CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. — A community is discussing the idea of letting skydivers land at their local airport. Illinois Valley residents were given the chance to voice their opinions at a meeting Thursday evening.
The emphasis of the meeting was to develop an operational policy. As a guide for the meeting, officials used a copy of the city of Creswell’s operational policies.
A representative listened in as residents voiced their concerns. Urban Moore, owner of Eugene Skydivers, argued that having divers landing in a fly zone is common and safe. Some residents agreed with the notion.
“Eloy in Arizona is probably one of the busiest jump schools and they’re always getting out there when there’s traffic coming in,” said one audience member that preferred not to be named.
Larry Graves, manager of the Josephine County Airport, asked if the situation was dangerous, “If skydivers are already in the pattern while they’re doing their job, or persons or property on the ground, how do they avoid creating a hazard?”
Moore simplified the process as a “spot and avoid” technique, “Well you just stay out of the way, you steer the parachute.”
One scenario didn’t raise safety concerns but economic worries for the facility. Some residents said the perceived danger could take away from the airport’s productivity.
Eugene Skydivers and the city of Creswell are currently involved in a suit. After three hours discussion, the crowd agreed they need to hear more. Residents said they will need Creswell city staff input in order to make an informed decision.
“I want the operational policy to be something, as I said two and a half months ago when we all started, that everybody can live with,” said Graves.