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Motorized Wheelchair Accessibility Events for Brookings, Oregon; Westport, Washington

Published 3/23/24 at 6:55 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Brookings, Oregon) – One of the major trends now taking place along the Washington shoreline and especially the Oregon coast is a shift towards increasing beach accessibility for those with mobility issues. One of those key players is the nonprofit group David's Chair, which has facilitated bringing all-terrain, motorized wheelchairs to various towns on Oregon's coastal region.

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Now, the group is putting together two “excursion” days in the region, where these specialized chairs are brought to Westport, Washington, and to Brookings, Oregon, for two days, allowing people to use for them for two-hour sets so they can go places on the beaches they have not been before.

In Brookings, the trackchair excursions are March 29 and 30 at Harris Beach State Park. In Westport, it happens at the Westport by the Sea Condos (16099 W Ocean Ave.) on April 5 and 6. The chairs are free to use.

To sign up, see the events page at David's Chair.

These unique wheelchairs are made by Action Trackchair, and allow the user to roam over even rubbly beach surfaces as well as sand. The time slots last two hours. It's advisable to arrange this ahead of time, but David's Chair CEO and founder Steve Furst said they're hoping to be flexible on the days of the events.

“Although we suggest you sign up for a time slot, we will do our best to accommodate anyone that shows up and wants to get out on the sand,” Furst told Oregon Coast Beach Connection.

Currently, the group has a regular lending program at several towns on Oregon's shoreline: Pacific City, Gold Beach, Newport, Seaside, Rockaway Beach, Manzanita, Netarts, and Florence. In fact, Newport just celebrated the opening of its beach trackchair program with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The nonprofit is named after David Hatrick, who passed away after a bout with ALS. He was at one point able to get hold of a trackchair that allowed him to resume some outdoor adventures. Not long after he passed, the group and Furst began their mission of helping other individuals.

It has sprouted into an impressive program that has helped many, resulting in some moving testimonials on its site.

While the group does not have regular chairs in Brookings as they do in other towns, this excursion there has been a tradition for some time now, actually its longest-running event.

“We chose Harris Beach for our first ever excursion back in 2018 just a little over two months after David passed,” Furst said. “Harris Beach was one of his favorite places to visit and his birthday always falls within spring break.”

They will be set up at the park by the restrooms, Furst said.

Gold Beach, Newport and Florence were the latest beach burghs to get the chair, available for reservations online, just as all David's Chairs are.

“We will have multiple track chairs at this event and are partnering with the Gold Beach Visitor center where we have two track chairs for people to use throughput the year,” Furst said.

Lincoln City and Seaside also have mobi-mats on the beach, which allows more mobility for standard wheelchairs. N. Oregon Coast's Seaside Gets Mobi-Mats for Wheelchair Access

The group did not indicate there were plans in the works for regular chairs in either towns, or if other areas were in the works.

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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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