Oak Harbor may help port buy airport

The city of Oak Harbor may take steps to help secure the future of the A.J. Eisenberg Airport.

The city of Oak Harbor may take steps to help secure the future of the A.J. Eisenberg Airport at an upcoming council workshop.

A draft interlocal agreement with the Port of Coupeville supporting the port’s purchase of the airport is on the agenda for Oak Harbor City Council’s meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22.

The draft agreement states that the city would provide the port with up to $200,000 for the purchase of the airport, feasibility studies and initial maintenance and repairs. The city would not be an owner or operator of the airport, though the draft agreement does include language requiring the port to change the name of the airport to the “Oak Harbor Airport” if possible.

The privately owned airport, located on Monroe Landing Road, has been on the market since August 2021. The Port of Coupeville has been considering its options to assume ownership, a move supported by many general aviators and others who think public ownership would be the best way to revitalize the airport.

Port commissioners passed a motion last month to make an offer on the airport. The city of Oak Harbor isn’t the only financial partner the port has sought for the purchase; Island County commissioners have also expressed willingness to provide financial support for the purchase, though they have repeatedly asserted that the county will not be an owner or operator.

County Commissioner Jill Johnson said the county is willing to help fund the initial purchase and a feasibility study, but the port will be responsible to figure out how to sustain the airport on its own.

“We are prepared to contribute a certain amount of money from rural county economic development funds toward the purchase if the port or city puts in a request, but that’s our entire role,” she said.

Port commissioners will also discuss the purchase of the airport in executive session during a meeting Wednesday. The Port of Coupeville Board of Commissioners will meet at 1 p.m. on Feb. 22.