Snow. Didn’t get enough of it? Just take a look at how OTE’s janitorial staff at the Memaloose Rest Area near Hood River are moving trash from the cans to the dumpster. Maybe we should send Kent Kramer a couple of huskies to help?
All kidding aside, Oregon’s record-breaking cold and snow season has been challenging for everyone. Our rest area staff work to keep highway rest areas open—even during inclement weather. The most widely used route to Eastern Oregon from Portland, I-84, has been inundated by ice, freezing rain and fog, and near blizzard conditions. OTE’s rest areas have been forced to enact temporary closures when commercial trucks and other vehicles became stuck on icy entrance and exit ramps. However, even when rest areas are closed to the public, staff continue to work behind the scenes.
OTE rest area specialists are busy feverishly shoveling walkways, plowing parking lots, deicing faucets, and creating safe walking paths to rest area buildings. Their work is ongoing while the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Transportation manage revolving closures through pockets of the Interstate hit hardest by inclement weather. The goal is to keep the rest areas open when the highway is open, which requires coordination and communication among multiple agencies.
The next time you visit one of our I-84 rest areas and see one of our employees working to keep travelers safe, say hello. For many motorists, rest area staff are the unsung heroes and heroines of our Oregon highway system.