Life Flight Network
The Port of Astoria and Life Flight Network are close to finalizing a lease to build a permanent crew quarters and hangar at the Astoria Regional Airport.
Port staff is aiming to bring a 20-year lease with the medevac service to the Port Commission next month.
“I’m happy to see it come together,” said Jim Knight, the Port’s executive director. “It’s not the location I was hoping for.”
The Port attempted to pass a bond measure in May to develop about 10 acres at the southern end of the airport, including a pad for Life Flight to build a new hangar. Life Flight received a $665,000 ConnectOregon infrastructure grant to pay for the hangar, along with an internal investment of $285,000. Despite broad support among Clatsop County’s political leadership, the bond measure was narrowly rejected by voters.
“At the end of the day, the cost of development at the south end was more than any of us could have afforded” without outside support, Knight said.
After the bond failed, Life Flight began pursuing a deal to build in its current location near the 12th Place entrance to the airport. The Port’s Airport Advisory Committee had found the location unsuitable because of conflicts with surrounding aviators.
“It’s going to meet our needs,” Life Flight Regional Director Jacob Dalstra said of the current location. “We’ve been working with the Port to mitigate any of those concerns.”
Dalstra and Warrenton Base Manager Dan Travers expressed their frustration to the Port Commission last month about trying reach a deal with the agency’s staff on a final location before Life Flight needed to get another extension on its grant with the state. The Port Commission directed staff to work out a solution.
The Port is hoping to have the new lease executed by the end of the year to avoid Life Flight needing another extension with the state on its grant, Knight said. He said Life Flight has agreed to take on all the infrastructure costs for developing at the current location.
Life Flight has no timeline on when construction might start, Dalstra said.