Spring has arrived in the Umpqua Valley. Oregon Travel Experience rest area staff are busy across the state; cleaning, mowing, digging, and painting. As winter recedes, mid-sized projects are taking place at rest areas along the I-5 corridor. Blossoms on trees and several rainy days are keeping the Cabin Creek highway safety rest area colorful and green.
Cabin Creek was one of seven additional rest areas transferred to OTE’s care one year ago, from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Although ODOT did not oversee daily rest area crews, officials at both agencies agree that staffing rest areas creates safer and cleaner facilities for the public. Not only is there someone present on a daily basis to help motorists in need, but vital maintenance and repair schedules improve with steady vigilance.
When OTE rest area employees moved full-time operations into Cabin Creek last March, they needed onsite office space to prepare repair schedules, system accounting, write daily activity logs, and establish emergency, law enforcement and communications contacts. Staff are there to help with traveler emergencies and perform minor automotive repairs (such as charging dead batteries, and helping to change flat tires), and the onsite office acts as a welcoming place that travelers turn to for assistance or information.
OTE rest area offices also function as the primary location for the ODOT/OTE highway safety program known as the Free Coffee Program. Free coffee, hot tea or cocoa are served by local non-profit groups to help motorists rest and refresh before resuming their journeys. Any donations made by motorists for a refreshment, end up funding local charitable programs such as Meals on Wheels or student educational programs. With a dual purpose, the OTE rest area office becomes a central hub for the traveling public.
All of the OTE onsite offices are mobile units. Traditionally OTE uses small trailers that are commonly seen at construction sites. However, most modular offices are not ADA compliant. In addition to creating a foundation for the pre-fabricated trailer, OTE staff construct wheelchair ramps, steps, and decking that supports accessibility for all services offered at the rest area.
Cabin Creek staff, Steve Gennett, Austin Hawes and supervisor Dave Wallace, have been working hard to complete the deck in time for the upswing in spring traffic. The following image gallery tells the story of their hard work to complete the new office space. If you happen to be traveling the I-5 corridor any time soon, and pass through the Roseburg area, stop and see what the completed job looks like and test it out by grabbing that free cup of coffee and saying “hello” to our friendly and informed staff.
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