News-Register file photo##The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum will complete payments for the famous airplane over five years.
News-Register file photo##The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum will complete payments for the famous airplane over five years.
By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Spruce Goose payoff terms finalized

Museum founder Del Smith contracted to buy the Spruce Goose, a massive wooden airplane in 1992 through one of his holding companies, Evergreen Ventures Inc. The holding company then signed its interest over to the museum, which took possession and made the plane its star attraction.

The Aero Club, which previously had the plane on display in Long Beach, has been using the payments to fund its robust scholarship program and its annual presentation of the Howard Hughes Memorial Award to outstanding aviation and aerospace pioneers. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was the 2015 winner.

Rasmussen, currently filling in as interim director at the museum, said the parties agreed to a five-year schedule to complete payment for the craft. He said the museum had already made the first payment, and would receive title to the plane later this year.

Terms were not disclosed. But he said, “It’s nice to put the past behind us and move forward together.”

Two years ago, Aero Club attorney Bob Lyon said the two sides had a roughly $30,000 disagreement about the amount still owing.

The original base purchase price was $500,000, which had been fully covered. But he said the museum still owed money on a formula based on its earnings over the years.

He declined comment on the settlement reached in mediation, but Rasmussen said both sides were pleased.

“We continue to move the museum forward by creating a partnership with the Aero Club of Southern California,” he said. “This deal is a win-win resolution and a great step forward,” he said.

Rasmussen said the Aero Club would be partnering with the museum in a November gala marking the museum’s acquisition of the title. He said the board hopes to build a signature fund-raising event around the occasion, featuring a hangar dance, silent auction and oral auction.

Longtime museum director Larry Wood retired earlier this month.

Rasmussen said the board has an interim director preparing, but its choice isn’t able to start until the second week in August. He said he is filling the gap without pay, commuting from his home in Gresham.

“You can’t leave it rudderless,” he said.

He said the board is taking its time in its search for a permanent replacement, wanting to be sure it’s found the right person. The board has indicated it is looking for someone with a record of successful museum management.


I guess it did cost more than a doller , Interresting for many years the volunteers were told one dollar was the cost payed for this very famous airplane.