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Electric Beach Mobility Chair Comes to Florence; Newport is Next Oregon Coast Town

Published 11/10/23 a 4:45 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Electric Beach Mobility Chair Comes to Florence; Newport is Next Oregon Coast Town

(Florence, Oregon) – Yet another town on the Oregon coast gets an extra dose of mobility, as the non-profit group David's Chair adds the sixth place on this coastline to get an electric all-terrain track chair. (Photos Lane County Parks).

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Florence joins five other towns: Gold Beach was the most recent, and Pacific City, Manzanita, Seaside and Netarts all snagged them earlier this year. Next in line will be Newport, the group said. Use is free, but it takes a reservation of three days ahead, made through the group's website, https://davidschair.org.

According to the group's Jeff Kallevig, Newport will be the seventh Oregon coast town, as soon as some testing and other issues are ironed out. While the chair has made it to Newport, it's not yet on the reservation system. Tigard has one, as well as White City in California.

See the story behind the Gold Beach acquisition on the south coast. Gold Beach To Get All-Terrain Track Chair, First on South Oregon Coast

See the Tillamook County and Seaside acquisition stories. N. Oregon Coast's Seaside Gets Mobi-Mats for Wheelchair Access

David's Chair CEO and founder Steve Furst said this has been in the works for months. Florence held a special track chair day back in May, and it now – finally – a full-time reality.

“I am so proud of the work that Jeff Kallevig (Operations Manager for NW Oregon) has been able to do,” he said. “He has taken on this project and coordinated with the volunteers and is working with the City of Florence, Lane County and other local organizations to provide support for this location.”


Courtesy Lane County Parks

The electric all-terrain track chairs allow all kinds of movement on rough, uneven landscapes, including some rocky areas that are found on the Oregon coast.

“Anyone with mobility impairments, requiring the assistance of wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes or crutches, will be able to use these chairs free of charge,” Furst said.

Testimonies on the website are rather emotional, including the man who was able to play with his son on the beach and able to kiss his wife in an upright, standing position.

They allow a new accessibility to what many take for granted, such as trails, lakes, rivers, and over difficult terrain such as sand or mud. All of a sudden, integral, experiential activities such as birdwatching or fishing become possible, along with simply enjoying the fresh air.


Courtesy Lane County Parks

David’s Chair is working with the group Oregon Parks Forever on these mobility challenges and the outdoors, setting the goal of having 10 locations along the Oregon coast with the chair.

Linn County will also offer a “Tow and Go” opportunity, where you can pick up a trailer and the chair and take it to the area of your choice.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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