The Board of Josephine County Commissioners continued its recent streak of miniature meetings with the Oct. 12 weekly business session, which lasted just over 10 minutes.
JoCo Airports Director Jason Davis attended the meeting, which took place at the Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass, to detail a board order making revisions to minimum standards for commercial aeronautical activities at the Grants Pass Airport.
“This guides the commercial activities, the businesses at the Grants Pass Airport,” said Davis. “We have been updating these over the course of the last year, and I want to thank the advisory board at the Grants Pass Airport for a fabulous job that they did. They put a lot of hours into this. It’s not an easy task, and they finished the race well when it came to doing this.”
The commissioners had few questions for Davis regarding the new standards, having previously been briefed on them.
Commissioner Dan DeYoung asked how the businesses at the airport have received the proposed standards revisions.
Davis noted that some members of the advisory board represent businesses at the airport, so their best interests were accounted for. He said the new standards have been “very well-accepted” and while there was some “give and take,” the end result was “fair and balanced.”
“This update was long in the works,” Davis pointed out. “The last time minimum standards were updated was 2007, I believe, so it was long overdue.”
Board Chair Herman Baertschiger wanted to clarify what the official name of the airport is, as some refer to it as Hampshire Field.
Davis explained that during his studies of the airport’s history, he recalled that the nickname ‘Hampshire Field’ came about in the mid-’90s, which Baertschiger added he also remembered because he served on the airport board during that time.
“It’s actually a wonderful thing,” Davis said. “It was a World War II fighter pilot veteran that it was named after, and I think it’s a noble thing to name it after, but on the charts and the way everybody knows it is the ‘Grants Pass Airport.’”
Baertschiger floated the idea of having the advisory board contemplate whether the airport’s name should be changed to honor the Grants Pass-born fighter pilot.
Earlier in the session, the board deliberated on a property annexation into the Williams Rural Fire Protection District.
WRFPD board member Bill Ertel took the auditorium podium to provide background on the annexation.
“About four or five months ago we discovered this particular property and tax lot in Williams has never been associated with any fire department, and it sits right in the middle of hundreds of other properties in the area that we service,” said Ertel. “Of course, we would have responded because we didn’t know any different.”
Ertel added WRFPD was “enthusiastic to bring them into our tax rolls,” and the property owners were also “eager” to be annexed into the district.
“It’s a curious thing,” Ertel went on. “It’s caused our board to wonder if maybe there are more candidates out there sprinkled around that we don’t know about.”
DeYoung called the property being annexed a “good find,” going on to say “it’s a testament to their wanting to be part of the community out there. It’s great that they are eager to get into the fire district, and that Williams Fire District is a very, very strong fire district.”