July 30, 2019 R3-21-19
ASHLAND – The welcome mat rolled out this morning for the first northbound visitors at the new I-5 Siskiyou Rest Area, south of Ashland. The Travel Oregon operated welcome center opens tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. with opening festivities and special visitor giveaways.
The $12 million facility, more than 20 years in development and construction is a showcase featuring Northwest-themed buildings on either side of a fire-lookout.
“We celebrate a ‘sense of place’ that is a unique collection of Oregon’s qualities and characteristics,” said ODOT Director Matthew Garrett before his departure from the agency last month. “Visual, cultural, social and environmental: it has delivered to the traveling public a state-of-the-art Cascadia-themed facility that’s reflective of ODOT and Oregon’s environmental ethic.”
The Siskiyou Rest Area and Welcome Center will act as a key safety rest stop for travelers coming into Oregon from California. The facility features a northwest-inspired fire lookout between the restrooms and the welcome center. The center will be an information hub for travelers and a welcome oasis into the state staffed locally by Travel Southern Oregon, in partnership with Travel Oregon. It will also house an office for Oregon State Police working I-5.
“This is a critical entrance to Oregon, an important gateway for Oregon’s tourism industry and we now have a center that’s going to extend the right and proper welcome to those visitors,” said Travel Oregon Chief Executive Officer Todd Davidson.
Davidson noted research that shows for every dollar spent operating a welcome center, visitors spend $35 more in additional spending. He added visitors who come to welcome centers as part to their visit, spend an additional $1,200 on their Oregon vacation.
The facility will prohibit commercial trucks more than 20,000 lbs. (GVW) Gross Vehicle Weight. They will be directed to the Ashland Port of Entry, five miles to the north.