The public is invited to learn about current and upcoming projects at the Hermiston Municipal Airport next week.
The airport is hosting an open house Wednesday, July 25 from 3-4 p.m. at the airport on 1600 Airport Way, Hermiston, where project consultants and airport staff will be on hand to answer questions about recent upgrades to the airport and what projects are being considered for inclusion in the Airport Master Plan.
Rolf Anderson Leirvik, who started as the airport’s new general manager this month, said he wants to hear from people.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to come in and ask questions or raise any issues,” he said.
Hermiston’s airport has received millions of dollars in upgrades over the past few years, thanks mostly to grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and Oregon Department of Aviation. In 2015 and 2016 contractors performed runway paving work and moved the airport’s taxiway to comply with FAA standards. During the project, the airport’s fueling station was moved and enlarged. Anderson Leirvik said the “great new fuel farm” was more convenient and also helped the airport be prepared for serving larger planes in the future.
Last year the city accepted federal and state grant funding to hire Century West Engineering to update the airport’s master plan. At the time assistant city manager Mark Morgan said that using the state grant as matching dollars for federal funds means the city’s out-of-pocket costs for the $300,000 project is expected to be about $3,300.
Anderson Leirvik said airports are required to submit a master plan to the FAA for approval about every 10 years. The plan studies the airport and its traffic, potential growth and other factors in-depth and creates a roadmap for the next 10 to 15 years that the airport is required to follow.
“If it’s not on the master plan, you’re not going to get a grant for it,” he said. “It’s never going to go anywhere.”
While the Hermiston Municipal Airport doesn’t have commercial passenger flights, it is more than single-engine hobby planes. Traffic in and out of the airport includes UPS deliveries, corporate traffic and agricultural uses. A 2014 report from the Oregon Department of Aviation stated the airport supported 80 local jobs and 26 elsewhere in the state.
Anderson Leirvik said the master plan that citizens can give feedback for on Wednesday will help the city get funding for future projects to help it continue to improve and expand over the next decade.
“The community has grown a lot, and the airport is going to grow with it,” he said.