Airport on chopping block in Creswell

Airport on chopping block in Creswell »Play Video

CRESWELL, Ore.--The City of Creswell is considering closing its airport.

City leaders say the legal battle with Eugene Skydivers over using the airport is just too expensive and may force them to close the Creswell Airport entirely.

This battle goes back to 2006 when the city of Creswell stopped letting the Eugene Skydivers use the airport to land saying it was too dangerous.

Both sides have racked up large legal fees that are threatening both the small business and the future of the Creswell Airport.

“’I’ve sold cars and trucks and motorcycles and the furniture inside the house has been sold," said Urban Moore with Eugene Skydivers.

Moore said that since the city denied his small business permission to land skydivers at Hobby Field in Creswell back in 2006, business has taken a toll.

“We have to sell our house, it’s pretty much empty on the inside,” said Moore.

Moore said the city shouldn't be able to keep his skydiving company from using airport land because the city is obligated to work with airport tenants based on federal grant guidelines.

“Were a part of aviation,” said Moore. “We're a legitimate use of air space and airports and for them to not allow us to jump is a discrimination.”

Creswell City Administrator Mark Shrives says the city is also suffering financially. Facing legal costs of up to $100,000 could make it too expensive to keep the airport open, he said.

That’s forcing the city to ask themselves if the airport is worth it.

“How long do you continue to take funds from the city's general fund to fund the airport?” Shrives asked.

This all stems from the City's concerns about determining if it’s safe to use their airport for skydiving. Both sides want the Federal Aviation Administration to weigh in.

“It’s been really frustrating trying to get some guidance from the FAA," said Shrives.
    
Now that Eugene Skydiving’s original informal complaint has become a formal complaint the city is looking at their legal cost if they could in fact legally shut the airport under federal rules.

The City of Creswell wants to know if residents think the airport is worth the legal battle before making any initial assessment.

The city is asking for public comment regarding the future of the airport after a special executive session at the Creswell Community Center, Feb. 14, at 6:30 pm.