May 15, 2019 3:30 a.m.
Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced nearly $13 million in grants to support rural airport improvements in North Bend and John Day.
A release from the senators said in North Bend, $6.6 million will help the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport to construct an aircraft rescue and firefighting building. In John Day, $6.3 million will allow the Grant County Regional Airport to improve runway safety.
Merkley said the rural airports connect rural Oregon to economic opportunity, wildfire fighting resources and more.
Wyden said a key piece to quality of life throughout rural Oregon is a dependable airport that can link the smaller communities to job-creating opportunities and provide needed protections from wildfires.
The Airport Improvement Supplemental Appropriations grants support hard construction, as well as planning, design and administration costs.
Theresa Cook, executive director of the Coos County Airport District, said the they are very excited about the grant. She said they recently had to discontinue use of the 75- year old ARFF building due to the mold and draftiness of the facility that left firefighters and expensive ARFF vehicles outdoors at times and in transient hangar facilities.
Haley Walker, airport manager at Grant County Regional Airport, said receiving the supplemental funding from the federal government for the runway safety area will significantly improve safety for all users at the airport.