By: Paige Rouse,
for the Port of Hood River
As the Port of Hood River plans major, multi-phased airport improvements, the agency received word it would receive over $2.5 million in state and federal grant funding for upgrades to the south taxiway and the north ramp and apron. A $1.3 million in grant funding from this year’s ConnectOregon VI grant cycle for an “Aviation Technology & Emergency Response Center” at the Ken Jernstedt Airfield is a major funding component that, combined with FAA grants, Port funding and significant private investment, is expected to spur over $7 million in development at Hood River’s airport over the next few years.
The Port also received a FAA grant of $1.2 million, and a Critical Oregon Airport Relief (COAR) program grant of $103,000 to fund rehabilitation, design and construction on the south taxiway. This project will bring the airport into compliance with FAA standards with relocation of the north parallel taxiway A, and removal and replacement of taxiway connectors to taxiways A and B. Taxilane B will be relocated northward and configured with taxiway A. Existing aircraft parking will be removed, and the fuel tank will be relocated.
The Port has executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hood Tech Aero Corp., Inc. (TacAero), enabling the development of one 25,000 square foot, three-bay hangar. The project is now in site plan review with an expected construction start date of August 2017.
Improvements to the airport’s north ramp have been part of the Airport Master Plan for over 20 years, calling for the relocation of the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) building and additional tie-downs from the south side of the airstrip to the north side. The ConnectOregon VI grant, which comes from the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) funding pool, will cover nearly 60% of the project’s first phase. That work includes site preparation, environmental assessments, installation of water and sewer utilities, grading, paving and installation of new fuel tanks. Planned site improvements also anticipate construction of five new commercial hangars to support the local aviation industry.
The second phase of improvements at the Ken Jernstedt Airfield are to be funded by private investment by TacAero. TacAero was assigned the FBO lease last May in an agreement with Classic Wings Aero Services and the Port. Phase Two plans include construction of a new, modern FBO facility, an FAA Certified Part 145 maintenance facility, and an FAA Certified Part 141 training academy facility complete with new training aircraft and state-of-the-art full motion simulators.
Completion of the first two project phases is expected in two years. Phase Three will complete the upgrades to the north ramp by the end of 2019, 90% funded by FAA grants.
The community will benefit from these significant developments at the airport in many ways, such as increased safety with traffic flow improvements and the relocation of the fuel tanks; enhanced facilities for testing and development of UAV technologies and new applications; improved airport facilities for all pilots and visitors, meeting new demand created by the growth in aviation tourism; and an enhanced location for firefighting and emergency response personnel with temporary crew quarters.
“These are exciting plans for the Ken Jernstedt Airfield, and we are grateful for the OTC funding that will kick off a long series of improvements,” said Port Executive Director Michael McElwee. “The new FBO building will create a new ‘Front Door’ for the aviation community, and the other upgrades should support more business opportunities in the area, plus enhance pilot training and emergency preparedness.”
For more information, contact the Port of Hood River at (541) 386-1645 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.