HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A new runway is set to open at Hillsboro Airport as part of a 30-year expansion plan — but some neighbors don’t think it’s a good idea.
The Port of Portland owns and operates the airport which houses planes flown by local students and recreational pilots. The new expansion plan was developed in an attempt to make the airport safer and more efficient.
The new runway is parallel to an existing one — it is designed to make it more efficient for small and large aircraft to take-off at the same time with business planes on one runway and smaller aircraft on another.
Hillsboro Airport houses the Aero Academy, a large west coast flight school for helicopter and airplane pilots.
“There will be projection of some growth over time, as with all facilities, but it’s not an immediate expansion of the use and the operations,” Port of Portland Airport Manager Stephen Nagy said.
Meanwhile, the Port of Portland just bought close to 50 acres of vacant land bordering the north end of the airport. Port officials told KOIN 6 News the land is for industrial development and aviation.
But the idea of expanding operations at Hillsboro Airport doesn’t sit well with some locals.
“The noise is aggravating, but is this the best use of the property?” Dr. Jim Lubischer asked. “There’s some arguments there that maybe it’s not.”
Dr. Lubischer is with the Oregon Aviation Watch. He said the group recently filed a lawsuit to stop the new runway construction. They’re worried about health and environmental impacts related to noise and lead fuel pollution.
“The pollution is a big issue as long as they’re using leaded fuel,” Dr. Lubischer said. “Lead is super bad and so there’s no excuse for that.”
The FAA approved the construction plans for the new runway after environmental assessments, but the case is being appealed.
For now, the runway is expected to open within the next few weeks.