Wyden, Merkley, DeFazio Announce Improved Security for Eugene Airport

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio today announced that Eugene Airport has been approved for a fourth explosives detection system (EDS) machine.

The three Oregon lawmakers had written the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in April in support of the airport’s request for a fourth EDS machine, noting that eight straight years of passenger growth required the additional machine for airport security and efficiency.

With the World Track & Field championships coming to Eugene in 2021, the airport improvements are especially timely.

“Eugene Airport’s impressive long-term passenger growth requires security to match so that Oregonians and visitors to our state can travel safely and efficiently,” Wyden said. “I am gratified that our delegation has worked with airport officials to make this case successfully as Eugene continues to attract visitors as a hub for major track-and-field events, recreation and much more.”

“As the Eugene airport continues to be a hub for international sporting events, Olympic trials, and more, we must ensure that safety infrastructure grows with the number of fliers,” Merkley said. “We will continue to do everything we can to help the airport keep up with its growing city.”

“I have been pushing TSA to make appropriate security investments in Eugene’s airport for years,” said DeFazio, Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Sustained passenger growth has pushed the airport’s security to its limits. I am pleased that TSA’s decision will enable Eugene’s airport to take an important step forward in its aviation security efforts and look forward to continuing to work with TSA on the airport’s additional needs.”

In their April 18 letter to the TSA, Wyden, Merkley and DeFazio wrote that Eugene’s airport had more than 571,000 passengers last year yet security capacity had not kept pace. The resulting difficulties for passengers, they wrote, placed United, Delta and American at competitive disadvantages because of delayed bag screening and increased prospects for misdirected luggage.

A web version of this release is available here.