Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dalles City cancels Columbia Gorge Regional Airport (KDLS) operation contracts: Two companies given six months’ notice of termination

The Dalles City Council voted unanimously Monday evening to cancel contracts with two firms managing operations at the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport in Dallesport.

Following an executive session in which the mayor and councilors discussed possible litigation, the elected body reconvened in open session to take action regarding the airport.

Councilor Linda Miller then made two separate motions; the first to terminate the city’s contract with Aeronautical Management Inc., and provide AMI with six months’ notice of the termination, as required in the contract. AMI manages the airport operations, providing a variety of services, including air traffic control and leasing the hangars.

Miller’s motion also stipulated that cancellation of the contract be contingent upon the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners also canceling the contract. The city and county jointly own the airport and both jurisdictions must be in agreement on business and policy decisions.

Miller’s second motion was to terminate the contract with Gorge Aviation Services, LLC, also giving six months’ notice, and also subject to approval by Klickitat County. Gorge Aviation Services is the airport’s fixed base operator, which provides refueling, pilot, maintenance and mechanical services, as well as operating a flight school.

Both motions passed 5-0.

County officials could decide as soon as today, July 11, whether to follow the city’s lead and end the management contracts with GAS and AMI. Ending the contracts has been under consideration by city officials for several months, although the specific reasons have not been made public.

Chuck Covert, one of the airport managers, declined to comment on the city’s action.

“I am not able to talk about it due to possible litigation,” Covert said after the council’s votes.

Mayor Steve Lawrence said it was an action the city needed to take, but he declined to offer details.

“It’s something requiring change, so we’re moving forward and making a change,” Lawrence said Monday evening.

Lawrence said the contracts with the two companies have been in place for several years.

If the county votes to terminate the airport management contracts, requests for proposals (RFPs) will be going out to find new management for the airport.

City officials said they have been “working on options,” but it is not yet clear when the RFPs might be going out.

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