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Device at Barton Park, the first of its kind in the county, can recharge wheelchairs in 45 minutes

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Michael Foley stands next to the new wheelchair charging station at Barton Park. Foley, who volunteers with the Oregon Office on Disabilities and Health, was involved with the installation.

A new feature at Barton Park will help people who use wheelchairs connect with outdoor recreation.

Several weeks ago, a charging station for the chairs was added outside the restrooms near the play structure in the Clackamas County-run recreation area at 19009 S.E. Barton Park Road.

The charging stations are manufactured by the Pendleton-based Clearview Disability Resource Center. The force behind the disability resource center is Daron Umbarger, who has Multiple Sclerosis and uses a wheelchair.

With the station, a chair can fully recharge in 45 minutes. The device also has the capability to charge a smartphone.

The Barton Park charging station is the first of its kind in Clackamas County, though they are located in eight other states, including Ohio, Montana, Iowa, Missouri, New York, South Dakota, Kansas and Alabama.

The charging station cost $450 and was purchased by Clackamas County Parks.

All involved with the project are eager to see the charging stations utilized.

"It takes a barrier away by putting (them) in. It lets people in chairs get out there and participate in their county. They can be in the parks not just for 20 minutes, but overnight," said Michael Foley, who volunteers with the Oregon Office on Disabilities and Health and was involved with the installation at Barton Park.

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