Another Freezin’ February in the books! This Polar Plunge season Special Olympics Oregon went bigger than ever with 7 different locations across the state in 2022. Thousands of crazy, brave souls raised money and awareness for SOOR this year - all for the privilege of jumping into an icy body of water.
I joined 250 others by plunging at the first-ever SOOR State Capital Polar Plunge at Illahe Hills Country Club in Salem on Saturday, February 5th. As a proud Willamette University alum, I was excited to return to my old college stomping grounds and was very proud to see such great community response with lots of high energy participation and creative costumes.  
Over the years, I have plunged into both the Columbia and Willamette Rivers many times, but this was my first time plunging into a swimming pool at an official SOOR plunge. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that jumping into a chilly pool is any less of an experience!  In fact, the iced-down pool in Salem was 44 degrees – the same temperature as the Deschutes River in Bend - which was the site for our Central Oregon Polar Plunge on that same day. It was plenty brisk and refreshing…
A big shout out to everyone who plunged on behalf of the athletes of Special Olympics Oregon – be it in a pool, a river, a lake or the many other creative ways that people have plunged virtually. Great job to you all!
THANK YOU to everyone who made a donation; to our generous corporate and community sponsors; and to the organizing committees and volunteers who worked hard to ensure that everyone was safe and happy at these events. We could not do this without the tremendous support from our Law Enforcement Torch Run community who have partnered with Special Olympics Oregon to host successful Polar Plunges in our state for the past decade and a half.    
Reminder, there is still time to support to your favorite plunger(s)! Our donation portal will remain open through the end of March. Go to to learn more
Mark Hanken,
Chief Operating Officer
Thank you to our 2022 Polar Plunge Sponsors!
Month of Giving

Get in the spirit of giving with Jersey Mike's all month as they support Special Olympics USA Games athletes from Team Oregon. Enjoy 10% off your order in-store or with promo code MOG10 on the app.
Offer valid 3/15-3/21.
We continue our 50 Stories of 50 Years campaign by shining a light on the people, athletes, and organizations that have helped shape the last 50 years of Special Olympics Oregon.
Story #3
Oregon Historical Society
Brave in the Attempt Exhibit
The Oregon Historical Society’s Brave in the Attempt exhibit shines a light on the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics Oregon and is on display for the public through May 22. SOOR athletes, Jenny Hill and Shawn Hinz, had the opportunity to interview OHS Executive Director and longtime SOOR fan and supporter, Kerry Tymchuk. Watch Interview »
Story #4
Athlete Leadership Council
The SOOR Athlete Leadership Council was launched in 2018 as a platform for athletes to gain leadership training and put their skills to work representing the ideas, needs, and voices of their fellow athletes across the state. Shawn Hinz, Jenny Hill, and Thomas Seeger share their experience of launching the ALC in 2018 and how they see it evolving over our next 50 years to ensure athletes are positioned to guide the organization to best meet their needs. Watch Interview »
Story #5
Athletes on the SOOR Board of Directors
SOOR athletes have contributed significantly as members of SOOR’s Board of Directors. Longtime athlete, Katie Dunn (and her Mom, Ann) reminisce about Katie’s early experiences as a 5-year old athlete and how she grew to become a celebrated competitor and key contributor as a Board member.
In less than 3 months, the 40 delegates of Team Oregon including athletes, Unified partners, coaches, UCS youth leaders, and staff will head to Orlando, Florida to compete and participate in special events at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games! 

Team Oregon delegates just completed a successful Training Camp in Beaverton this past weekend. It was a chance for athletes and Unified partners to travel from their hometowns to gather and meet their teammates and coaches, to train in their respective sports, to bond (including a trip to Providence Park to watch a soccer match courtesy of donated tickets from the Portland Timbers), dine on some delicious Jersey Mike’s sandwiches for lunch, and to prepare for the overall rigors of the USA Games experience.
We all have reasons to shine. For Special Olympics athletes, one of those reasons is the love of sport. Special Olympics Oregon athletes display remarkable abilities not only on the field but in all areas of life. By celebrating their dedication and perseverance, we become champions for a more inclusive world.
You can join us and shine by donating today, sharing our campaign with others, getting your employer to sponsor or match your contribution, and most of all, by cheering on the athletes and Unified partners of Team Oregon!

Annabeth Bassingthwaite

As part of Oregon’s USA Games delegation, Annabeth will participate in the Youth Leadership Experience. Annabeth Bassingthwaite is a Special Olympics Oregon athlete from Lincoln County. She has enjoyed competing as an athlete in track & field, bowling, and basketball during her time there. The travel and competition with others has been life-changing! 
Unified Partner
Lillibelle Bassingthwaite

As part of Oregon’s USA Games delegation as a Unified partner, Lillibelle will join her sister for the Youth Leadership Experience. She has been involved in the organization, serving as a Youth Volunteer and UCS Leadership Chair at Newport High School, for two years. Drawing inspiration from her sister, an athlete, she has been grateful for the chance to be part of the experience and has learned and grown while supporting her sister.
Malia Mills

Malia, from the High Desert Local Program, is one of 3 amazing coaches attending the 2022 USA Games with the Bend Senior High School Unified Basketball team. A longstanding coach of soccer and basketball – mostly IE events – she is super excited to attend a national event and watch the team play basketball.

Malia also enjoys and works as a speech and debate coach.
Our Mission
Special Olympics Oregon provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children, youth and adults living with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.