By way of background, on June 20 the Statesman Journal ran an opinion piece by Ben Williams, President of Friends of French Prairie, about two airports: the Salem Airport and the Aurora Airport. The point was that expansion at Aurora will likely come at the expense of the Salem Airport—one which already has a long runway and all the required urban services. In the piece Williams quoted Commissioner Cameron as saying in his first campaign communication that “my first priority is the extension of the Aurora Airport runway …”
On October 4th, City of Aurora held a joint City Council and Planning Commission meeting to discuss the Inter-Governmental Agreement concerning the Aurora Airport between Department of Aviation, Marion County and Aurora. Commissioner Kevin Cameron was present representing Marion County, and after his testimony he was asked a question by Planning Commissioner Tim Shea: “You are on record as saying your number one priority is to get this airport going. What do you see as the benefit to the citizens… Why are you, or what do you see as the benefits of extension?”
Commissioner Cameron responded in a tirade, saying: “I’m not sure where Mr. Williams came up with that comment and put in an Opinion Piece. I think that’s what you’re referring to. People can write things but … I never said that that was my number one priority and I’m sorry that people write things and say things in the newspapers….but I’ve never said this was my number one priority as Mr. Williams quoted, so …it’s a wrong quote.” When asked again about his priorities for the Aurora Airport he said, “…Mr. Williams lied in that article.”
Commissioner Cameron has long been a supporter and booster of expanding the Aurora Airport, and has testified before the Legislature about it. What we now know is even more striking: four days after he called Ben Williams a liar and denied ever saying that the Aurora Airport was his number one priority, he received a $5,000 campaign contribution from Ted Millar, owner of Southend Airpark, the largest developer at Aurora Airport and the major force behind airport expansion!
This contribution may be coincidentally associated with Cameron’s lying in public about his priorities as commissioner, but it raised the stakes for the current campaign and upcoming election. Ted Millar is the biggest developer at Aurora Airport, who besides owning Southend Airpark also bought the property formerly know as The Reef Missionary Center on Airport Road….and deforested it last year getting ready for development. He has also been the major behind-the-scenes force driving Rep. Lewis’ bill in the last legislature to expand the airport, pushing the Aviation Board to get more aggressive in seeking aviation expansion funding and now besides donating $5,000 to Kevin Cameron’s campaign, he also donated $1,500 to John Budiao’s campaign for Wilsonville City Council. Oh, and he’s a major funding source for the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce.
Marion County residents should keep this in mind when they vote for Commissioner Position 1, and Wilsonville residents should keep this in mind when they vote for City Council positions.