A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

In a rest stop contest, the Indians win

Written September 24th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

In immaculate shape: The Cow Creek Band’s rest stop on I-5 in Canyonville on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023.

For more than a decade now, travelers on I-5 have enjoyed the convenience of a large and well kept rest stop at Exit 99 in Canyonville. For that we can thank the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.

It’s called the Jordan Creek Rest Stop, and it’s the only privately operated rest area on I-5 in Oregon. The others are managed for the state by the Oregon Travel Information Council.

As the Roseburg News-Review reported at the time, the tribe opened the place in the summer of 2011. The rest stop is close to the Cow Creek Band’s hotels, an RV park, a market and gas station, as well as the tribe’s Seven Feathers casino across the freeway.

Among the distinguishing features at Jordan Creek: No panhandlers with their cardboard signs.

I emailed the tribe and asked how they manage to keep the place so neat and ship-shape.

I got no reply, but one reason may be this. The Roseburg paper’s story about the rest stop in July 2011 said: “Tribal officers will patrol it.” Indeed, on a visit last spring I saw a tribal police vehicle slowly cruise through the parking lot.

One other point: A couple of people objcted to my use of the word “Indian” in a recent story. They insisted the term was inaccurate or politically incorrect, or both.

The Indians of the Umpqua Tribe, including the Cow Creek Band, would disagree. They are proud of the word and include it in their official name.

After stopping at Jordan Creek last Sunday, I was prompted to read up on the Cow Creek Band. It’s an impressive story, and you can find it online here.

And if there ever is a contest for best public rest stop on I-5, I’m pretty sure Jordan Creek will win. (hh)

Check the gable of the shelter to read who provided this rest stop.


The view across the valley is among the appealing features of the place.

15 responses to “In a rest stop contest, the Indians win”

  1. Millersburg Resident says:

    “Indian” is indeed inaccurate, whether the tribes embrace the term it or not. It is the same as using the term “buffalo” to describe bison.

    • Al Nyman says:

      Who cares!

    • sandy halliburton says:

      this is rather hilarious! do you not think the “indians” should be allowed to tell YOU and the rest of us how they prefer to be known? and really…bison vs buffalo? i wish this were a joke since it did make me laugh! perhaps we need to learn how the animals want to be known. is this the most important thing in your day today?…lucky you.

  2. William Ayers says:

    It’s such a comfort to know that the word police are remaining vigilant.
    Kudos to The Cow Creek Band (of Indians) for sticking to their guns!

  3. Bob Zybach says:

    As usual, the determination of “sensitive” racial terms are pretty much decided by a small group of liberal white busybodies. In addition to the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians in western Oregon, we also have the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Coquille Indian Tribe, Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians, and the Chinook Indian Nation.

    Recently, when researching and writing about the Rogue River Indian War and the killing of Jedediah Smith’s trapping party on the Umpqua River in 1828, I was advised to use the term “Native American” when referring to the Indian people involved by a couple of white reviewers. Only, they weren’t Americans at all — in fact were largely opposed to Americans invading their lands — and my own direct ancestors in North America came here in the mid-1600s, and close relations were in the Oregon Country since the 1820s. Doesn’t that make me a “native American?” And not them?

    In the 1960s I had to learn the poem by Walter Scott that contains the line “this is my own, my native land.” My own ancestry is 99% white and 1% west African from the early 1700s. Does that make me a Black according to the Jim Crow “one drop” rule? Or “European American” according to the modern-day language police?

    I was in the 5th grade during the Oregon Centennial, when we still had “cowboys and Indians” in the movies and on TV, and “native Americans” were then defined as American citizens born in the US (and maybe including Canadians and/or Mexicans, but probably not Central or South Americans for some reason). Not sure why the language is changing, and don’t trust the people making these changes — they seem to be the ones mostly preoccupied with calling the rest of us “racists” for some reason. The “three-fingers pointing” rule would seem to be a good standard in these situations.

  4. Anony Mouse says:

    Since the 1960’s political correctness has demanded that the word “Indian” be wiped from the American lexicon.

    So white liberals substituted the label “Native American” instead.

    But a white guy liberal now dead by the name of George Carlin wrote in his book (Brain Droppings)…“So let’s look at this pussified, trendy bullshit phrase, Native Americans. First of all, they’re not native. They came over the Bering land bridge from Asia, so they’re not native. There are no natives anywhere in the world. Everyone is from somewhere else.”

    I assume George didn’t like the label “Indigenous” using the same logic.

    When in doubt I suppose the best thing to do is ask the person or group which label they prefer.

    And the sign posted by the Cow Creek Band of Indians clearly communicates their preferred label.

    If they aren’t offended by the label “Indian”, who are we to claim otherwise?

  5. Hartman says:

    Why is it that the people who are offended when someone dare question their biases are the same people who feel compelled to defend their position? These folks are projecting, plain and simple. The best example is the former president. He constantly accuses others about the very thing he knows he’s guilty of. Projection is common amongst the weak-minded….people who are incapable of existing within accepted norms. The projection displayed by a majority of the comments to this story is stunning, but not incredible. It is simply par for the course for folks who cannot see their own failures and thus blame everyone else. SAD!

    • Al Nyman says:

      Great comment about Barack Hussain Obama but what knowledge were you trying to relate to us as your comment is unreadable. I don’t know why you’re insulting the Indians but it is a racist comment.

  6. Anony Mouse says:

    Your accusation of “projection” is counterproductive.

    Having a parlay on the racial lexicon, and who defines it, is inherently political.

    The “accepted norm” of discourse requires a very wide window without resorting to ad hominem attacks.

    There’s ample room for civil debate here.

  7. thomas earl cordier says:

    thanks HH, when traveling that way I’ll try to remember to stop

  8. CHEZZ says:

    Let’s embrace the nice place!!

  9. Gerald says:

    Kudos to the Cow Creek Band for providing such a nice rest area. Shame on ODOT for not giving them the same roadside signage as all the state rest areas as it is very easy to miss.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      ODOT is probably embarrassed re: how much they get for their rest stop $ vs somebody who does it “their way”.

  10. Ron Frink says:

    I wish we ALL could just live and love and let love live..

  11. sandy halliburton says:

    this was one of my favorite stops when i was driving back and forth between albany and sacramento. my first “pee break” and knowing that lunch in medford would be my next. it was always clean and very well kept, with great areas to walk your dog (or kids) for a few minutes before hitting the freeway again. other rest areas could take note on making these necessary interludes most pleasant!


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