FLYING Magazine

Good aviation communities cater to the aviation needs of pilots. Great ones do that while having unspoiled views that rival other neighborhoods in the region.

Linda Goering, from Bend, Oregon, feels that Goering Ranches Airport (50OR) is the perfect location for an airpark that will attract aviators from near and far.

“We started building the runway…in 1984 on what was a 200-acre property,” Goering said. “As we saved money, we bought more and more pieces, so that we ended up with a square mile surrounded by thousands of acres of BLM [Bureau of Land Management] land, yet just minutes from downtown Bend. So, it’s totally private around us, and we can’t really be encroached upon, which is important for a private airport. There are 360-degree panoramic views, including the seven-peak mountain view of the Cascades.”

Bend, a town of roughly 100,000 and home to Epic Aircraft, is touted as both a great place to visit and live. Recreational highlights range from local shops, restaurants, and golf courses to hiking trails, museums, and resorts.

“Bend has become one of the most desirable resort towns to live in this country, located along the Deschutes River in Oregon,” Goering said. “It is known for the great weather, natural beauty and year-round outdoor activities, often being called the outdoor playground of the west.Mount Bachelor Ski Resort is just minutes from town, and the crystal-clear water of the Deschutes River offers kayaking and floating the river even right through downtown. The numerous high lakes of the Cascades offer endless mountain camping and hiking opportunities.

Several aircraft on the ramp at 50OR, which has a 5,500-by-60-foot-wide, hard-packed gravel runway. [Courtesy: Linda Goering]

“It is a beautiful mountain getaway with a cosmopolitan downtown appeal. The historic Old Mill District offers an outdoor amphitheater with summer concerts, more than a dozen riverside restaurants, premier shopping, a 16-screen movie theater, and many signature golf courses. Bend is known for its local 22 breweries in the area. The downtown area is filled with art galleries, boutique shopping, spas, and all types of restaurants, many with outdoor seating.”

Goering explained that the 40 year-old airport is protected into the future, so she, her husband, and others will be able to enjoy it for many years to come.

“In Oregon, we have the Airport Protection Act, which [means], if you can prove you’ve had an airport in existence for a certain amount of time, you’re pretty much protected [from it being closed],” she said. “It’s a nice little safety net. Our runway runs from north to south and is hard-packed gravel and is a little bit longer than a mile [at 5,500 feet]. My husband has flown 690 Commanders and all kinds of other planes into here.

“When we started, we got our county approval, then state approval, and finally FAA approval. Our dream has been to see if we could do an airpark. It has been a lot of work doing that, because Oregon has a lot of land use laws and state goals you have to meet for anything you do.”

In 2006, the couple began working to get approval for a fly-in community. A considerable amount of work has been done since to overcome the zoning hurdle and ensure the feasibility of an airpark.

“This ultimate destination airport development took many years to get this exclusive zoning in place,” Goering said. “It was created to provide one of the longest and most private airport facilities on the West Coast of the United States. We hired land use consultants, attorneys, and others and created this really cool zone called a ‘rural aviation community,’ a ‘RAC zone.’ The purpose of the RAC zone is to provide for private aviation and aviation housing uses within the community.”

Now that the correct zoning is in place, with the provision for clustering (cutting down on infrastructure costs), the Goerings are still planning to have their property become a fly-in community. But they have taken a step back and determined that an experienced airpark developer can better execute their vision. 

The Goerings’ home at their private airport. [Courtesy: Linda Goering]

“For years, my husband has bought and sold airplanes and got into the ag aviation business,” she said. “We rebuilt turbine Thrush aircraft here, put Garretts on them. We put out about two and a half planes a year. So right now, that’s really the only things on the property, our house and hangar. There are various ways to develop this property within the approved RAC zone, depending on the intended use of residential and or aviation industry use or both. All sites would have runway access, common areas, and open spaces throughout—including walking and biking trails, a community gardening area, and outdoor gathering space for all to enjoy.

“The goal of the development…is to recognize and appreciate the existing beautiful character of the land while providing and supporting aviation activities and related uses. With a PUD (planned unit development) being put in place, zoning will allow homesites to be clustered, yet some sites could be platted as large as 80-plus acres if desired. We’ve had a lot of interest in people wanting to buy lots. But we have to have the developer in place before selling lots. This is the ultimate destination where dreams take flight it is finally ready to market.”

The Goerings plan to continue living at the private airport and keep their home and business hangar, meaning they expect there will be up to 30 homesites available for development.  

The post Oregon Airpark Development Aims to Create Access to ‘Outdoor Playground of the West’ appeared first on FLYING Magazine.

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