The Port of Portland is sharing an update on work to bring the main runway and runway safety area at Hillsboro Airport up to current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) design standards.

The project will be designed to support aircraft that currently use the airport and will not expand capacity or change the types of aircraft that can use the airport.

On April 22, 2021, the Port released the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) that summarizes the proposed design and environmental analysis. We invited community members to share their input on the Draft EA from April 22, 2021 through June 4, 2021.

The project team also held an online public hearing on May 25, 2021 and took public comment. Comments were also accepted via email, voicemail, postal mail, and an online comment form.

An aerial view of the Hillsboro Airport shows linear runways in a green field.
Hillsboro Airport from the air

Runway Safety Area

The runway safety area is the area beyond the end and sides of the runway. Much like the shoulder of a road, this area provides an extra measure of safety in case an aircraft veers off or overruns the runway. FAA design standards require that the runway safety area is maintained in smooth condition.

The Proposed Action would adjust the slope (longitudinal grade) at the north end of the main runway (Runway 13R) and the runway safety area to meet current FAA design standards. It would accommodate a standard 1,000-foot runway safety area by conveying a portion of Glencoe Swale in a concrete box culvert. The runway safety area and the north end of Runway 13R would be regraded to comply with FAA design standards.

Project construction is expected to take place over one construction season, approximately May 2023 through October 2023.

Runway 13R-31L and runway safety area at Hillsboro Airport
Runway 13R-31L and runway safety area at Hillsboro Airport | Click to enlarge

Draft Environmental Assessment

The Environmental Assessment (EA) is required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to determine whether the project has the potential to cause significant environmental effects.

Proposed Action and No Action Alternative

Through initial analysis of six different design alternatives, we identified rerouting Glencoe Swale in a culvert through the runway safety area and regrading the end of the runway and the runway safety area as the best alternative for more detailed study. This alternative is now what is termed the Proposed Action. It was selected for best meeting all the screening criteria because it:

  • Is compatible with critical design aircraft
  • Does not cause safety or operational problems that are not easily resolvable
  • Is reasonable from an economic standpoint and using common sense

Key Findings

The Draft EA assesses the potential for impacts and benefits that could result from construction of the Proposed Action.

You can explore selected key findings on topics of public interest from the Draft EA. The Proposed Action would provide mitigation to avoid significant long-term impacts to water resources, as described below. Construction activities would result in temporary impacts to water resources, air quality, and noise levels.

In addition to the findings summarized below, the Draft EA also assesses the potential for impacts to other resources, including climate, farmlands, groundwater, hazardous materials, land use, natural resources and energy supply, parks and recreation (Section 4(f)), socioeconomics, visual effects, and cumulative impacts. There would be no significant long-term impacts to any of these resources.

Next steps

The project team is preparing the final EA which will be submitted to the FAA for their use in issuing an environmental finding on the project.

The project team anticipates completing the National Environmental Policy Act process in early 2022 and beginning construction in the spring of 2023.