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Union County OR: Autism walk to "celebrate those on the spectrum"

Aug 4. 2022, The La Grande [OR] Observer, Colorful August walk will celebrate those on the autism spectrum
On Aug. 13, Union County residents will celebrate community members on the autism spectrum with flying colors.

Color the Blues for Autism Walk is an annual, family-friendly community event hosted in collaboration with the Autism Society of Oregon. Cassiopaia Smith, Union County representative for ASO, said the event is not just for those directly impacted by autism, but for allies, too.

"A lot of our families have someone on the spectrum in their family or a friend on the spectrum," Smith said. "Everyone can relate in some way or another."

This year's walk received two $2,500 donations from what the ASO calls "platinum sponsors" — La Grande's Center for Human Development and The Dalles-based non-profit Greater Oregon Behavioral Health. Other sponsors chipped in as well, including La Grande's own Bowman Trucking.

Smith and co-organizer JulieKay Dudley started the Union County Color the Blues for Autism Walk in 2016. According to Smith and Dudley, the event has outgrown its original locale at Riverside Park, and will now be held at the Union County Fairgrounds, 3604 N. Second St…. With the help of the Union County Chamber of Commerce, Smith hopes to garner more volunteers and community members who want to attend. Smith said she anticipates 250 attendees this year, but would be thrilled if more show up.

"There's so much craziness in the world today," she said. "We just want to let everyone know that we all can come together."

Funds from event registration fees will go toward supporting ASO-sponsored programs, events and support groups in Eastern Oregon. Registration is $10 for adults over 18 and $5 for children between three and 17. Admission is free for children two and under. Participants over the age of two receive T-shirts with their registration.


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