Joshua Dillen
The Baker City Herald

The Baker City Airport has gotten a $1.8 million face lift.

And the federal and state governments picked up the tab.

The city-owned airport’s main apron, where aircraft park, has been repaved with about 17,000 square yards of smooth new asphalt.

Two grants paid for the work — $1.4 million from the Federal Aviation Administration and about $400,000 through a Connect Oregon grant that taps state lottery revenue.

Knife River Corporation of Boise completed the work, along with installing a new fuel tank, in late July. A new concrete pad was also added in front of the fueling area.

We’re preserving a very expensive asset that we have,” Baker City Public Works Director Michelle Owen said. “An advantage is that it was entirely grant funded.”

Michael Berryman, a line tech with the airport’s fixed based operator, Baker Aircraft, said the apron was in poor shape before.

“It’s been a long time overdue, I’d say,” he said.

The main apron is the general parking area for airplanes and also where people board and exit aircraft.

Berryman’s duties have him on the apron on a daily basis fueling planes and tending to the needs of customers. He saw firsthand the poor condition of the apron’s asphalt due to frost heaving and general wear.

Because of the bumpy and uneven surface of the cracked apron, there was the potential for airplane propellers to graze the asphalt, causing extensive damage to the aircraft.

“It’s going to be much easier taxiing for (planes),” Berryman said. “Everyone’s been liking it. It looks much nicer — cleaner.”

See more in the Aug. 2, 2017, issue of the Baker City Herald.