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Airstrip expansion could face land-use appeal

Opponents of expanding the Sunset Airstrip will challenge it before the state Land Use Board of Appeals.

The Washington County Commission approved an ordinance to allow the small airport southwest of North Plains to expand on Oct. 11. On Monday, Oregon Aviation Watch and the Washington County Citizen Action Network announced they have filed a notice of intent to appeal it to LUBA.

In the announcement, Miki Barnes of OAW said the expansion overstepped state law on where airports can be sited and set a dangerous precedent for future large-scale airport development.

OAW is a non-profit organization that has challenged the expansion of the Hillsboro Airport in the past. WC CAN is a coalition of community, environmental and social justice organizations, some of whom are challenging Intel's emission discharge permit.

The ordinance would permit a residential airpark on the south side of Highway 26 and west of Glencoe Road — a neighborhood specifically designed around an airport in which residents usually own airplanes. It is supported by Bob Jossy of Jossy Farms. He and his wife own an approved 18-home subdivision around the Sunset Airstrip and want the owners of the new homes to be part of the airpark district.

The opponents say the expansion will result in noise and air pollution, including lead emissions from the airplanes based there. They argue the ordinance violates state land use planning laws.