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Coastal communities get grant to enhance accessibility

 Health officials have lifted an advisory for D River beach in Lincoln City.
Chris Lehman
Health officials have lifted an advisory for D River beach in Lincoln City.

Eight coastal Oregon communities are getting a grant from Travel Oregon to help improve their accessibility for travelers with disabilities.

The funding won’t be enough, in and of itself, to make full-scale infrastructure improvements. Instead, it’s meant to help the towns figure out what resources they already have, and then market those resources to people who need them.

Advance knowledge is key for people with disabilities, said Bettina Hannigan, president and CEO of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce.

“So that when people come over to the coast, they know ‘hey, I’ve got a restaurant that’s going to be available, that I can go into,’" she said. "Or ‘I can go into the events center and they’re going to have a hearing loop there.’”

The towns will partner with “Wheel the World,” a company that works to help people with disabilities find accessible services when traveling.

"Sometimes it may not be the accessibility itself that needs to be improved, but the awareness of what different locations have," said Hannigan. That's where the partnership with Wheel the World comes into play.

Aside from Florence, the other communities receiving an accessibility grant are Astoria-Warrenton, Lincoln City, Coos Bay-North Bend-Charleston, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport and Yachats.

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Chris M Lehman