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Company sites shortage of hangar space in move from Hillsboro to Scappoose airport

TRIBUNE PHOTO: JULES ROGERS - Devinaire, a charter plane service currently based in Hillsboro, will move its storage and maintenance operations to Scappoose. The company plans to occupy a nearly 30,000-square foot hangar being built by the Port of Columbia County. A new $3.1 million airplane hangar is slated to be built at the Scappoose airport.

Port of Columbia County commissioners approved a resolution Wednesday, Feb. 13, to take out a 20-year $2.5 million state loan to construct a roughly 30,000-square-foot building at the Scappoose Industrial Airpark.

The new space will be built to suit the needs of Devinaire, which plans to use the site as an outside storage and maintenance facility. Devinaire will move its current hangar operations from Hillsboro to the Scappoose airport.

The company provides aviation charter services out of Seattle, but needs suitable hangar space for repairs, maintenance and storage, said Aaron Soule, director of operations for Devinaire.

"There's an incredible shortage of hangar space in the Portland metro area," Soule noted by phone Thursday. "We're looking at basically being a hangar that's available for anyone that owns an aircraft."

Devinaire has been in talks with the Port of Columbia County since at least last year, but as earlier reported in the Spotlight, port officials said the company initially halted plans to develop its site in Scappoose, likely over increased costs of new fire safety regulations for airplane hangars.

On Wednesday, that had changed.

"This is that same business," Doug Hayes, the port's executive director, noted Wednesday afternoon. "We got all that resolved through the county, city and state. The state and fire department came to an agreement about what would both suit their needs and meet state requirements."

The loan will come with a 20-year term and 4.5 percent interest rate, according to the resolution approved Wednesday.

Hayes said the port expects to recoup its loan costs by leasing the building to Devinaire.

"When we go for loans we usually try to get an 80 percent loan of what would be needed and we provide the other 20 percent," Hayes noted. "We usually try to generate about 110 to 120 percent of the costs back to the port."

Hayes said financing a new industrial space not only adds to the port's property portfolio, but helps bring jobs to the county, which is a key part of the port's mission.

"They're going to move all operations here," he noted. "They're pushing for up to 20 jobs."

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