Airports serve vital role

By Pat Caldwell/Baker City Herald May 12, 2014 04:44 pm

Airports like the Baker Municipal Airport serve a vital role in local economies. (Kathy Orr/Baker City Herald)
Airports like the Baker Municipal Airport serve a vital role in local economies. (Kathy Orr/Baker City Herald)

By Pat Caldwell

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Annually, elected and appointed officials dig into the newest sack of potential economic development solutions but one visible and conceivable — not to mention well-established — engine of expansion seems to hide within plain sight.

Airports, even small rural airfields, furnish a host of economic development possibilities and often function as a low-key, but steady, mechanism that drives growth and opens up overlooked avenues to prosperity.

“I think airports are vital to economic development. I think that goes without saying,” Baker City Manager Mike Kee said.

Kee basically serves as the city’s airport manager, though he said much of the day-to-day oversight of the facility is handled by the city’s public works department. 

Aviation produces big dollars for Oregon, according to statistics from the Oregon Department of Aviation. ODA statistics show that aviation creates a $24 billion impact on the state’s economy. The federal government — and the state — also pour a lot of money into aviation. 

See more in today's edition of the Baker City Herald.