OTE - Oregon Travel Experience

Spring 2008

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

Outstanding Industry Partner: Gregg Mindt

The Travel Information Council wishes to take a moment to acknowledge the Oregon Lodging Association’s CEO, Gregg Mindt. Gregg has demonstrated commitment to the tourism and hospitality industry in a variety of ways. He currently serves on the Governor’s Transportation Tourism Task Force (which TIC is tasked with staffing) and one of their important sub committees- the Strategic Rest Area Plan committee. He is a frequent partner with Travel Oregon and has helped countless Convention & Visitors Bureaus with issues regarding their jurisdictions hotel/motel tax allocations and advocates diligently on behalf of the lodging association members.
Gregg is a pleasure to work with and “gets the big picture”, says Cheryl Gribskov. “The task force is comprised of such vibrant leaders from a variety of industries and Gregg really roles up his sleeves and gets involved.”

The Oregon Lodging Association was formed in 1946 and is a statewide non profit trade association representing Oregon’s lodging industry. Based in Portland, its purpose is to promote and protect the lodging industry in Oregon.

Historical Marker News

Oregon turns 150 in 2009, and the Oregon Travel Information Council and its partners plan to celebrate by commissioning a special series of commemorative historical markers. This series exemplifies the purpose of our Historical Marker program, to honor our state’s people, places and events.

One of the most important reasons people travel is to experience other people’s landscapes, heritage and way of life. The markers will serve as gateways to travel and tourism at highly visible sites within Oregon’s seven geographic and cultural regions.

Your organization is invited to join the sesquicentennial celebration by sponsoring one of the markers in the series.

With your contribution, your business will be acknowledged on the markers for current and future generations. The markers will be maintained by the Oregon Travel Information Council. We have a variety of media events planned and a special insert in our beautiful Historical Marker and Heritage Tree brochure that is distributed at a variety of welcome center locations throughout the state.

Oregon Heritage Tree Dedications

Oregon is a state renowned for its magnificent trees. To increase public awareness of the important part trees play in Oregon’s history and heritage, the Oregon Heritage Tree program was established in 1995. It is the first state-sponsored heritage program in the nation and is operated under the auspices of the Travel Information Council.

Oregon heritage trees are individual and groups of trees that have been designated as significant because of their importance in national, state or regional history.

In April 2008, two trees in Southern Oregon were dedicated. One tree is the Hanley Farm Willow, which was planted by Martha Hanley in 1860 to commemorate her son’s birth. The willow cutting was obtained from the pioneer Luelling Nursery in Milwaukie Oregon and was transported to Southern Oregon stuck in a potato. Legend has it that every time something happened to a female Hanley the tree would react in some fashion. When Alice Hanley passed away in 1940 the tree fell over- however it did not die. It is very much alive.

The second dedication was the Silver Maple at Seven Oaks Farm. Doreen Bohnert Bradshaw explained that the maple is considered remarkable for its age and size. It measures 92 feet tall with a crown spread of 100 feet and circumference of over 19 feet. The tree was planted in 1860 as shade for a still standing log cabin that served as a store and a stage coach stop during the late 1800’s. In the early 20th century, John Bohnert purchased the farm, which his descendants continue to operate and sell its produce, earning the “Farm Family of the Year” award from Governor Barbara Roberts.

Strategic Rest Area Plan Town Hall Meetings

There are 32 rest areas in the state that are owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Others are owned by State Parks. In late summer/early fall of 2007, the Transportation Tourism Task Force identified the need to review all 32 rest area sites to determine what was working and what was not.

Most of the states rest areas were constructed more than 30 years ago. ODOT is attempting to maintain this system with minimal dollars and a lack of staff to address the various issues that arise in these areas.

Transportation officials are concerned about our aging rest area system, coupled with the expected rise in the states population and an anticipated significant increase in volume of freight traffic on our major roadways over the next twenty years.

A field study was conducted by Travel Information Council staff and findings were brought to a sub committee of the Task Force to determine what basic services are being offered, what we could offer, and to set standards of services and amenities that would be available in a tiered system.

Tier one represents basic service- a rest area that is clean, safe, has adequate parking for cars and trucks, have tourism information available, heated restrooms, provide drinking water, picnic areas, pet areas, have uniform signage, be open 24/7 and have a positive impact on the traveling public.

Tier two would be a welcome center and a staffed rest area. Tier three would be a public/private partnership that may be a travel plaza such as the one in the Woodburn shopping area.
After those standards were set, TIC was tasked with conducting “town hall meetings”
across the state with local tourism and economic development professionals and to meet with area ODOT managers to get their input.

The results of these town halls have been enlightening to date and will conclude in early June. TIC then plans on putting together a complete report of these findings to be brought back to the Task Force with the intention of legislative package development for a strategic rest area upgrade along Interstate 5 and 84. The package is intended for the 2009 legislative session.

New OTIC Employee

We are very pleased to welcome Mary Pat as the Chief of Staff. This new staff appointment is central to fulfilling the council’s on going commitment to provide motorists with information for safe and convenient travel. Mary Pat will oversee visitor services, event planning and fundraising. She will also provide legislative support for the council and work with the Governor’s Task Force on Transportation and Tourism.

Parker was Director of Public Relations & Marketing for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce/VCB for the last nine years, served on the board and became President of OACVB (The Oregon Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus) in 2006 and served on the Southern Oregon Visitors Association (SOVA) Board since 1999.

“It is a great opportunity for me and an exciting time in tourism- I am so happy to be here!” says Mary Pat.

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