Southern Oregon tribe opens I-5 rest area

Canyonville, Oregon (AP) July 2011

A Southern Oregon tribe has opened a freeway rest stop just off Interstate 5.

The Roseburg News-Review says the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians hopes to entice some of the travelers who stop there to go to its casino, hotels and other tourist businesses.

The Jordan Creek stop is on a ridge overlooking the Seven Feathers Truck and Travel Center just off the freeway.

It’s called a “rest stop,” rather than a “rest area,” to distinguish it from state-operated stations. Tribal officers will patrol it.

The rest stop has a covered pavilion, picnic tables, vending machines, a fenced yard for dogs and views of mountains for the travelers.

“Once they stop, they’ll come back,” predicted Tonya Theiss-Skrip, the tribe’s special projects officer. “I think it’s good for the community at large, the state and the tribe.”

The state estimates it will avoid spending $2 million for water and sewer repairs and save more than $250,000 a year by closing two nearby rest areas that have served 1,400 motorists a day.

The South Umpqua rest area at Milepost 112 between Canyonville and Myrtle Creek has been converted to a weigh station. The Cow Creek rest area at Milepost 82 just north of Glendale is slated to close after Labor Day.

No other privately owned rest areas are planned in the state.

“There’s not a lot of opportunities for other groups to take on this kind of project,” said Darren Neavoll, an ODOT maintenance manager. “Everything was in the right location to make the Jordan Creek project work.”