Oregon Public Broadcasting

Congress passed a bill this week reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration. Among other things, the legislation requires FAA to establish 6 testing sites for unmanned aerial drones.  Efforts are now underway to bring one of those sites to Central Oregon.

Oregon already has number of companies involved in the design and manufacture of unmanned aerial technology.  In fact, the language in the bill requiring the establishment of test sites was introduced by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.

Collins Hemingway has been working on bringing a site to Oregon for the last 18 months.  He's the chairman of the aviation recruitment committee with Economic Development for Central Oregon.

He says that group has been working on a bid with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon State University and Jefferson County.

But he doesn't expect it to be easy.   He expects their application will compete with bids from 20 to 30 other states.  He says in order for the application the parties will need to bring together a wide range of partners from across the state, not just from Central Oregon.

The bill requires the FAA to come up with a process for selecting the sites within the next 6 months.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.