The Gateway area brings in a lot of cash flow for Springfield, as Gateway Mall exit serves as a major attraction for people driving down I-5. With big businesses like Best Buy, Target, and two movie theaters, the exit has a lot to offer. Next to the mall lies a parking lot full of many of these businesses, of which, one you can find is the Visitor Information building.
Walking into the building you are greeted by walls full of hundreds information pamphlets, local beers and wines, and a friendly face. Cari, a UCLA graduate, has been working at the Visitor Information center since its original establishment two years ago After graduating college, Cari was drawn to Track Town USA, where she became a member of Team XO, a local track club. She competed in last years Olympic Trials, but the team has since disbanded.
With two years experience in the area, Cari was happy to talk about its ups and downs. “It’s primarily business oriented… A prime exit off of I-5,” said Cari. The area provides a rich amount of shops, jobs, and parking. All of which is accessible by the MX buss route. Businesses like Cabela’s and Best Buy are the main attraction of the gateway area, of which Cari says is one of the nicer areas of Springfield. “It’s a huge put spot for south bound travelers,” said Cari. Cari also mentioned the area is great for small businesses like Hop Valley Brewery and Ciao Pizza.
The key to the successful business is the amount of traffic the Gateway area receives, but it is also something Cari describes as the areas biggest con as well. “Four lanes is just not enough for the amount we get coming through the area,” said Cari. During the peak hours of the day traffic comes to a stand still and it becomes near impossible to get in and out of the many parking lots and shopping centers, the Visitor Information center being one of them.
“The idea is to grab people from I-5 and get them to extend there stay here,” said Cari when asked about the centers purpose. Visitors can stop in and learn about all the attractions and sites Western Oregon has to offer. From the coast to the Cascades, there are a wide variety of things to see and do, and the Visitors Information acts as a gateway to all Oregon has to offer.