Oak Harbor airport saga continues

The Port of Coupeville made another step toward the purchase of the A.J. Eisenberg Airport.

The Port of Coupeville made another step toward the purchase of the A.J. Eisenberg Airport following two special meetings last week.

The board of commissioners for the port held executive sessions March 14 and 16 to discuss the acquisition of the property. After the latter session, board members approved a motion instructing the executive director to negotiate and sign an agreement with Oak Harbor Realtor Geri Morgan for the purchase of the airport.

Morgan currently has the first right of refusal on the property. The agreement terms have not been finalized as of Monday afternoon, but will include reimbursing Morgan for $55,000 worth of earnest money she will pay for the property, as per the board’s motion.

The board members approved the motion in a unanimous vote. Commissioner John Mishasek said that Morgan is committed to seeing the airport come under public ownership.

“She wants it to be a public airport for the community,” he said.

The News-Times could not reach Morgan for comment by press time.

Mishasek maintained that public ownership is the best route for the airport, because it falls within a port district’s purview to fix properties that need it to promote economic development.

“That warms the cockles of my heart, to think of all the things that could be done with that property,” Mishasek said.

The airport has been on the market since August 2021. The Port of Coupeville has been persuing various avenues to assume ownership of the property, with mixed opinions from the public. Island County and the city of Oak Harbor have indicated willingness to offer some financial support for the purchase, though neither entity wishes to be an owner or operator of the airport.

A private buyer, North Whidbey resident Robert DeLaurentis, has also made moves to purchase the airport and has undertaken feasibility studies on the property.