Unique Park For The Blind


Photo: Ford, Brad

After nearly 60 years providing meaningful services and raising money the old-fashioned way, the Hull Foundation and Learning Center is trying something new: a Go Fund Me campaign.

“We have always relied on members, generous donors and park facility rentals to support our programs to serve blind and visually impaired adults” says Kerith J. Vance, executive director of the Foundation. “During the last two years we missed out on more than $250,000 of rental income due pandemic to restrictions. However, our demand for services has not decreased so we decided to reach out to a wider audience.”                 

Founded in 1962 just east of Sandy, Oregon, the Foundation manages the unique 23-acre Oral Hull Park that provides a safe and serene refuge from the stress and challenges of city life. The park includes a unique one-half acre ‘enchanted’ garden maintained for the last 50 years by regional garden club volunteers. It features plants that visitors can smell, taste, touch and see as well as a large bubbling fountain that visitors can hear and use for orientation. 

The Foundation long ago realized their guests needed more than a garden sanctuary. 

“Whether blind at birth or later in life as the result of illness, accident, or aging, blindness imposes new challenges to everyday life,” Ms. Vance says. “There is a need for new ways of accomplishing everyday tasks. There is also a need for a sense of community, encouragement and independence.”  

The Foundation hopes to raise more than $30,000 in its Go Fund Me campaign by December 31 to offset the costs of its programs and services including Zoom workshops, Peer-to-Peer Support calls, and overnight seminars. It is a non-profit 501c3 organization with limited paid staff. It does not receive government funding to support its programs or services. To find out more about our efforts and the services it provides, or to refer someone to our February 16th to 18th Introduction to Living with Sight Loss Seminar, please visit our website at www.OralHull.org or send us an email at OralHull@gmail.com.   

The Go Fund Me site is https://gofund.me/3b922fde.

About the Five Senses Gardens of Enchantment 

There are five distinct areas of the Gardens. Each one has unique elements that highlight its varied beauty.

Hearing Section

The Morning Glory Fountain creates the sound of falling water. Benches are spread around the raised pool, providing a relaxing spot where visitors can listen to the songs of birds, the sounds of water, and the music of wind chimes.

Taste Section

A 64-foot-long raised bed features herbs of various smells and flavors, both annuals and perennials. Herbs include thyme, spearmint, chocolate mint, chives, fennel, rosemary, sage, dill, sweet marjoram, and basil.

Touch Section

Here we strive to display plants with different textures: ferns, prickly birds nest spruce, mug pine, soft and fuzzy lambs’ ear, spiky yucca, and red-hot poker. Across from the path, shrubs are offering other interesting textures.

Fragrance Section

This section invites guests to enjoy sweet-scented shrubs such as lilacs, a peanut butter tree, Carolina allspice, and honeysuckle. In the raised beds, planted for summer and fall bloom, visitors will experience the scents of alyssum, scented geraniums, heliotrope, lilies, curry plant, and chocolate cosmos.

Sight Section

This area is the framework for the Gardens as a whole. Hedges and trees provide a background for the various beds, which are planted chiefly with bright annuals in the summer. Many sight-impaired people can distinguish shape and color to enjoy the masses of color along with their sighted friends.

About the Hull Foundation and Learning Center

The foundation was founded in 1962 with the donation by Oral B. Hull of a 23-acres parcel northeast of Sandy, OR, on a bluff overlooking the Sandy River. Its mission is to provide educational workshops, social activities and recreational programs and services for those who are blind or have sight loss through outreach, group workshops, educational seminars and personal programs.

Source: Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation


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