Ms.  Wheelchair (2020)

Leslie Keller being coronated by Randy Samuelson.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, Oregon has an official delegate for the historic Ms. Wheelchair America, Inc. Pageant, and she happens to be from Grants Pass.

Local resident, Leslie Keller, was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Oregon 2020 at HASL Center for Independent Living – a local non-profit that advocates for people with disabilities. She’s planning to tour the state to give speeches and share her story with schools and young children. Keller is determined to represent Oregon as best she can.

Read Further:

Grants Pass & Josephine County Chamber of Commerce; February 19, 2020

Grants Pass & Josephine County Chamber of Commerce:  Video Crowning Ms. Wheelchair; February 19, 2020

KBOI5:  Grants Pass local named Ms. Wheelchair Oregon, first in nearly 20 years; February 9, 2020

Facebook page for Ms. Wheelchair

Wheelchair Collection Drive (2018)

Tyler Kuhn with Randy Samuelson

Tyler Kuhn needed to complete a community based project in order to earn his Eagle Scout rank and sought out the assistance of Randy Samuelson, Executive Director of Handicap Awareness and Support League (HASL).   Since he uses a wheelchair himself, Tyler wanted to help others in need of a wheelchair or other equipment.  Tyler collaborated with Randy to devise a collection drive for wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment for their popular equipment loaning program.

By the end of his collection drive, Tyler was able to collect over 50 items.  By working with a group of fellow students at his school, they were able to fix up the wheelchairs and give them back to the community with help from his friends at HASL.

On July 9, 2018, Tyler completed his project and became an Eagle Scout.  Congratulations, Tyler!

Read Further:

KTLV: 14-year-old Boy Scout in a wheelchair is collecting wheelchairs for others; June 28th 2017

Wheelchair Accessibility on Caveman Bridge (2018)

In 2016, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) started work to seismically update and repair the Caveman Bridge on Highway 99 in Grants Pass, Oregon.  However, there was one more problem that needed to be fixed.  The sidewalk of the old bridge was too narrow for wheelchairs to cross over.  In planning the project, ODOT determined it was too difficult to widen the sidewalk.

HASL along with Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) and the City Council urged ODOT to widen the sidewalk.  With community advocacy highlighting this perturbing difficulty for the local disabled community, ODOT found a way to add three inches to the width of the sidewalk.

Read further:

BikePortland.Org:  The ODOT Files: Caving to pressure, a bridge sidewalk in Grants Pass will be three inches wider;  March 13th, 2018

KTVL: ODOT finds creative solution in making Caveman Bridge more accessible; April 11th 2018