Task force finalized by Governor’s Executive Order
In recognition of the important intersection of Transportation and Tourism in our state, Governor Kulongoski issued an Executive Order establishing a Transportation and Tourism Task Force (TTTF). TIC is charged with organizing and coordinating TTTF meetings.
The membership of the TTTF is specified in the Governor’s Order, and members hold leadership positions at each of these statewide groups with an interest in tourism and transportation:
Travel Oregon/Oregon Tourism Commission
Oregon Travel Information Council
Oregon Transportation Commission and Department of Transportation
Oregon Aviation Board and Department of Aviation
Oregon Economic and Community Development Department
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
Federal Highway Administration
Oregon Congressional Delegation Offices
Oregon Association of Visitors and Convention Bureaus
Oregon Lodging Association
Oregon Restaurant Association
Oregon Scenic Byways
Oregon Tribal Council
American Automobile Association of Oregon/Idaho
Oregon Trucking Associations
The Task Force’s mission is to facilitate a continued public-private partnership between government and the transportation and tourism industries that promotes and encourages the continued development of Oregon’s tourism industry. The Governor’s Executive Order established four duties for the TTTF, including communication between entities, removing barriers to dissemination of travel information, planning for upgrades to traveler information at key portals, and identifying resources that can be pooled or leveraged. Two priorities specified by the Governor’s Order are the creation of a permanent Siskiyou Rest Area and Welcome Center, and the creation of a Lane County Travel Plaza adjacent to I-5.
“TIC is thrilled about this opportunity to support the growth of the industry”, said Cheryl Gribskov, TIC Executive Director. “TIC staff and Council are eager to be of service”.
Welcome Centers end of season update
Oregon’s Welcome Centers wrapped up the travel season at the end of October. It was a great year, with increases in visitation and steady growth reported.
As of November 1, 2006 combined visitation at all nine centers was nearly 300,000 visitors, with an average increase of 8.5% over last year. The temporary Welcome Center at Ashland saw a marked increase with 17% more visitors this year than last year. Four of the state’s nine centers remain open year-round, and will continue to collect visitor counts for 2006.
The annual Welcome Centers “end of the season” meeting was held in Bend in partnership with Travel Oregon. Staff and volunteers from all the Welcome Centers attended to share info about the year, and to learn about plans for next year. In 2007, Travel Oregon will be supplying new computers to all the centers, as well as name tags, business cards and vests for staff.
Two new and exciting Welcome Centers are in the works: TIC and Travel Oregon are working with ODOT to set up a new, permanent Welcome Center in the new rest area to be constructed on I-5 near Ashland in 2008. Also, a Welcome Center located in Portland International Airport is penciled for January, 2007.
Last, the dates for the 2007 Welcome Center Training Conference and FAM tour were announced. The conference will be held in Jacksonville, March 3 through 6. All Welcome Center staff and volunteers, as well as staff from Visitor Centers managed by CVBs and Chambers of Commerce are welcome to attend this annual training conference. Many thanks to the community of Jacksonville for supporting this training conference!
New customers rate TIC services
New TIC sign customers during the six months between April and September, 2006 were surveyed about their experience with the signing process. Here’s what they had to say:
88% rated the signing process as Excellent/Good
97% rated the TIC staff as Excellent/Good
“From website to general questions to submission, process was easy to manage”
Tyrus Evan Winery
“I had planned on calling to say thank you for allowing me to have the signs. They have caused probably a four fold increase in people stopping! It has helped Gardiner as well, causing more people to check out the historic homes. It has even gotten homebuyers to check out the town.”
Tsunami Gallery, Gardiner
“The Australian gal (Angela) is awesome!”
Anthony’s Italian Cafe, Roseburg
National MISA Conference wrap-up
The Motorist Information Services Association (MISA), a national group of organizations like TIC, recently held it’s annual meeting in Kentucky. TIC staff was there to share and learn with similar entities from across the nation and Canada, and to help plot the future of motorist related info services.
Five members of the TIC staff, Bill MacKenzie from Intel, Ed Fischer from ODOT, and Scott West from Travel Oregon attended the conference to represent Oregon. Among the topics discussed were the Interstate Oasis program, relationships between DOTs and Tourism agencies, wireless internet access programs, partnering with Commissions for the Blind, and transportation issues/rebuilding a tourism base after a disaster (lessons from New Orleans). Welcome centers and logo sign programs were also discussed.
The conference was very productive, and in addition to learning from other states, relationships and communication within the industry were strengthened and enhanced. TIC will continue to serve as the administrative organization for MISA, and will organize the 2007 conference. And the benefits of participating in MISA keep coming – here’s a little something to share (ahem) a flavor for the conference location, try this recipe from Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versaille, Kentucky:
Woodford Reserve Corn Pudding
6 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
½ cup sugar
1 T flour
1 t salt
½ t baking powder
2 T melted butter
6 beaten eggs
3 cups whipping cream
Mix dry ingredients with corn. Beat eggs with cream and add to corn mixture. Add melted butter. Bake 45-55 minutes in a shallow, greased casserole or till knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Bake at 350 degrees.
For more information about MISA, please visit http://www.misaonline.org.
Lonesome Hickory Heritage Tree has good friends
It turns out the Lonesome Hickory Heritage Tree has more friends than its name might imply. When a new gas pipeline trench looked to be running close to the Lonesome Hickory, a concerned citizen spoke up.
Joseph Ward, a neighbor to the Lonesome Hickory, alerted TIC to the installation of a gas pipeline near the tree. After hearing from Mr. Ward, TIC’s Sign Operations Officer and Heritage Tree Program Manager Jim Renner contacted the Heritage Tree Committee member Paul Ries, who communicated with Committee Chair, Nancy Appling. Nancy traveled to the site of the construction, and met with the contractors. She learned they were conscientiously making efforts to stay as far away from the tree as possible.
“Oregon’s Heritage Trees will continue to grow thanks to citizens like Joseph Ward and volunteers like Paul and Nancy”, commented Jim. Any citizen concerned about the welfare of an Oregon Heritage Tree is encouraged to contact TIC to report potential threats.
For more information about Oregon Heritage Trees, please visit http://www.oregontic.com/heritage/trees.php
Meet the New “Face Behind the Phone”
In September, TIC welcomed a new staff person, and soon says “goodbye” to another. Diane Cheyne has joined TIC as Technical Services Coordinator, following Angela Willhite, who has served in that capacity for eleven years and is retiring. Angela is well known to TIC’s customers and partners, and some affectionately refer to her as “that Australian Gal”. While customers will miss Angela (and her accent), they’re sure to appreciate Diane and her customer service expertise.
Diane came to TIC from the Marion Soil and Water Conservation District where she served as Education Outreach Coordinator. A native of Vancouver, Washington, Diane and her family lived and farmed in Klamath Falls, Oregon for several years before moving to Salem. She attended Linfield College, and is a graduate of Corban College in Salem, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Diane and her husband Larry have two children, Tanner and Natalie. In her spare time, Diane enjoys home improvement projects, sports, and reading. She’s also an accomplished softball player.
All of the TIC staff is excited to have Diane on board! Please welcome her next time you have occasion to call the TIC office.
101st Historical Marker Dedicated in Bly, Oregon
The historical marker committee dedicated its 101st historical marker in Bly, Oregon in October.
The Balloon Bomb Marker is a result of a partnership with the Forest Service and the Bly Community Action Team, and funded in part by a grant from Klamath County.
“The Bly Community Action Team is proud to partner with the Historical Marker Committee, the Forest Service and Klamath County to bring this significant event to the attention of the general public and to honor those that lost their lives during WWII.”, said Leda Hunter of Bly, Oregon.
The marker commemorates an event that took place on a spring day in 1945. A party of 5 children, lead by a local minister’s wife, were killed by a Japanese “balloon bomb” near Bly, Oregon. The bomb, or Fugo, was part of a Japanese mission during World War II to spread terror and panic within the continental United States. The Fugo was designed to ignite fires, but few bombs did any real damage. The US government put the media under censorship regarding the bombs. The Japanese, with no news of the bombs arriving in the US, eventually abandoned the program.
ODOT, Travel Oregon, and TIC at National Transportation Officials Meeting
Oregon’ s three state agencies involved in transportation and tourism participated in the recent American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) meeting, held in Portland in October. 800 highway engineers and officials from across the United States got the chance to see how these intertwined industries work together in Oregon.
Travel Oregon invited TIC to participate in a booth at the trade show exhibition at the conference, and staff from both agencies greeted visitors during the two-day event. Delegates were provided travel related information and tips on things to see and do during their stay. Conversations about Governor Kulongoski’s Executive Order creating a Tourism and Transportation Task Force in Oregon were also on hand for those with questions about how the industries work together.
The Oregon Department of Transportation was awarded the 2006 AASHTO Legacy Project Award for the Bridge Delivery Program – a $1.3 billion enterprise aimed at replacing hundreds of the state’s bridges. Congratulations to ODOT on this well-deserved recognition!