Sunday, July 29, 2018

Eleven Years, Really?

 In an October 2016 article in the Creswell Chronicle, Mayor Stram was quoted as saying, "The goal is for the Creswell Airport to be recognized as the best choice for general aviation in the State of Oregon by the year 2027." We can only hope that was a typo.  Eleven years for something that could be accomplished in one to two years?

     How many reports or surveys must the city pay for to see where the problems are?  First and foremost, there is an ongoing conflict of interest with the airport manager and her husband having a maintenance business on the airport.  It's discouraging, to say the least, for those wanting to come here and compete with her husband.

     Then of course there is the way being used for those who would like to come to the Creswell Airport and build a hangar and go into business.  When you build your hangar, you must "donate" it to the city.  In turn, you get a twenty year lease, with two ten year options.  Why would anyone want to build an expensive hangar and put it in danger of being taken if you have a bit of bad luck and miss your land lease payments?  It's no secret in the aviation community, that’s exactly what happened to Dave Wright who placed his dream of going into the skydiving business with the City of Creswell and built a beautiful $160,000 hangar.  For reasons that are still in question, skydiving was stopped and put the skydivers out of business on the airport.  Eugene Skydivers found a farmer's field to land on, but Dave Wright was not that lucky.  Owing, a little over $1,500, a previous city administration canceled his lease and confiscated his hangar.  The city is now renting out that hangar and keeping all the proceeds.  While the new city administration could re-instate the lease to the Wright family, they don't seem willing to do so.  If that were not bad enough, after the lease is up, the city will take over your hangar.  You will have nothing to leave your kids.  Not a good investment.  There is a lot more to this story, but the bottom line is this.  Dave lost his life's savings that was in the hangar, and is no longer living, which is related to the taking of his hangar.

     There is no question, the Creswell Airport could be one of the finest general aviation airports in Oregon.  That of course depends on how it's managed.  There is talk of installing a $500,000 septic system thinking that will attract new business.  Aside from having to "donate" your hangar, there are other limitations with the airport.  A business would be limited to the type of aircraft due to the 3,000 foot runway.

     If this airport would work on being a true general aviation airport and not expect large businesses to come here, that would be a good start.  It needs to be the kind of airport where pilots would like to fly to and be with other pilots who enjoy each others company.
A nice building with bathrooms, shower and an area for a refrigerator would be a real plus.  A septic system for this bathroom would cost a great deal less than the $500,000 one they are talking about. This bathroom could be used by airport tenets as well.   There could also be a BBQ area with tables close by.
There could be a nice grass area for planes to park, tie-down and allow pilots to "sleep under their wings".  Of course, they could also stay at the local motels and eat at the local restaurants.
Another area of interest could be the pilot golfer groups that like to fly to different golf courses.  At one time, there were plans to have a cart path to the Emerald Valley Golf course.  That should be considered again.  The pilots could park and load their clubs on a cart and be on their way. 
     These ideas and improvements would take a lot less than eleven years to accomplish.  It's practical and realistic considering our 3,000 foot runway, and the Eugene Airport being more desirable for larger businesses.
Yes, the Creswell Airport could be one of the premium airports in Oregon with some major changes. 

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