The Pearson Air Museum has provided an education and enjoyment for many years. The efforts of the volunteers, the generosity of the people who put their vintage airplanes on display and the managers of the Fort Vancouver Trust have been greatly appreciated. Their collaboration personified the meaning of “community.”
The National Park Service, with the support of Tracy Fortmann, Superintendent of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, demanded control and required the Trust to hand over the keys. An example of bureaucracy vs. community.
The community members stood up for their beliefs and removed the contents of the museum. What was accomplished by Fortmann and the Park Service?
I don’t like to think that this could possibly be an effort to eventually close Pearson Air Field, but Portland International Airport and the Columbia River Crossing have made no secret that, despite the historical importance of the airfield, it is an impediment to their plans.
I hope our senators and representatives will do all that is possible to protect what is the country’s oldest, continuously-operated airport. And the hangar is the second oldest wooden aircraft hanger in the U.S., being built in 1918. The hangar was also used as housing for Italian POWs during World War II. Surely, this much history is worth preserving.
Sheila G. Hudson