In recent years, stopping at Oregon's I-5 rest areas usually made it necessary to pass by a panhandler on your way to or from the restroom. That may have been one of the first things that Oregon Travel Experience has worked to prevent.
The organization, authorized by state law, started managing freeway rest areas in 2010, beginning with five locations. As of this month, under an amended agreement with ODOT, it now manages 29 sites along Interstates 5 and 84.
I noticed this sign at a rest area south of Rice Hill the other day. I don't remember if the sign was there before, but I could not help but notice the complete absence of the usual beggar with his cardboard plea for donations.
Oregon Travel Experience is doing lots of nice things for motorists at areas where it has stationed teams. They keep an eye out for trouble, offer travel advice and can even help people deal with car trouble. Among other things, the organization says that if motorists have run out of gas, the teams can provide enough fuel to let them get to the nearest station.
All of that is very helpful. And discouraging panhandling -- with wall signs like this or otherwise -- is another service for which they have earned motorists' thanks. (hh)