PORTLAND, Ore. -- Complaints of noise pollution associated with training at Portland’s Oregon Air National Guard Base led neighbors to effort ending jet flyovers.
“I love it here,” said Andrew Pritchard, who lives in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood. “I feel real strongly about protecting the quality of life in this neighborhood.”
Pritchard started a petition at www.nojetsportland.com to raise awareness of what’s happening in the air over Cully.
“It is noise pollution, it doesn't belong over our schools, it doesn't belong over our homes,” said Pritchard.
The Oregon Air National Guard had practiced landing maneuvers in Northeast Portland since 2008. Last year, Pritchard's tolerance ran out when the 142ND Fighter Wing significantly increased the number of landing maneuvers they performed during a six month period from May to October.
“Last summer living in this neighborhood felt like being in a war zone,” said Pritchard.
Two weeks ago, Pritchard opened a line of credit to pay for two billboards on Cully Blvd. They advertised his petition, and promoted ending of jet flyovers in residential areas.
“The point of the billboards is to start the conversation, start the dialogue because I'm convinced that when people know what's going on and they have the facts, they will be against what the Guard wants to do.”
In a statement, the 142nd Fighter Wing said they were dedicated to transparency and being a good neighbor, and that their take-off and landing procedures were designed to minimize any impact to neighbors.
In addition, 142nd Fighter Wing spokesman Steve Conklin told KGW that neighbors should not expect a significant change or increase in flights. Even so, Pritchard said for the time being, the billboards weren’t coming down.
“If they are saying they have no plans to increase the flights, that's really good news,” said Pritchard.” But we can't declare victory because they still have the right to do so.”