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Public, aviation enthusiasts now have spot to watch airport activity with small park amenities

Stay connected to your local news! Get digital access today. SUBMITTED PHOTO: PORT OF COLUMBIA COUNTY - A visitor views a plane in the air from a viewing area at the edge of Scappoose Industrial Airpark. The viewing area was recently set up by the Port of Columbia County. The days of posting up at the edge of the Scappoose Industrial Airpark and being able to watch planes take off were long gone — until recently.

A new viewing area opened by the Port of Columbia County aims to restore the public's ability to gaze at airport activity from a safe distance, with the added amenities of a picnic bench and trash can. The port owns and manages the airport property.

The viewing area now sits at the northeast corner of the Scappoose airport, near the end of the runway.

A news release from the port announces the viewing area "includes a new parking lot, picnic tables and an excellent view of the airfield where families and aviation buffs can go and watch the aircraft take off and land."

The project came about on recommendation from the port's Scappoose Industrial Airpark Advisory Committee. According to the port, the advisory committee noted that the area had been fenced off and secured sometime in the late 1990s. When the fencing went up, "the tradition of parking and watching the airplanes was lost," the agency noted.

Committee members and port officials say the goal of the viewing area was to restore that capability for the community.

"We had noticed that the airport was not very friendly for non-pilots and it bothered us that people that had an interest in flying couldn't get in," Keith Forsythe, chair of the Airpark Advisory Committee, stated in the news release. "We encouraged the Port to build the viewing area so kids and people who don't have access to the airport have a venue where they can come and watch the airplanes."

In addition to the viewing area, the port recently completed a project to relocate a major portion of runway at the airport. That project was part of a series of upgrades called for in the Airpark Master Plan.

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