Sunday night I attended the Save Our Communities (SOC) annual meeting at City Hall. I would have rather put my jammies on and watched the Grammy’s but the Paine Field Airport expansion is close to my heart. For one I live just under the flightpath to the North bordering Japanese Gulch.
There were approximately 40 residents from Mukilteo, Everett and Whidbey Island. Most of the people who attended have lived in area for over 20 years. Mike Moore (President of SOC) gave us a brief history of how Paine Field has evolved from general aviation and aerospace to now a commercial airport with eyes ($$$ signs) towards expansion.
Mike also talked about the recent quote from Brad Tilden (CEO of Alaska Airlines) in an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal on October 10th, 2019 that Paine Field should be expanded to five or six gates. Currently it’s two, however the airlines use an outdoor gate, so in fact there are three. The good news is that for Paine Field to expand past its current status of 24 departures and 24 arrivals they would need to conduct an Environmental Impact Study which would take a number of years.
FedEx Cargos at Paine Field
The other bit of news that I was not aware of is that FedEx has been inquiring about 50+ acres that are located on the West side of Paine Field across from the Walgreen’s on Mukilteo Speedway. They want to use it to create a transport center which would bring in cargo planes all hours of the night. That upset me the most as currently the commercial flights start taking off at 6AM and finish up after midnight. So that leaves me less than 6 hours of sleep, which is bad news for loved ones around me in the morning! The thought of FedEx flying all hours of the night is frightening. It’s bad enough when the Dreamlifter rattles my house at 3AM but that is on a limited basis.
Control Tower Closes at 9PM
Last night I shared my experience about flying out of PAE for the first-time in November to Las Vegas. See my blog post about it HERE.
The gist of it is that Paine Field's control tower opens at 7AM and closes at 9PM. I would be happy if we only had commercial flights during these hours. It seems like a safer option too. I was surprised to learn that no one is in the tower after 9PM and will book flights before this time if possible.
Another topic that came up last night are the recent reports in the media about smaller airports effecting the health of those who live nearby. See the US News & World Report article and another from a study being done by the University of Washington regarding the pollution from SeaTac. Both are alarming. My neighbor and I have experienced smelling diesel fuel outside, likely from planes dumping fuel over Japanese Gulch before they land. One neighbor who attended last night brought in their BBQ cover that is collecting soot from the jet planes flying above.
Many residents are concerned about the impact of the airport and their home values. I have been watching the market in Mukilteo closely to see if there has been any impact. As of now there has not been an uptick of people selling their homes and prices are still increasing. I will to do some detailed digging into specific neighborhoods that are more affected than others to see if there is something I'm missing with the overall general data and will post that once it's complete.
According to the FAA if Propeller Airports wants to increase capacity, they will be responsible for paying any mitigation costs in their lease payments to Snohomish County not the taxpayers! Save Our Communities is determined to fight for this and our community.
I love living in Mukilteo and will not be leaving because of the airport. I do enjoy the convenience of flying out of Paine Field but I do not want more flights, traffic, pollution or late-night cargo planes! I will continue to update the blog as I learn more about the expansion issues. To learn more about how you can help prevent expansion at PAE visit the SOC Website.