Private and Public Policy Reviews for the Disabled

L. L. “Stub” Stewart State Park

By Stephen Rex Goode, BSW

pic_0054What most people outside of Oregon think when they think of Oregon is lush green evergreen forests filled with bears, cougars, and old recluses living in log cabins. It’s partially true. Oregon geography is a lot more diverse than that. Disabled people who want a taste of the beauty without some the barriers should come to L. L. “Stub” Stewart Park in northwestern Oregon.

I’m sitting here writing this review from one of the cabins in the park. I hesitate to call it camping. After having been a Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America for about ten years, holing up in a cabin is not my idea of camping. However, with the onset of arthritis and an old back injury reasserting itself, a nice cabin is about all I can handle, especially one as nice as this.pic_0075

You’ve heard city-fied people say it. “My idea of camping is a suite at the Motel 6.” I think that even those people would enjoy these cabins. I’m certain a person with mobility issues would enjoy it.

There are one-room and two-room cabins. They’re priced reasonably, certainly less than a Motel 6. I am in a two-room cabin. It is complete with a small table and four dining-room sized chairs. The table is adequate to seat four people for a small meal.

There is a coffee table in front of a sofa. The sofa folds down to make a bed. In the back room, there are four bunks stacked in twos. The lower beds stick out enough from the upper beds that a person could sit on the edge without the upper bunk being right over you. That was helpful for me. A regular bunk bed would have been very difficult for me to get in and out of.

Both rooms have lights with dimmers and ceiling fans. Both rooms have thermostat and forced air electric heaters. This is mid-November and it’s very comfortable.

The front porch of each cabin has a nice park-style bench where you can sit and watch the spectacular sunset over the valley to the west. Next to each cabin is a picnic table. There is no cooking allowed inside the cabins. You can set up a camp stove on the table outside. Each cabin does not have its own outdoor water spigot, but there’s one close enough to each cabin. There is also a waste water basin nearby.

There are men’s and women’s restrooms in the center of the parking area, along with two shower rooms at the back of the same building. The parking lot has one spot per cabin and two disabled spaces with ample room to load and unload a mobility device (mobi).

When you arrive, you have to register your vehicle. This is true whether you reserved in advance, which I recommend, or not. The registration station is quite a distance from the cabins. It’s hard to do it in the dark and the area where you do it isn’t lighted. While unloading, I tripped over a concrete barrier between the parking lot and the cabins. I fell hard on my knee and injured it badly. I know that those barriers are needed to keep vehicles from going too far, but the knee injury only complicated things for me.


Restroom building

The restrooms boast that they are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). It seems to be true. The toilets have handrails well-placed and the toilet paper flows well. The sink could be a little lower.

Get over any arachniphobia before you go in. There are spiders or harvestmen that hang out on the walls. (For the differences between spiders and harvestmen, see Opilones.) I couldn’t identify an exact species, but they’re basically daddy longlegs. I wouldn’t guarantee it, but they’re quite harmless. I walked into the shower area and there was one on the wall whose legs spanned about four inchs larger than my hand. I have a pretty big hand. By the time I went back to the cabin for a camera, it was gone. When I was here in late October, there were probably five or six of them on the walls of the restroom and one or two in the shower rooms. Here in mid-November, I only saw one out of all of the rooms. I never saw any in the cabins.

showerThe shower is spacious. It could easily accommodate a mobi. I’d say it’s about 8×8 feet. The actual shower stall is open, with a wall between it and the rest of the room. You could get a wheelchair right up to the bench in the shower stall.

I have a complaint about the bench. It’s the kind of bench that a lot of showers for disabled people have. It folds down to sit on with about four white slats bolted to a metal frame. Unless you have a rock hard gluteous maximus, the soft tissues of your Behind sink into the spaces between slats. When you go to get up, it hurts. Whoever invented those things never had to sit on them for any length of time.

The shower itself has two heads—one about 7 feet up and the other about 4 feet up. For someone sitting on the bench, they can be positioned for the water to land on you for washing and shampooing. You set the temperature of both with one handle. To save water and fuel, both showerheads turn themselves off after only a couple of minutes, but each can be restarted with the press of a button that you can reach from the seated position.

There’s a triangular metal basket positioned in the corner of the shower stall where you can put shampoo or anything else you need. Unfortunately, for me at six feet tall, you have to stand up to reach anything in it. They should lower it at least a foot.

The handrails were strong and well-positioned to help me raise myself off of the torture seat. Ouch!


From the parking lot, an asphalt trail leads to each cabin. It goes right up to the front porch. It is wide for mobility devices and no steps up. You can go from the parking lot right into the cabin with no problem in a mobe-dev. The doorways are all wide enough.

Picnic table If you have a mobi with good traction, you’ll be able to get to the picnic table. It’s across the dirt and patchy turf. The water spigot is up near one cabin’s front porch. There is one spigot in the cabin village that is accessible by a mobility device. The others you can get beside it with a mobi, but it would be pretty awkward to bend to the left to fill up a pot or bucket.

Now, about that sunset. The park is located along Oregon Highway 47 near Buxton, Oregon on the way to Vernonia. The part of the park where the cabins are overlooks a beautiful vally full of evergreens and deciduous trees. I couldn’t get close enough to them to identify them, but they are golden red right now. Sit on the front porch of one of the cabins. They all face west, although for some, the sunset is blocked by tall pine trees.

Watch the sun set over a distant ridge. The clouds light up in all sorts of beautiful sunset colors. The yellowing deciduous trees are illuminated and the evergreens go dark. It’s amazing! I wouldn’t doubt if people came here just for that. While we were here, we saw a county sheriff vehicle go through the parking lot. We were one of two parties camped here, so we wondered what was up.

The car parked in a parking spot where you could watch the sunset, paused a few minutes and then drove away. I couldn’t be sure, but I think he wanted to see the sunset and that was the main reason he came down the road to this spot.

Well Done

  • The disabled parking spaces are large.
  • The restroom has nice handrails.
  • The shower is accessible and usable.
  • Mobility around the cabin village is superior.
  • Getting into the cabin and bedroom is easy. 

Needs Work

  • The restroom sink is just a little high for a person in a wheelchair.
  • Lower the basket in the shower area so a person sitting on the bench can reach it.
  • I wish someone would invent a shower bench that doesn’t pinch your butt when you stand up.
  • Move the vehicle registration station nearer to the cabins. I walked there on my already-arthritic, and newly-injured knee.
  • At the very least, provide a light where the registration station is now. I almost had to walk all the way back to my vehicle so I could see what I was doing. My traveling companion, also disabled, opened up his cell phone so I could see the form.
  • I don’t know what can be done about the concrete blocks that I tripped on. Every time I’ve gone camping at any campground, someone always trips on those things in the dark.
Be the first to like.

Leave a Reply

If your comment is a support question, please post it at the forums.