds will also help market these additions to the trail, which designate notable film and TV locations across the state.
- Chehalem Center Association ($20,000) to upgrade the Ballroom Theatre and expand public performance offerings to meet the growing interest in arts and culture in Yamhill County.
- City of Ontario ($20,000) to develop a comprehensive wayfinding program with a consistent brand that reflects Ontario’s unique heritage.
- City of Scappoose ($10,816) for visitor amenities, including: a kiosk, bike rack, benches and ADA accessible picnic tables at the entrance of a new trailhead for the Crown Zellerbach Trail.
- City of Seaside Visitors Bureau ($14,590) to produce a commemorative booklet to celebrate the centennial of Seaside’s promenade in 2021. The booklet will include a passport program to drive overnight visitation.
- Coos Bay Downtown Foundation ($20,000) to produce the “Coos Bay Main Street Economic Vitality Plan,” a plan that will identify visitor and business opportunities for economic growth downtown Coos Bay.
- Dallas Downtown Association ($6,000) to install three bike repair stands and 25 bike racks to form an integrated web of bicycle infrastructure for cyclists in downtown Dallas.
- Depoe Bay Chamber of Commerce ($20,000) to expand photo assets and increase visitation through a strategic print and online advertising campaign.
- E Clampus Vitus-Umpqua Joe Chapter 1859 ($1,700) to install a historic marker in Grants Pass to commemorate the 1927/1928 Indian Marathon, a 480-mile race from San Francisco to Grants Pass for Native Americans.
- Gold Beach Main Street ($9,000) for decorative banners to market businesses along Highway 101 and attract passersby, inviting them to explore Gold Beach.
- Harney County Fairgrounds ($20,000) to produce a Market and Feasibility Study to determine what events the fairgrounds can attract and what structural improvements can be implemented to best utilize the fairgrounds and drive visitation.
- High Desert Museum ($20,000) to establish “Creating Together,” a committee comprised of experts from across the region, including five Tribal representatives, that will explore and refine major ideas for the renovation of the museum’s permanent exhibit, “By Hand Through Memory.”
- Hood River Soaring ($20,000) to develop a strategic communications and marketing plan to increase the number of glider tours and to increase overnight stays to Hood River.
- Josephine County ($20,000) to construct a new ADA accessible shower and restroom facility at Whitehorse Park.
- Little Theatre on the Bay ($20,000) to complete Phase IV of their restoration project. This phase will address spatial and technical issues, enhance the green room, increase use of special effects and install a new HVAC system to improve air quality in the theatre.
- Malin Historical Society ($15,000) to develop a Regional Barn Quilt Trail, employing local artists and quilt artisans to research, design and produce a series of plywood quilt blocks that portray the culture, history and landscape of the Klamath Basin communities.
- Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council ($20,000) to move the Middle Fork Trail from the Coal Creek floodplain and build a new single-track that, when complete, will increase the trail to 32 miles.
- Ashland Association ($17,000) to develop a long-term vision and development plan for the Mt. Ashland Ski Area to become a year-round destination by expanding infrastructure and offering new features that attract a diverse group of visitors and boost the local economy.
- Northwest Trails Alliance ($20,000) to complete Phase 1 of the master trail plan at the Klootchy Creek Trail System, an extensive network of mountain biking trails on the North Coast.
- Oregon Coast Aquarium ($20,000) to create a Pacific Rim exhibit that features marine wildlife from Oregon’s sandy depths to other varied regions of the Pacific including seahorses and vibrant tropical fish.
- Oregon Spinal Cord Injury Connection ($20,000) to partner with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to improve access at a selected state park on the Oregon Coast and take a group of 10-15 Oregonians with disabilities on a trip to introduce them to the opportunities available, educate them on how to plan and prepare for a successful getaway on Oregon’s coastline, and inspire them to return and explore more of the coast with their families year-round.
- Travel Pendleton ($15,000) to develop a “Cowboy Courtesy Center” – a mobile visitor center, featuring electric horses, that connects staff to visitors throughout Pendleton to provide firsthand local information, tips and personalized trip planning.
- Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport ($20,000) to support a minimum revenue guarantee incentive for new air service and routes to increase accessibility to Southern Oregon.
- Travel Salem ($10,000) to design a Historic Downtown Salem Underground Tour program, making use of the city’s network of underground tunnels dating back to the late 1800s.
- Travel Southern Oregon ($8,400) for three regional diversity and inclusion trainings for Destination Management Organizations and partners in the hospitality industry.
- Visit Corvallis ($20,000) for its first ever visitor profile research study to gain insight into visitor interests, their trip planning process and overall demographic information.
- Visit Corvallis ($4,835) to attend the TEAMS Conference and Expo, the world’s leading conference and expo for the sports-event industry.
- Washed Ashore ($20,000) to go toward a new sculpture along the Oregon Coast.
- Willamette Heritage Center ($10,655) to replace outdated signage at the five-acre historical site in downtown Salem.
Travel Oregon’s Competitive Medium Grants funding cycle will open in April 2020.