New hangars may be built at Grove Field

Demand for more general-aviation facilities in the Clark County-Portland region is prompting new hangar construction and private investment at Grove Field in Camas.

The expansion project would include 17 units in two buildings at the air strip, west of Northeast 267th Avenue in Fern Prairie.

Grove Field is owned and operated by the Port of Camas-Washougal. The port's three-member commission will decide Monday whether to approve a lease agreement with the project developer and former military and commercial airline pilot John Anderson of Immelman Hangar Development. Anderson wants to invest $1.5 million in the project.

He has developed similar projects in Portland and Seaside, Ore., and wants to lease about 1 acre at Grove Field from the port. He will then build and sell the hangars at asking prices that have not yet been determined.

Anderson said buyers already have reserved the rights for all 17 units, which will range in size from 1,600 to 2,500 square feet.

"There is real demand," he said. "There really aren't enough hangars in the Pacific Northwest."

The situation is worse in Clark County, where more than 80 hangars were lost when east Vancouver's Evergreen Airport closed in 2006.

Grove Field's new units would increase storage there to 96 hangars, enough room for about 140 planes when combined with the airport's tie-down space, said Scott Walstra, port director of planning and development.

The hangars at Grove Field would be an approved use within the airport's new layout plan, approved by the port in August to bring the facility up to Federal Aviation Administration standards and make Grove Field eligible for $4 million in federal and state funding, Walstra said.

"Once it becomes compliant, then other improvements and enhancements can occur," he said.

A runway realignment, better lighting and a variety of new navigation equipment are among upgrades planned for Grove Field.

Founded in 1946 by Ward E. Grove, the facility is one of the smallest of 139 general aviation airports in Washington.