OTE - Oregon Travel Experience

Fall 2008

Posted on: September 19th, 2011 by Madeline MacGregor in News & Press, Newsletter | No Comments

Outstanding Industry Partner

The Travel Information Council is proud to acknowledge this quarter’s outstanding industry partner, Natalie Inouye, Vice President of Tourism Marketing for the Convention & Visitors Association of Lane County. Natalie has been with CVALCO for the past 19 years and served on numerous local and statewide committees, during her tenure. She has garnered much respect for her leadership and attention to detail. She is currently President of the Oregon Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau, past chair of the Willamette Visitors Association and chair of the sign sub committee for the Governors Task Force on Transportation & Tourism.

“Natalie is such a pleasure to work with” says Cheryl Gribskov, “she jumps in, rolls up her sleeves and gets things done.” Kari Westlund, of CVALCO, says “Natalie is an invaluable member of our staff team and a true professional asset for the community. Her extensive knowledge and clarity of thought guide our successful programs.”

The Convention & Visitors Association of Lane County(CVALCO) has been marketing Lane County as a convention, meeting, event and leisure-travel destination to attract overnight visits, thereby enhancing the economic and social well being of Lane County communities. Lane County was the proud host of Eugene ’08 the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field this last summer.

Oregon Heritage Trees Road Trip

The Oregon Heritage Tree committee led by Travel Information Councils’- Jim Renner and Chair of the committee Doug Grafe decided that a road trip was in order. On September 18th through the 20th twelve intrepid tree enthusiasts (and members of the committee) set off to Eastern Oregon. The committee’s first stop was at Eastern Oregon University to see a 60 foot tall black locust. Designated six years ago, the black locust is a testament to the memory of James and Elizabeth Baker. The Bakers were among the first five families to settle in La Grande in 1862. James Baker planted a locust tree as a foot marker at Elizabeth’s grave site because she loved them so much when he had planted some on their property. Today the University is on that site, the remains of the deceased have been moved but the tree remains.

The Oregon Heritage Tree committee also paid a visit to Greenwood Elementary School. Outside in front there is a plaque commemorating Victory Way. Victory Way recognizes the 250 Norway maples planted by volunteers there in 1923 to commemorate the end of World War I and to salute returning veterans. Less than 25 of the original maples survive today.

They also made a visit to the Village Grove in Wallowa County. The Village Grove of ponderosa pines have large oval scars on them, that provide lasting evidence of a traditional spring camp of the Nez Perce.

MISA Conference Notes

Congratulations to the MISA board on putting together a first rate conference in Seattle.
For those of you who don’t know the acronym, MISA stands for Motorist Information Services of America and this conference commemorated their 20th anniversary as an organization. Representatives from 27 states and Canada were on hand to learn and network with colleagues and experts. This is an association of transportation and travel professionals with a mission to provide travel and safety information to the motoring public.

We had some fascinating sessions on what works and what doesn’t in other  states as well as from other countries-(Hello New South Wales), on subjects ranging from Travel Center Programs to signing, to public relations campaigns on the dangers of micro- sleep to a wonderful panel presentation done by our own members of the Transportation Tourism Task Force. If you are interested in learning more about MISA please visit www.MISAonline.org.

Along the way they also stopped into the Oregon Tourism Commission meeting. Jim Renner and Doug Grafe gave a brief presentation about the Oregon Heritage Tree Program. The presentation was compelling and brought more support and awareness to an important partner in the state.

Siskiyou Welcome Center Update

On Thursday October 23rd, the Jackson County Planning Commission made a recommendation to approve the land use goal exceptions to move the process onto the next stage which will be for the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to approve the project for the construction of a new rest area and welcome center just south of Ashland.

This new rest area will replace the rest area that was closed in 1996 further south and closer to the Siskiyou Pass after a fatality accident. The rest area is critical not only to Southern Oregon but to the entire state as it provides a safe place for motorists to stop after descending into the valley and will serve as a welcoming place to gather information about all that Oregon has to offer.

Strategic Rest Area Plan Updates

The Transportation/Tourism Task Force, staffed by TIC, had a record turnout at its October 20 meeting in Salem – as well as a full agenda. Chris Warner, the Governor’s Liaison to Transportation, led the meeting on behalf of Chair (and Transportation Commissioner) Mike Nelson who was unable to attend.

The main focus of discussion was the new Rest Area Plan which assesses the current status of Oregon’s Rest Areas and makes recommendations for the future. The plan was crafted by Cheryl Gribskov, director of TIC, and her staff, after several months of development which included input from Task Force members as well as local transportation and tourism professionals and volunteer leaders across the state in recent “town hall” meetings. The process also included surveys of users at rest areas, research of studies done across the nation and in Canada, and development of options for on-going maintenance, upgrading, and potential expansion. The Plan is both broad in scope and specific in approach, with overall focus on safety and economic development opportunities.

Additional components of the Rest Area Plan include:

  • review of ODOT’s current proposed legislation regarding ensuring safety of users at Rest Areas through more stringent enforcement
  • recommendations for classifications of rest areas based on services provided
  • appropriate consistent signage (through criteria recommended by the Oregon Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus)
  • an informational/educational plan to increase industry and public awareness
  • discussion of funding options

The plan was unanimously adopted in concept, and will be further refined by TIC staff in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Transportation.


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