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Gaming Commission members cut ribbon on the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs' project.

HOLLY GILL/MADRAS PIONEER - From right, Tribal Council Chairman Austin Greene Jr., Jeff Carstensen, Indian Head Casino general manager, Fran Moses Ahern, Gaming Commission Chairman, former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Furse, Mavis Shaw, Pam Douglas, and former Gov. Ted Kulongoski participate in the ribbon cutting for Plateau Travel Plaza on April 6.The roadways leading in and out of Madras are about to get a lot more crowded, and the local community is thrilled to have more traffic.  That's due in large part to the opening of the Plateau Travel Plaza, the newest and largest full-service truck and travel stop within a 120-mile radius of its location off U.S. Highway 26 at Northwest Cherry Lane.

"Starting today, we expect to see hundreds of over-the-road independent truckers, commercial haulers and other in transit vehicles through Plateau Travel Plaza every month," said Eric Angel, general manager of the new facility. "And that translates to a positive economic impact for the entire community."

Plateau Travel Plaza has been strategically designed and developed by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, who also own and operate Indian Head Casino.

"The time is right to introduce this state-of-the-art complex to the local community," according to Belinda Chavez, director of marketing for Indian Head Casino. "Not only will Plateau Travel Plaza revitalize business and bring economic gain to the area, it also provides nearly 65 new jobs here in Central Oregon. Today's grand opening is just the start of significant area growth for all involved."

According to Human Resources Director Margie Tuckta, the enterprise means significant and sustained job creation for area residents.

"We held four job fairs within five weeks and generated more than 180 applications for available jobs here at Plateau Travel Plaza," she said. "Of those hired, 60 percent were tribal members, and 40 percent from the community at large. This signals continued economic development for the Warm Springs community."

Officials with Plateau Travel Plaza take pride in putting the community to work, and in the facility itself.

Angel stated the truck and travel stop offers incomparable amenities. Those include parking for up to 70 trucks in a secure lot, laundry facilities, full-service and self-serve fueling, a 3,000-square-foot convenience store stocked with favorite items, home-style seated dining and takeout food, a convenient off-highway location, and a variety of gaming options at the indoor casino.

One of the key distinctions of the Plateau Travel Plaza, said Chavez, is that it is also firmly positioned as a family-friendly destination for area residents.

"This new complex offers so much for those who live and work right here in the Madras community," she said. "We view it as an affordable, convenient family destination for entertainment, food and fun."

"We are grateful to have the support of the entire community as we open our doors," Angel said. "On behalf of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, we look forward to many years of neighborly relations, economic growth and enduring success."

Angel estimates that the nearest truck plaza with comparable amenities is 120 miles away from Plateau Travel Plaza.

"That's quite a distance when a trucker has a deadline to meet," Chavez added.

According to Jeff Carstensen, general manager for Indian Head Casino, the tribes have finalized an agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation, and there will soon be a new sign on the highway at Cherry Lane.

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