Oregon Travel Experience recently welcomed Kathy M. Watson of Hood River as the newest member to its governing board, the Oregon Travel Information Council.
Gov. John Kitzhaber appointed Watson, owner of Nora’s Table restaurant, to represent the Second Congressional District.
Watson is an accomplished communications and public relations professional and served for several years as press secretary for Oregon’s Senate Majority Office. Her prior employment with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries as well as the Oregon Economic Development Department endowed Watson with a broad view on fostering jobs and economic prosperity within communities across the state.
Watson is also a former Port of Hood River commissioner
Oregon Travel Experience is based in Salem, and is responsible for a variety of transportation information services to the public.
At Nora’s Table, Watson and her staff use sustainably produced and locally sourced ingredients.
“As a restaurant owner in a community that is very dependent on tourism, I get to talk to a lot of people who are visiting Oregon, many for the first time,” said Watson. “I know how important it is to be good guides and hosts to our visitors, and I think our rest areas can play a critical role in introducing people to the Oregon story.”
In addition to her duties on the OTIC, Watson is currently a board member of the Hood River Chamber of Commerce and served for five years as an elected Port of Hood River Commissioner.
Gwenn Baldwin, chair of the OTIC, extended a warm welcome to Watson.
“I am delighted that Kathy Watson has joined the Council,” said Baldwin. “As an active community advisor and business owner, Kathy is able to have daily conversations with both visitors and local residents. Her relationship with I-84 travelers from Hood River to Ontario will be invaluable to us as we move forward with our rest area strategic plan.”
Oregon Travel Experience CEO Kyle Walker said that she looks forward to working with Watson.
“Kathy Watson is going to offer a vibrant and unique viewpoint to the Council,” said Walker. “Her appointment came at exactly the right moment. As OTE expands its relationship with Eastern Oregon and smaller communities along I-84, her perspective is critical to advancing our mission.”
Oregon Travel Experience is a semi-independent state agency located in Salem, with a focus on transportation. The agency and its governing Council’s mission is to ensure a safe and convenient motoring experience.
OTE oversees highway safety rest area management, helps motorists find essential services through blue highway logo signs and helps connect the first-time Oregon visitor to tourism partners through its travel information centers.
OTE also administers two Oregon heritage programs: historical markers and heritage trees.