By editorial board • 

Air show was worth all the compromises

One of the charms of McMinnville is its 56-mile distance from Portland International Airport — 2.8 minutes as the F-35 flies.

Under ordinary circumstances, this serves to significantly reduce the throbbing roar of jet engines overhead. Locals appear to prefer it that way, so some were understandably grumpy when the Oregon International Air Show moved to McMinnville Municipal Airport last weekend.

It was certainly noisy. And crowded.

Of course, the same can be said of the UFO Festival, Cruising McMinnville and other large gatherings in the community. All have their target demographics; none is going to enjoy universal appeal.

Nonetheless, crowds are important.

They pump money into the immediate economy and do more to promote future tourism than all the two-liners in Sunset Magazine combined. They reflect a strong and vibrant community. They reinforce for everyone — visitors and residents alike — that McMinnville is more than a tasting room with a city attached.

We have sympathy for some of the critics. Pulsing military jets no doubt cause problems for some veterans suffering from PTSD. Scores of household pets were also traumatized last weekend, along with livestock and wildlife.

Some people complain jets pollute the skies. But this is 2019. Despite its impact on the environment, jet travel has been an unavoidable fact of life since the world’s first commercial jet service hit the skies running in 1952.

We get it. We understand people’s concerns. We also realize how juggling competing interests in any community is a balancing act. Ultimately, any temporary compromises required to bring a world-class air show to McMinnville for three sunny summer days were largely worthwhile.

After being forced to leave their traditional venue at the Hillsboro Airport, due to construction activity, organizers had only a handful of months to assemble a show that usually takes a full year. But the event proved a masterpiece of quick orchestration.

City officials, firefighters and police officers deserve a round of applause for all their help. They responded with an efficiency rarely witnessed in government. It was a display of maneuverability, the bureaucratic equal of what was happening in the skies.

McMinnville Municipal Airport is a natural for such a show — especially with the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum across the street to further entice aviation enthusiasts.

Who knows what organizers want to do moving forward. If they are interested in a return to McMinnville, a few gremlins will have to be addressed. But given this year’s performance, that number seems fewer than those who wish to see it return.

It’s nice to see our little airport getting some attention and respect. As long as F-35s don’t make a daily habit of buzzing Mac, we’d love to have them back.

 

Comments

gregtompkins

Why can’t we get the airport to have regular flights to a few places? Bay Area, Everett and Bend/Redmond daily flights through Horizon Air! Come on planners , go bold! Bring our county a “real” airport.