MADRAS, Ore. - A project is underway that will impact not only the people in Madras and Warm Springs, but also the thousands who drive through the area every day. A large travel center is being built where people can fuel up, eat and even gamble.
"It's called Plateau Travel Plaza,” Jeffrey Carstensen, the general manager of Indian Head Casino, said Friday.
The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs is building the travel center in Madras, and Carstensen is overseeing the construction. He said about 1,300 big rigs pass through Madras a day.
Plateau Travel Plaza has been three years in the making, and will offer lots of amenities.
"It will have showers, a convenience store, 70-seat restaurants, laundry and truck parking for about 70 semis,” Carstensen said.
It’s the extra truck parking that city officials are excited about.
"Many of our businesses in the downtown area come to City Hall and express concern in the community with these large trucks parking right in front of their business,” said Nicholas Snead, the community development director.
Right now, there is one truck stop in the city. Snead said there is a lot of overflow with trucks trying to park, especially in the winter.
"If you can imagine a 40-foot-long truck parking right in front of your business, blocking all of your signage -- as a restaurant owner or any business owner, that would be really frustrating,” he said.
The city and the tribes are working together on the 13,000-square-foot facility. It’s being built on tribally owned land near the Madras Airport, but will need access to city utilities, like sewers and roads.
The tribes are currently working with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission for both onsite and retail liquor licenses. If everything goes as expected, the travel center should open next March.