RICE HILL — The Cabin Creek Rest Area on Interstate 5 north of Roseburg now has an attendant to clean the site, make minor repairs and keep an eye out for the motoring public.
The rest stop at Milepost 148 was one of nine in the state for which the Oregon Travel Experience took over management on March 1, adding to the 20 rest areas OTE already managed.
Previously, the rest areas were overseen by the Oregon Department of Transportation.
The Cabin Creek stop will be staffed from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, said Jason Nash, OTE’s director of rest area operations.
Each attendant will know the area and be able to give travelers directions, he said.
“Not only can they give directions to do something a ways down the road, but also toward something in the local area,” Nash said.
OTE spokeswoman Maddie MacGregor said rest areas are often a traveler’s first stop in Oregon and should make a good impression.
“In a couple of months, I would be very surprised if people didn’t start noticing cleanliness and the grounds looking really spruced up,” she said. “We’ll do native planting. We’ll make this look attractive.”
The attendant will take care of general maintenance, she said.
“We’ll want to take a look at landscaping, making sure brush is cut back so sight lines are very visible, making sure walk ways are clear,” she said.
Travelers at rest stops run into a variety of problems, such as locking keys in a car, leaving a wallet or being lost, she said.
“People are there and have definite needs,” she said. “Our guys are there to help.”
The transfer of rest area management benefits ODOT, a department spokesman Jared Castle said.
“It allows us to focus on road maintenance and highway maintenance by having OTE handle the operations of the rest areas,” he said.
Three employees will rotate between the two positions at Cabin Creek and Gettings Creek at Milepost 178 south of Springfield, Nash said.
The attendants must live within 50 miles of the rest stop so they have knowledge of the area, according to MacGregor.
Dave Wallace, a former maintenance site operator at Roseburg High School, was hired as the dedicated Cabin Creek rest area specialist.
• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or at email@example.com.