What Next? Residents Want Portland Airport Moved

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Activists in Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash., want Portland International Airport moved. Members of the Airport Issues Roundtable (AIR) say they're literally losing sleep (from 24-hour operations) and being showered with carcinogens from passing aircraft, and they'd like residents elsewhere to absorb the punishment. The AIR is suggesting that the presumably more resilient folks of Centralia, Wash., or maybe thousands of acres of the verdant Willamette Valley, play host to a joint Seattle-Portland airport. The group hasn't yet offered to pay the $3 billion move cost or solve jurisdictional issues. Meanwhile, Oceanside, Calif., politicians voted to expand their airport, despite opposition. City fathers there are seeking bids to build 21 hangars and to buy 14.7 acres of adjoining land to expand the facility. Of course, it didn't hurt that the federal government will pay $2.52 million and the state will chip in $280,000 to cover the full cost of the land purchase. Hangar rents will repay a state-sponsored loan. Opponents cited the usual concerns at the city council's meeting last week. Rev. Charles Wright doesn't like seeing (and hearing) airplanes when he and his flock cast their eyes skyward on Sundays and other residents thought the city might be better off financially if it sold off the existing 36 acres the airport now occupies. However, it was noted that the federal money already spent on the airport obligates the city to keep it open until at least 2016 and there's no appetite to take on the feds over that issue.