The silver lining of the recent turmoil regarding PDX’s and Pearson Field’s airspace conflict is that the issue has caused Clark County residents and politicians to rethink and appreciate general aviation’s economic value here. Unfortunately, regardless of the ultimate outcome for Pearson, it’s obvious that ground and air space requirements will forever limit its economic value to Clark County.
Camas’ Grove Field runway, as long as it can ever be at only 2,705 feet, is too short for most business aircraft, and Homeland Security has shut down PDX to all but the most well-heeled business users. Just a bathroom stop now incurs a $150 fee. So business aviation users — small jets and turboprops — have no practical choice but to go to Oregon’s other airports in Aurora, Troutdale or Hillsboro. This is unacceptable.
It’s time to build a 21st century airport in Clark County. The area around Ridgefield Junction was evaluated years ago and, for lack of vision, we dropped the ball. It’s time to pick it back up and run with it. In lost business, jobs and tax dollars, the opportunity cost of not doing so is too great.
Bruce E. Smith