Moving Ahead September 2016

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History The development of a replacement I-5 rest area spans three decades. The previous rest area closed in 1997 for public safety, following a series of crashes that involved commercial trucks. The previous rest area was located on a 6-percent grade. Commercial trucks are now directed to use newly built restroom facilities at the Ashland Port of Entry located on northbound I-5 between Ashland Exits 14 and 19. “Separating restroom facilities for commercial trucks and the general public is another safety improvement,” said Fletcher. Gateway Design The new rest area and welcome center will serve as a safety destination for northbound visitors. Two Cascadiathemed buildings will add to the facility’s gateway design, which matches the environmentally-friendly sustainable look of the Welcome to Oregon sign as well as new interchange aesthetics improvements that were incorporated into bridge projects at Ashland Exits 14 and 19. The second phase of construction will add an outdoor kiosk, restrooms, picnic tables and an office for Oregon State Police troopers patrolling southern Jackson County and the Siskiyou Pass.

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September 23, 2016

The construction project is scheduled for completion in early 2018. Tourism Investment “The welcome center, co-located with the rest area and operated by Travel Oregon, will be a local, regional and statewide economic generator,” said ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson. Local and state tourism officials are looking forward to project completion. “The project will serve as the gateway to Oregon,” said Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson. “The new facility will help enhance and inspire the journey of those returning to Oregon or visiting our state for the first time. “Oregon tourism is a $10.3 billion industry. Opening a welcome center at such a significant entry point to the state will help drive economic growth.” More than three million vehicles travel north on I-5 into Oregon each year. According to the Oregon Tourism Commission, each dollar spent operating a welcome center equals $41 in visitor spending. “Welcome centers have long been recognized as an important element in a local area’s hospitality and tourism tool kit, and this should be no exception,” said Medford-Jackson County Chamber Executive Director Brad Hicks.

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