Plans call for several new improvements to the Hillsboro Airport over the next 20 years

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - The Port of Portland's plans for the Hillsboro Airport call for a new terminal, relocating the Hillsboro Aero Academy and bringing more non-aviation businesses to the area.The Hillsboro Airport will see a new terminal in the next several years, the Port of Portland announced this week, along with several other new improvements expected to keep the airport growing over the next 20 years.

Commissioners with the Port of Portland approved a plan Wednesday, March 13, which outlines the future for the state's second busiest airport.

A committee of community members, elected officials and government staffers have been working on a plan since 2017, to determine how the airport will grow.

"Our work together was intended to help make bridges between communities that might drive past this asset, but might not recognize its value and impact," said Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González, who worked on the plans. "Across the region, leaders are recognizing the intrinsic value of engaging communities, leading with race and leading planning efforts that don't leave people behind. Our committee's work really did make a difference."

The approved plan lays out a series of projects at the airport over the next two decades, including replacing the current airport terminal, 3355 N.E. Cornell Road. Port officials said no new runways are expected to be built through 2040, though the airport could see a few new "taxiways" on the runway, to help aircraft on the airfield's north side.

The first projects could begin as early as 2020 — including redevelopment of the nearby Comfort Inn, which sits on land owned by the airport. Other plans, such as the new terminal or adding more industrial businesses are expected to take longer.

The final phase of the airport's plans involve relocating the Hillsboro Aero Academy flight school from its home on the south side of the airport to the airport's northern edge, moving it closer to the small runway it uses.

Committee members held several community meetings, open houses and question-and-answer sessions with the public about the project.

"The city of Hillsboro and Washington County appreciates the commitment to the airport and all of the work that's been done," said Jerry Willey, County Commissioner and former Hillsboro mayor, who served as the advisory committee's chairman. "Thank you for the great opportunity to educate our community and our county on the assets and benefits of having an airport right here in the center of Hillsboro and to be able to plan and look forward to the next 20 years."

By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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