New model is implemented in 2013
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.”
OTE has expanded I-84 rest area operations to include the following locations:
- Memaloose, at Milepost 73
- Boardman, at Milepost 160
- Stanfield, at Milepost 187
- Charles Reynolds, at Milepost 269
- Baker Valley, at Milepost 295
- Weatherby, at Milepost 336
- Ontario, at Milepost 377
OTE was legislatively charged (by the 2009 Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act) to provide additional transportation services and help stimulate local economies. Lawmakers and community advisory groups agree that rest areas are often the first place out-of-state motorists see; rest stops act as conduits to businesses, essential services, tourism and regional attractions.
“Teams placed at highway safety rest areas create a better overall environment for our state’s motorists and for those who live and do business near them,” said OTE’s Chief Executive Officer Kyle K. Walker. “Our staff not only deliver a high level of on-the-ground traveler support, but their connections to local communities often create the perfect bridge to helping preserve economic prosperity.”
Travelers are encouraged to participate in reviewing OTE’s rest area oversight by submitting visitor comment cards available at each stop’s location. The agency responds to concerns and follows through with onsite review. “If a disproportionate number of motorists say that we’ve run out of essentials, we’ll note that we need to stock more supplies in that rest area,” said Nash. “We receive excellent marks from visitors who point out that our teams are ‘nice people’ or that trash or debris is consistently controlled. Staff courtesy and cleanliness rank very high on the comment scale.”
OTE unveiled their unique model of rest area management in 2010; placing teams at two I-84 locations and three locations along I-5. In 2012, two rest areas situated at major scenic gateways: Mt. Hood’s Government Camp and the North Coast’s Tillamook were additions to OTE’s roster.
“The Oregon Department of Transportation, the Oregon Tourism Commission, local lawmakers, and community and business advisory groups have all played a role in ensuring Oregon’s rest areas continue to serve our motorists and help our state’s economy thrive,” said Walker. “OTE is excited to be part of this holistic approach to rest area vitality and motorist safety.”