Local organizations receive grants to boost tourism and enhance economies

By on Thursday, November 30th, 2023 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

BAKER, UNION & WALLOWA COUNTIES — Several organizations across the tri-county area received funding aimed at enhancing local economies and communities through visitor industry improvements and promotion.

The grants come from the Oregon Tourism Commission, operating as Travel Oregon, and are part of $3.6 million in grants to 56 recipients across the state as part of its 2023 Competitive Grants Program.

According to Travel Oregon, “this initiative underscores Travel Oregon’s steadfast commitment to equity, economic enhancement, job creation, and community strengthening through the development and promotion of exceptional visitor experiences.”

Some of the local recipients include: 

Baker County Unlimited received $85,000 for building and parking lot improvements at the Baker County Visitor Center that improve accessibility and meet ADA requirements. 

Eastern Oregon Visitors Association received $96,120 to develop a video series, with supporting assets and paid media, centered on inclusive tourism promotion highlighting the region’s under-represented communities, businesses and attractions.

Joseph Branch Trail Consortium received $60,000 toward the development of an accessible, 63-mile, multi-use, non-motorized trail within the existing Wallowa Union Railroad Authority (WURA) corridor funding from Travel Oregon will directly support the project’s first ADA-compliant trailhead and trail section in the city of Wallowa.

Josephy Center for Arts and Culture received $56,200 to update and expand the current NE Oregon Arts Trail website, advertising & promotional materials to include more dynamic, interactive and inclusive features to reach audiences with physical and cognitive disabilities while enhancing inclusivity and accessibility for all.

Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce received $43,200 to host accessibility trainings and conduct audits of visitor-facing businesses on the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway to ensure customers with disabilities will be welcome.