Nearly one year after Lincoln City began to build a fleet of beach wheelchairs, two other coastal cities will enhance accessibility with reservable equipment that can easily navigate the sand.
Both Seaside and Manzanita are getting one electric, all-terrain wheelchair each later this month thanks to a partnership between nonprofit David’s Chair Outdoor Mobility Systems and Oregon Parks Forever.
The chairs, which move through the use of two bands of treads, can get mobility-impaired individuals off of the sidewalk or boardwalk and onto the sand—all the way to the edge of the ocean’s waves. Anyone who needs assistance—including people who use wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, crutches or canes—will be able to borrow the all-terrain vehicles, free of charge, by booking a slot online.
The chairs will be located at the Seaside Elks Lodge at 324 Ave. A (one block behind the Broadway Street Pig ‘N Pancake) and at the Manzanita Visitor’s Center at 31 Laneda Ave. The devices arrive at their new homes at the end of this week, and reservations open May 1 in Seaside and May 5 in Manzanita, which will give volunteers time to train before they’re open for public use.
The two chairs are just the start of an ambitious project to bring even more track-propelled appliances to the Oregon Coast and along the Interstate 5 corridor. David’s Chair and Oregon Parks Forever are eyeing American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Elks lodges as potential hosts as well as tourism outlets. The organizations hope to place a total of 10 chairs around the region.
Currently, you can reserve one of seven chairs from either David’s Chair location in Tigard or White City in Southern Oregon, though that requires hitching a trailer to your vehicle and hauling one away yourself.
Meanwhile, those headed to Lincoln City can still check out a beach wheelchair there, seven days a week, from 8 am to 7 pm May through September and 8 am to 4 pm October through April. Those chairs are not electric, but they do have large, balloon-style tires that make it easier to travel across soft surfaces like sand.