Lacey Lady B-17: 'It can't stay out there'

Lacey Lady B-17: 'It can't stay out there'

This is Part 2 of a 6-Part Series

MILWAUKIE, Ore. - The Lacey Lady has definitely seen better days, but the family that owns what has become their legacy hopes to someday bring it back to its original glory and maybe even send it up in the air once again.

It's a daunting task. The family also runs the popular Bomber Restaurant behind the B-17 and curates the museum next door that is dedicated to preserving war-time memorabilia.

But they believe in what they are doing and are committed to the project.

"It can't stay out there," said Terry Scott, Jayson Scott's wife. Jayson is the grandson of the late Art Lacey, the businessman who brought the B-17 to Milwaukie back in 1947.

"It's not going to last much longer," Terry said. "It's got to be restored."

And so the non-profit Wings of Freedom Project was born - an effort to return the Lacey Lady to her original condition and preserve both a part of World War II history and the community's longstanding icon. It's a project that will take time, though, and a lot of hard work and patience.

"We have been working very hard with all of our planning," said Jayson. "We have a board of directors in place. We're doing all of our strategic planning for how we want to conduct this."

The nose section of the plane has already been removed and worked on. It now sits in the Bomber Museum where folks can see it up close.

"We focused on this portion of the plane initially because it was the most compound, complex part of the plane to start with," said Jayson. "Everything either begins or ends there."

The next big priority for the family is to find a suitable place to house the plane so they can bring it down, get it out of the elements and start the rest of the restoration process.

"We have a lot of people who have expressed an interest that they would like to volunteer their services towards the plane but nobody wants to work on it up in the air," said Jayson. "It's only 12 feet in the air but when you're up there in the plane, it's like you might as well be 1,200 feet in the air. It's just not a safe work environment. It's difficult to climb around."

Follow the story of Art Lacey's "Lacey Lady" and his family's efforts to preserve this piece of history this week in a special 6-part series. Watch for a new installment daily at noon through June 16.