Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton to receive almost $5M from FAA to reconfigure runway

The Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton is
receiving almost $5 million in federal funds to reconfigure a runway.

The $4.96 million is part of the $17.5 million in grants
from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program for
crucial safety improvements to runways in small airports in Oregon, U.S. Sens.
Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced Monday, July 25.

In addition to the airport in Pendleton, the Corvallis
Municipal Airport is receiving $2.79 million to reconstruct runway and update
lighting and the Crater Lake/Klamath Regional Airport is getting $9.75 million
for runway reconstruct.

“Small airports’ reliable air service in rural areas is
crucial for Oregonians and our state’s economy,” Wyden said. “I am
gratified to see these dollars go toward improving critical runway
infrastructure that is often taken for granted when flying. Investing in airport
infrastructure lays the groundwork for airports in Corvallis, Pendleton and
Klamath Falls to continue to support jobs, our state’s economic growth and

“Regional airports are vital in connecting rural
communities to economic opportunities across the state and beyond,”
Merkley said. “This funding for airports in Corvallis, Pendleton and
Klamath Falls will help to improve the critical infrastructure that we rely on
when flying that is critical for businesses in those communities to thrive. These
improvements will not only support the airport, but local economies of these
cities and Oregon as a whole.”

Steve Chrisman, Pendleton economic development director and
interim airport manager, in the announcement said the Eastern Oregon Regional
Airport was thankful to receive the grant funding for mitigation of a hot spot
area on Runway 29.

“The airport has been experiencing unprecedented growth
for the last several years, which requires safe and structurally sound runways
and taxiways,” according to Chrisman. “Sens. Wyden and Merkley have
been stalwart supporters of the airport and the Pendleton Unmanned Aerial
System Range, and this funding will help alleviate a long-standing problem for
airfield users.”

The city proposed an airport project to relocate Runway 29’s
threshold, build new taxi lanes and rehabilitate aprons in March. The
engineer’s cost estimate was $4.5 to $5.5 million.

“We put together the proposal with the FAA,”
Chrisman said, “and added it to the capital improvement plan list.”

The Airport Improvement Program grant is funding upcoming
projects, he added.

“This was in the works for quite some time,”
Chrisman said. “It’s a dangerous intersection. Now the grant is awarded, but
it was on the list already.”

Projects on the capital improvement project list receive
grants on a five-year plan, he said.

“Our priority for the next round of funding is to
extend the wildlife fence,” Chrisman concluded.