The Goldendale City Council met March 15 with a bare quorum of four of the seven city councilors in attendance. Councilors passed a major milestone on the long-awaited upgrade of the Goldendale Airport in approving a bid from Northwest-based Masscot Equipment Company in an amount not to exceed $162,766.25 to install an aviation gas fuel system at the airport. 

This is a project that has been in the works for several years and will be funded by a state grant for $550,000 for airport improvement that was awarded in 2019. While that was welcome, it was short of the initial request for $1.6 million, which would have included funds to expand the main runway from 3,500 feet to 5,000 feet; that would have allowed small jets to land.

The current project would supply 100 octane aviation gas which is used by commercially manufactured private airplanes. In response to a question from Councilor Kevin Feiock, consultant Corley McFarland said that the project had been planned from the start as a modular design that would easily expand, if more grants came through, to add another tank providing “Jet A” fuel for jet airplanes. 

He said the second part of the project, which would go out for bid shortly, would include, “Power to the fuel system, the concrete slab, and a small apron to park the aircraft on.”

He said the current lead time from bid to installation is running 16 weeks.

Councilors also approved a public meeting policy. Under the state’s new relaxed restrictions, all Washington counties will move to Phase 3 on March 22, which means that the council will be able to meet in person with a limited audience in the council chambers, along with masking and social distancing. One small positive outcome of the previous restriction is that more people were able to attend online, and Mayor Mike Canon said access by Zoom and telephone will continue even after meeting in person is allowed.

“Using Zoom and telephone ability to attend the meeting is going to be available long term—very long term,” he said. “The Zoom system has become very, very helpful for workshops and things of that nature, and the telephone has worked well as well.” He added that continuing those systems would be helpful for people who will not be comfortable attending meetings in person.