© 2019 by Kaaren McGlynn for Oregon Pilots Association

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Oregon Senate Bill 115 Prohibits selling, dispensing or using aviation fuel that contains lead or lead compounds after January 1, 2022.

 

Introduced by Senator Chuck Riley.  This bill would have made the sale or possession of any leaded aviation fuel illegal after Jan 1, 2022.  If there was no FAA approved alternative to 100LL available in Oregon, General Aviation would be grounded.    The bill was backed by Oregon Aviation Watch http://www.oregonaviationwatch.org/  and a  public hearing was held in the Senate Environmental and Natural Resources Council, chaired by Michael Dembrow.  Powerful and factual testimony against this bill was presented by the roomful of pilots, fuel sellers, flight school owners, and other stakeholders in the GA industry, which soundly refuted the frequently incorrect and misleading information presented by some of the bill's supporters.  The Chairman proposed bringing it back with revisions for a work session, but it was not scheduled after many pilots emailed individual committee members to explain how this bill would damage the Oregon economy.

Oregon House Bill 2109 Nearly identical to SB115. Prohibits selling, dispensing or using aviation fuel that contains lead or lead compounds after January 1, 2022. 

 

Introduced by Representative Mitch Greenlick, was also backed by Oregon Aviation Watch.  Outlaws all use of leaded aviation fuel after January 1 of 2022 regardless of the availability of a replacement.  It also received a public hearing held in the House Committee on Transportation Policy, chaired by Rep.  Caddy McKeown.  The committee had heard reports of the powerful testimony against SB115 provided by representatives of all aspects of General Aviation and were persuaded by equally powerful testimony at this hearing to table the bill permanently. The bill did not receive a Work Session and did not move forward.

Oregon Aviation Watch has made it clear that they will pursue General Aviation through legislative action, and OPA and stakeholders need to be vigilant in future legislative sessions.

Oregon Senate Bill 128 Creates Hillsboro Airport Authority and Troutdale Airport Authority as divisions of Port of Portland. Provides that airport authorities operate independently of Board of Commissioners of Port of Portland.

 

Introduced by Senator Chuck Riley and Senator Gorsek.  The bill was sent to the Senate Committee on Business and Transportation, Chaired by Senator Lee Beyer.  The bill was also backed by Oregon Aviation Watch.  Its purpose was to put Hillsboro Airport, HIO, and Troutdale Airport, TTD, under control of a local board, removing the airports from Port of Portland control.  The intention of the Oregon Aviation Watch supporters was to significantly limit operations at those airports.  OPA worked with Senator Gorsek's office to make the potential for seriously negative impacts on these airports clear, and the bill never received a public hearing. 

By the end of the 2017 legislative session, pilots in general had impressed the legislators on both sides of the aisle in Salem by showing their concern about aviation issues through emails and pertinent, factual, and to the point testimony at hearings. When pilots show up at a hearing to testify, they are listened to seriously and respectfully by committee members.   Pilots and other members of the aviation community present useful and well-documented facts that educate committee members about the issue at hand. Many thanks to all those who gave up a day during the work week to attend one of these hearings or wrote emails to their representatives in Salem. 

Your time and effort made the importance of GA clear to our elected officials! 

 

OTHER LEGISLATIVE MATTERS

Oregon Senate Bill 27 passed: eliminated pilot registration fees in Oregon.  Oregon was one of the two states to impose a separate pilot registration fee on pilots.  Thanks to the increase in the Jet A tax, the money, which funded Search and Rescue operations, was available from Department of Aviation tax revenues and the pilot registration fee could be ended without adverse consequences to Search and Rescue.

Potential Closure of Cascade Locks (CZK).   In 2015, the Port of Cascade Locks sent representatives to the Oregon Department of Aviation asking to be given control of CZK airport with the intention to close it and sell the land for development.  OPA met with the Port representatives and ODA staff and reviewed the important safety role of the CZK airport in respect to the rapid changes in the Columbia River Gorge weather and the limitations of the Cascade Mountains and low level winter icing conditions that make the Gorge the only east/west route during much of Oregon's winter for aircraft incapable of flight into known icing.  The Port of Cascade Locks agreed to the possibility of a land acquisition and swap with ODA that would permit the runway to be more closely aligned with the riverbank, providing a safer approach from the east and give the Port a large tract of developable land. In 2016 however, Regional Solutions, connected to the governor's office, again approached ODA about simply closing the airport. 

Currently, the Port of Cascade Locks will conduct a study to determine the best use of the land the airport is located on and safety mitigations that might reduce the risk to pilots wishing to transit the Gorge in winter.  OPA is represented on the committee that will review the findings of the study and determine the best use of this land for all concerned.

This is a critical issue for pilots in the coming year.  Cascade Locks has a long history of forced landings due to weather as the volatile weather conditions in the Gorge result in rapid changes in visibility. If this airport is closed to benefit the Port of Cascade Locks as development property, it may become a bellwether precedent for future closures of small municipal airports, particularly when local administrations may have ties to developmental interests.  Considering the recreational popularity of the Gorge, there may be ways to both benefit the airport and bring more dollars to Cascade Locks. There is significant local interest in keeping the airport open because of pilot spending at local restaurants and attractions. 

Pacific City Airport Transfer:  The popular coastal airport of Pacific City, has been under scrutiny for several years because of encroaching development along the short, narrow strip and the increasing popularity of both the airport and the town of Pacific City as a tourist destination.  The airport can represent a significant challenge to pilots under many weather conditions and the Department of Aviation has been concerned about liability while unwilling to close the airport.   Currently, a private individual is interested in acquiring the airport under the restriction that it must remain a public use airport without excessive fees for use, and with a reversion clause that prevents an owner from closing or transferring the airport subsequently.  That process of negotiation is still ongoing with no final agreement yet between parties.  There will be a public hearing on the issue.