Get to Know the Facts About the Aurora State Airport
Myth:The process to approve the 2012 Aurora Airport Master Plan was “broken”.
Truth:Wrong. The public process adhered to by the State of Oregon to approve the 2012 Aurora Airport Master Plan was vast and thoughtful. The ODA formed a Public Advisory Committee composed of government officials, airport users and community members - the PAC met 6 times and heard input from the public at all 6 meetings.
The public processes included an interactive ODA website devoted to proving and obtaining information concerning the master planning process. The public processes included many open houses, many public meetings and many public hearings. A process can be completely “by the book” and end up in a decision someone does not agree with. That does not make the process “broken.”
Myth:Aurora Airport uses city water and sewer without paying for it.
Truth:Wrong. Aurora Airport has its own water district with adequate and safe water, monitored by the Oregon Health Department, that supplies water to the airport and airport businesses. The airport uses no water from any city and has never asked to use city water or sewer. Aurora Airport businesses are on septic systems approved and monitored by DEQ.
The fire suppression system is managed by the Aurora Airport Water Control District with a separate well and underground stainless steel storage tanks. The rest of the airport is served by private and public water wells, many with special filter systems.
Myth:Aurora Airport uses other airport’s FAA entitlement funds.
Truth:Wrong. Aurora Airport uses no funds earmarked for any other airport. Airport improvements are paid for by taxes on aircraft fuel (which Aurora Airport businesses pay) or federal FAA dollars earmarked for airport improvements.
Myth:There has been no surface transportation impacts study.
Truth:False. The ODA conducted traffic studies for the entirety of all elements over a 20-year plan horizon for the state-approved 2012 Aurora Airport Master Plan, including the runway extension to the south, and concluded:
“After analysis, the Airport’s impact to Boone Bridge equates to 1,800 AADT out of the 115,700 AADT as indicated by the ODOT. Even with growth projections, there would still be an insignificant impact from Airport-related activity.”
Myth:Extending the Aurora Airport runway is harmful to existing agricultural operations in the area.
Truth:Wrong. The runway extension won’t take agricultural land out of production. The agricultural land that the Oregon Department of Aviation (ODA) buys to support the extension will remain in agricultural use and will remain zoned Exclusive Farm Use. The closure of Keil Rd may be an inconvenience to an agricultural operator because while they will continue to have access to all road systems, they will need to utilize an alternative access that ODA will construct.
Myth:No municipal governance despite increasingly urban-level development.
Truth:Wrong. The Aurora Airport is governed by Marion County, the state ODA and the federal FAA. All airport development has been approved by each of these three governmental authorities. Few entities are more heavily regulated by government than airports. In fact, there are many airports that are not governed by cities in this state including one far larger than Aurora – the Eugene Airport – which has passenger traffic by major airlines and is not in a UGB or city.
Myth:The Aurora State Airport lacked coordination with Oregon Department of Aviation and other cities and counties.
Truth:Wrong. The Oregon Department of Aviation coordinated the Aurora Airport Master Plan with Wilsonville, Clackamas County, the City of Canby, the City of Aurora, Marion County and others. Because Clackamas County and Wilsonville made clear they would not support the 2012 Master Plan, an IGA for growth management consistent with the approved Aurora Airport Master Plan was entered into between the City of Aurora, Marion County and ODA.
Myth:Airport employers unfairly compete with industrial sites developed in nearby municipalities.
Truth:Wrong. The Aurora Airport employers directly employ 1,300 people in good, family wage jobs. They pay approximately $780,000 in local property taxes each year. Taxes paid by Aurora Airport businesses are nearly 1/3 of the Aurora Fire District’s budget. Aurora Airport property owners pay building permit and SDC fees like anyone else. The airport supports the business aviation needs of important employers in the area and is touted by the City of Wilsonville on its website as an inducement to industries to site in Wilsonville asserting that the Aurora Airport together with other transportation options:
“support faster, easier, more cost-effective transportation providing our executives and products with easy access to regional, national and global markets.”
Aurora Airport employers do not have the benefit of property tax rebates and other tax incentive programs that some cities provide
Myth:The runway extension benefits only a few private parties and serves only 21 jets.