June 25, 2019

Merkley, Wyden Announce Nearly $7.2 Million Investment in Oregon Airports

The grants will support upgrade projects at airports across the state

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced nearly $7.2 million in federal grants that will help Oregon airports fund critical rehabilitation, reconstruction, and installation projects.

“Oregon’s airports connect our state to economic opportunity and vital resources,” Merkley said. “This investment in our airport infrastructure will improve safety for Oregon’s airports, and I will continue to use my seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to fight for these much-needed improvement grants for our airports.”

“A big piece of helping communities in every nook and cranny of Oregon to generate good jobs and build on their economic strengths depends on safe and robust transportation infrastructure,” Wyden said. “These capital improvement grants are a must for these Oregon airports’ current and long-term needs. I am proud to have teamed up with local airport officials in support of their work to earn these federal resources.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation Airport Improvement Program grants will fund runway rehabilitation and taxiway reconstruction projects, as well as taxiway lighting and signage. It will support studies and assessments for future projects, including $1 million for the State of Oregon to conduct an airport study. The awards include:

  • Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in North Bend: $3,706,994 to install guidance systems and signs, and rehabilitate runway lighting
  • McNary Field Airport in Salem: $1,220,061 to rehabilitate the tarmac
  • Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford: $643,178 to acquire land for approaches and conduct wildlife hazard assessments
  • Joseph State Airport in Joseph: $327,278 to update the airport master plan study
  • Illinois Valley Airport in Cave Junction: $150,000 for runway and tarmac rehabilitation and taxiway reconstruction
  • Condon State Pauling Field Airport in Condon: $150,000 for runway and taxiway rehabilitation 

“We are grateful for the senators’ support of the FAA AIP capital grant program, as it has made a huge difference in the viability of Josephine County’s two airports,” said Larry Graves, director of the Josephine County Airports, which includes the Illinois Valley airport in Cave Junction.

“The Coos County Airport District is very appreciative of this funding for the vitally needed replacement of the airports runway navigational aids and lighting system,” said Theresa Cook, executive director of the Coos County Airport District, which includes the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in North Bend. “The current system is over 25 years old and consists of direct-bury electrical for the lighting. Direct-bury electrical in the coast’s tidal and corrosive environment creates constant maintenance and repair issues. This grant will allow for the installation of a more modern, efficient and reliant system, ensuring a continued safe aviation environment for visitors and regional users. The Coos County Airport District recognizes and appreciates the benefits of the strong support we receive from our federal delegation.”

“The Joseph airport plays a vital role in our community—whether it’s Life Flight medical-evacuating critical patients out of the county, or it’s the gathering of hundreds of airplanes and aviators every summer in support of aviation education in the county,” said Andy McKee, a flight instructor with Eagle Cap Flight at the Joseph Airport. “Our high school is building a million-dollar aviation facility—one of a few unique programs at the high school level in the entire country. These dollars will have a direct impact in education and much-needed updated infrastructure.”