OTE - Oregon Travel Experience

OTE February 2013 E-news

Posted on: February 7th, 2013 by Madeline MacGregor in News & Press, Newsletter | No Comments


Meet our newest Council member, Kathy Watson

kathy watson

Governor John Kitzhaber has appointed Kathy M. Watson to represent the Second Congressional District on the Oregon Travel Information Council.

Watson is an accomplished communications and public relations professional and served for several years as press secretary for Oregon’s Senate Majority Office.

Watson is a professional chef and owner of “Nora’s Table,” a Hood River restaurant that uses sustainably produced and locally sourced ingredients.

“As a restaurant owner in a community that is very dependent on tourism, I get to talk to a lot of people who are visiting Oregon, many for the first time,” said Watson. “I know how important it is to be good guides and hosts to our visitors, and I think our rest areas can play a critical role in introducing people to the Oregon story.”

Read more about Ms. Watson

“What we did today”


Finished with her long shift, OTE rest area team member Danielle “Dani” Hawthorne sank gratefully into the seat of her partner’s car. Chatting about the day’s events, they left Dani’s workplace and eased into heavy traffic on northbound Interstate 5.

And that’s when things went south. However, Dani was on the scene to help an Oregon motorist get medical attention.

Read the full story

Listen and learn


OTE’s Heritage Trees and Historical Marker Programs were highlighted during a recent broadcast on Portland’s KPAM. OTE Heritage Program Administrator Annie von Domitz spoke with producer Rod McLaughlin about some of the more unusual historic events that have been honored by the two programs.

Listen to the podcast on our website.

Welcome new employees

Kory MorrisWhen OTE launched their rest area management on I-84 to include five more locations, we hired new staff to carry out our mission. Please join us in congratulating those who join us for the first time, as well as staff who received promotions.

Make sure to stop and meet them in person when visiting one of our locations.

Check out our OTE staff page

Image credits for this issue:

I-84 sunset shot: copyright 2009 by Hathorne Ave Photography; Chef Nora Watson: courtesy Nora Watson

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I-84 rest area program expansion


Following a unanimous vote by the 2012 legislation, Oregon Travel Experience (OTE) has assumed 2013 management oversight over five additional highway safety rest areas along the state’s I-84 corridor. The agency has hired local staff and contractors to monitor daily operations, ensure visitor safety, and oversee rest area cleanliness.

“I believe our rest area teams are some of the most conscientious public employees I know,” said OTE’s Rest Area Operations Manager Jason Nash. “They consistently go out of their way to help Oregon’s commuters and make sure our visitors feel welcome and safe.”

Find out about the new locations

Best ever winter traveler story

Image of Jancie and HeatherAn Oregon motorist’s holiday vacation was nearly ruined until Santa’s helpers stepped in to set things right. As thousands of travelers take to the road for family gatherings, Janice Conover found herself in the middle of a potential nightmare.

At first, things seemed to go well: Conover stopped at the I-5 Baldock rest area near Wilsonville to use the restroom and stretch her legs. She then jumped in her car and was soon on the highway and heading towards Idaho.

Twenty minutes later, Oregon Travel Experience’s rest area administrative staff completed their site rounds and prepared to return to Salem. As Rest Area Administrator Heather Swanson freshened up, she noticed a wallet sitting on a restroom rail.

Read what happened next

Memorial tribute to “Maynard the Tree Man Drawson”

Maynard Drawson

OTE, the Oregon Heritage Tree Program and its committee members were sorrowed to hear of our friend Maynard Drawson’s passage from this world to the next.

Maynard was instrumental in helping to save some of Oregon’s most important trees. The Oregon Heritage Tree Program would not exist if not for his life’s work preserving trees.

OTE has published an archival speech given in Maynard’s honor, and we think you will enjoy learning more about this amazing man and how he came to protect Oregon’s living history.

Read the memorial post

Meetings and events

Travel Information Council Meetings

April 10, 2013 – Salem Office; details to be announced.

July 10, 2013Ontario; details to be announced.

October 9, 2013The Dalles; details to be announced.

For more information about Council meetings, please contact us by email or telephone 1-800-574-9397.

OTE Heritage Program meetings

calendar_shot_13Historical Marker Program meeting: The public is invited to the committee meeting which will be held on February 12, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. The Oregon Historical Society will host the meeting at its offices in Portland. For more information, contact Annie von Domitz at 1-800-574-9397, or email Annie.

Baldock landscape contract awarded

At the most recent Travel Information Council meeting (January 9, 2013), a unanimous vote was reached to issue an “intent to award” notice to C&R Reforestation, a landscape company based in Aurora, Oregon.

OTE’s mission includes the hiring of local contractors to provide products and work that are cost effective and sustainable. Partnering with local companies helps strengthen the local economic infrastructure by creating jobs and retaining dollars spent within Oregon.

Calling all business highway sign customers

Remember to call our office and arrange for your business to be spotlighted on our website and in our E-news. It’s easy and is a free service as a part of your sign permit with OTE. Call 1-800-574-9397, or email us for more information.





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