The meeting was called to order by Mayor John McArdle at 7:00 PM. Present were: Senator Betsy Johnson, Mark Gardiner, Representative Vicki Berger, Fritz Graham from Senator Wyden's office, Mitch Swecker, Gary Van Horn, John Horn, Kelly Wilson, Ken Hardwick, Norm Rainey, and approximately 65 visitors.
Senator Johnson briefed the crowd after introducing herself, going over current legislative and lobbying efforts to keep the FAA from withdrawing their support for residential airparks. Mark Gardiner and Vicki Berger both added their comments and their encouragement to the ongoing efforts to authorizing TTF permanently. Fritz spoke specifically about the current status of Federal legislation which is/was in process, and said that the Senator had joined the Aviation Caucus: that got a nice response from the crowd. John Horn summed up the local viewpoints and the actions that were taken since the last meeting we had a few months ago, saying that we were better off if only because the FAA has actually visited Independence and there seems to be a change in attitude, though certainly we need to keep fighting until our access is secured by law. Gary Van Horn led off by asking the crowd to give a hand to the Senators and representatives who attended tonight.
Mayor McArdle then spoke, summing up the political actions that had been taken and their impact. He explained the FAA's attitude and how it changed when they visited this airpark and Aurora, for instance that they did not know that the taxiways did not simply empty out onto the runway. He stated flatly that Independence is the model for what an airpark should be like, and the FAA seems to be responding positively by saying that this place is a good example.
Ken asked what the residents should be doing to help. Senator Johnson spoke up, saying that everyone should respectfully contribute to the lobbyist (from the Tonkon-Torp Law Firm in Portland) and Dr. Brent Blue who founded "throughthefence.org." She also said that the AOPA has not been getting with the program to help out financially with the ongoing legislative effort, and she asked the members in attendance to get in touch with AOPA leadership and tell them to get on the ball.
There was a question from the audience about allowing future development of residential airparks. Senator Johnson was pessimistic about that, stating that the Renton office of the FAO is dead set against future development of airparks, and this needed to be legislated in order to have a future. Another question came up about what was so objectionable from the FAA’s point of view regarding Through The Fence operations, at Scappoose particularly. Senator Johnson answered that the fundamental problem the FAA has had is with the issue of airport control, and Scappoose was an example of private money being used to develop outside of FAA control. Mark Gardiner stated that they had pushed the FAA representatives for specific problems with TTF, and each example the FAA gave had nothing to do with TTF at all. In the case of AOPA members being against TTF, Mark said that those people were frightened of FAA funding being withdrawn over this issue. The threat of FAA funding cutoffs has frightened many municipalities into submission regarding TTF.
Senator Johnson thanked Rep. Berger for getting all of the legislators rounded up to sign the letter to the FAA, and Rep. Berger thanked Senator Johnson for spearheading the movement. Fritz Graham read the stand-alone bill that Senator Wyden's office is currently trying to make into law. Senator Johnson reminded everyone that they needed to thank Senator Wyden for writing that legislation. The Mayor then closed by thanking everyone for attending.
The meeting ended at 8:05 PM. Because of the significance of the Town Hall meeting, regular ISAS business will be tabled until the meeting on July 12. Respectfully submitted by Robert English, secretary.