A letter from Phil Stenstrom, Aviation Noise Program Manager, Port of Portland, Oregon

The Port of Portland owns and operates three airports in Oregon, the largest of which is Portland International Airport, or PDX.  As part of our commitment to community livability, PDX has supported a proactive approach to aviation noise management for more than 30 years and has been recognized nationally and globally for our leadership in this field.

Every year, we participate in multiple neighborhood and industry outreach events in the surrounding communities of Oregon and Southwest Washington, helping citizens better understand aviation noise within the context of the airport, flight operations, local noise abatement procedures, and the role of the national airspace system.

The Port also convenes a Citizen's Noise Advisory Committee of volunteers who work on aviation noise issues related to PDX.  CNAC members are appointed by city and county jurisdictions  from across the Greater Portland & Vancouver region, and they bring diverse perspectives , geographies and life experiences that inform our noise program priorities and activities.

Because PDX is home to the Oregon Air National Guard's 142nd Fighter Wing, we also work closely with their leadership and operations teams on noise issues. With support over the years from inspiring and visionary leaders such as Col. Jeff Hwang, Col. Mike Bieniewicz, and Col. Paul Fitzgerald, we have developed a strong partnership that results in a more effective noise program for PDX neighbors and deeper community networks for OANG.

These factors came together fortuitously in 2014 during a guided base tour for CNAC. While waiting for a CNAC member, I learned about the DoD STARBASE STEM program from Maj. Melinda Lepore, our tour host and acting Starbase Director.  I learned about the amazing program outcomes and school participation that many readers are well aware of, but I also heard about the funding challenges that prevent some schools from attending, sometimes only due to the bus transportation cost.The nexus was clear - if the Noise Program could support the school bus costs for DoD STARBASE classes from schools close to PDX flight paths, it would enhance our outreach program, complement our community livability goals, support our OANG partners, and most importantly, allow access to great STEM education that these kids might not otherwise get.

With the support of Port leadership and the encouragement of CNAC, we started receiving and paying bus invoices shortly after our initial meeting.  I'm pleased to report that we started out funding 30 bus trips and added two new schools this year, putting us on target for about 50 trips annually.  I'm tremendously appreciative for the help of STARBASE Oregon Director Denise Kortes, and I'm proud of our role in connecting the children of our community to science and technology education.


Posted September 2017