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Events at the Baker Municipal Airport like Saturday's fly-in or the recent visit by Central Oregon Powerchuters are signaling revived interest in the airport after a period of mourning and reorganization.
Interest in flying was at a high point before then-FBO Brian Moody disappeared in the fall of 2000. Moody's crashed plane was later recovered from a ranch in Hells Canyon.
His Baker Aircraft Company carried on for a few months, then folded.
Baker's airport operated for more than a year without an FBO.
During that time, the city took steps to upgrade key airport facilities like gas tanks and consolidate public ownership of the facilities a new FBO would need. The goal: to make striking a bargain with a new FBO easier, if not merely possible.
Landing the new FBO, Dennis Christenson, took another unprecedented step: for the first time in history, Baker City taxpayers would pay a subsidy to the FBO.
Certainly, for $40,000 a year in subsidy, we can expect and are already receiving more from the new FBO than reasons to go watch people pilot fan-propelled parachutes or take a sample plane ride at a fly-in.
But these are reasons for the general, non-flying public to visit even discover their airport.
And every person who has a positive experience with the airport is another person who might utter a kind word at the right time and spark a new business or send someone down there in search of information about flying lessons.
Few things beat word of mouth advertising.