Ribbon cutting celebrates renovated runway

Port of Port Angeles commissioner sworn in for third term

From left to right, Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Colleen McAleer, Ann Richart, the aviation director for the state Department of Transportation, Port Commissioner Connie Beauvais, Ryan Zulaul and Port Commissioner Steve Burke cut a ceremonial ribbon on Tuesday at Fairchild International Airport to celebrate the resurfacing of the runway. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

From left to right, Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Colleen McAleer, Ann Richart, the aviation director for the state Department of Transportation, Port Commissioner Connie Beauvais, Ryan Zulaul and Port Commissioner Steve Burke cut a ceremonial ribbon on Tuesday at Fairchild International Airport to celebrate the resurfacing of the runway. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

PORT ANGELES — The Port of Port Angeles commissioners relocated their Tuesday meeting to the William R. Fairchild International Airport to celebrate the completion of a $7.3 million runway rehabilitation project.

Also at the meeting, Port of Port Angeles commissioner Connie Beauvais was sworn in for a third four-year term by Clallam County Superior Court Judge Simon Barnhart.

Beauvais represents District 3 and has served as a port commissioner since 2016; she defeated challenger Lee Whetham in the 2023 general election with 13,299 votes (55.38 percent) to 10,645 votes (44.33 percent).

Attending the runway ribbon cutting were Port Angeles Mayor Kate Dexter, City Manager Nathan West and Clallam County Commissioners Mike French and Randy Johnson, as well as Ann Richart, aviation director for the state Department of Transportation (DOT), and representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Northwest Mountain Region.

Work included removing and replacing the top 4 inches of runway overlay, grooving and repainting the surface and installing a new LED lighting system.

The runway was renumbered 8/26 from 9/27 to reflect the adjusted orientation to the magnetic north.

While the port was upgrading the runway, the FAA took the opportunity to replace its entire Medium Intensity Approach Lighting System (MALSR) at the eastern end of the airport.

While recognizing construction would be disruptive, project manager Century West tried to schedule construction so it had a minimal impact on airport operations. Runway grooving, for example, was conducted at night.

The airport was closed for just four days during the 20-week project.

Local contractor Lakeside Industries delivered and mixed 23,000 pounds of asphalt for the runway; another local business, Olympic Electric, worked on the project.

Beauvais said the airport is not simply a port asset, but it serves a larger purpose.

“This newly surfaced runway is here to serve the community,” she said.

French said that while new construction is exciting, taking care of and improving existing assets is just as important.

“We should celebrate regular maintenance,” French said. “This was years in the making and was really crucial for us.”

The FAA has awarded the airport $27.3 million in funding since 1983, including this project.

The honor of cutting the red ribbon, which was strung between a Cessna 172 and a Cessna 206 owned by Rite Brothers Aviation, fell to port commissioners Beauvais, Steve Burke, Colleen McAleer; DOT’s Richart; and Ryan Zulauf, deputy director of the FAA’s Seattle Regional Airports Division and District Office.

In other action:

• The port received a clean report from the state auditor’s office for an accountability audit from January 2022 to December 2022. Except for a minor item in a schedule of liabilities that occurred when the port was transitioning from accrual to cash-basis accounting, there was little for auditors to comment on.

The port’s next audit will come in July 2024.

• Clint Ostler, president of Dash Air Shuttle, attended the ribbon cutting.

Ostler said Dash’s charter business has been going well but it needs to meet a U.S. Department of Transportation surety bond requirement before it can initiate scheduled flights from Port Angeles to Seattle.

Ostler would not say how much money Dash had to raise, only that to do so could take “a little bit of time to reach.”

________

Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at paula.hunt@peninsuladailynews.com.

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