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Air museum grows ever more close

Keep an ear out. In about six weeks or so, you might be able to hear the unique buzz of historic military aircrafts coming in from the west to land at the former B-12 training site now known as the Madras Municipal Airport.

In mid-May, the hangar to house the Erickson's Air Museum will be finished, and Jack Erickson's collection of historic military aircraft will begin making the flight from rain-soaked Tillamook on the Coast to the high and dry sage country of Jefferson County. The climate here is much easier on the planes than the damp coastal climate. Our good fortune.

Tucked generally out of sight up on the north end of the airport, the hangar has gone up relatively without fanfare and much notice from locals whose lives are generally based in the basin or parts south. But it’s large and beautiful, and the museum it will house will be a magnificent addition to the city of Madras and the entire county.

The museum will take shape this summer. A grand opening is planned to coincide with the 2014 Airshow of the Cascades in August. The city of Madras will also be dedicating its new monument at the airport, honoring its World War II training site history, at this year's air show. Aug. 22-23 is going to be electric in Madras.

The Tillamook Air Museum, where Erickson's collection was the primary element, drew over 70,000 people a year. Air show weekend alone should bring 15,000 to 20,000. Of course, what will be interesting to see is how many people will pull off U.S. Highway 97 and 26 to come see the museum the other 51 weeks of the year. The Oregon Coast is a tourism hotspot. Central Oregon, while popular, is less so.

The good thing, though, is that even if the Erickson Air Museum doesn't pull in 70,000 people here in Madras, don't expect that they'll pull up and head elsewhere. With their hangar investment, with their business of refitting airliners into wildland firefighting crafts dug in at the local airport, Erickson appears committed to Madras. And that's a wonderful thing for the town, and all of Jefferson County.

Batter up.

I've noticed more New York Yankee garb around Jefferson County lately, a tad less Red Sox gear.

Jacoby Ellsbury started his Yankee career Tuesday night, batting leadoff for the most famous baseball team on the planet.

It didn't take long for the Red Sox — Ellsbury's former team that had no interest in matching the Yankees' $150 million contract — to miss him. In their opener Monday, his replacement in centerfield hit a home run, but his replacement as leadoff hitter went 0 for 5 at the plate in a 2-1 loss to the Orioles. Ellsbury's usual game: couple singles, couple steals, likely would have meant a Sox victory.

But it's all about the Yankees now for the local legion of Ellsbury fans, and for the player, it's all about staying healthy. Always has been. He missed most of spring training with a sore calf, mildly concerning Yankee followers, and amusing Red Sox columnists who pounced on Ellsbury's proneness for injuries, and not being on the field.

But now the games count. He'll be playing. My prediction is that Ells will hit somewhere between .300 and .320, hit 20 home runs in that short park, steal around 50 bases, make the all-star team, and the Yanks will finish ahead of Boston ... if he stays healthy.

If not, if he misses more than a handful of games, well, the media glare in New York will make it a hot, hot summer.

Stay healthy, No. 22.




Local Weather

Fair

63°F

Madras

Fair

Humidity: 41%

Wind: 5 mph

  • 21 Aug 2014

    Partly Cloudy 82°F 51°F

  • 22 Aug 2014

    Sunny 78°F 51°F