In October 2003, the South Coast Development Council in conjunction with a majority of the region’s economic development stakeholders published a white paper, “Economy and Transportation Issues, Coos County, Oregon.” Chief among its findings and recommendations was the development of an expanded commercial air route structure and the construction of new passenger terminal facilities as soon as practical. The airport’s master plan showed that commercial, general aviation and cargo were all projected to double by the year 2020. The previous terminal building was built in 1962 and the passenger facilities, air carrier apron, and other related air operations were stretched to the maximum. The airport has thus become a limiting factor rather than a support or stimulus for economic growth.
The airport terminal complex was in addition to several other ongoing infrastructure projects for the airport. Runway and taxiway maintenance and improvements were budgeted for completion after the terminal, along with the construction of an air traffic control tower. The terminal project by itself was estimated to be approximately $22 million. This project included: passenger facilities, roadways, parking and car rental services, firefighting and rescue operations, airplane parking aprons, and terminal business offices.
The purpose of the project was to reach agreement on a plan of action for constructing a new airport passenger terminal facility at the North Bend Airport. The overall goal was to complete construction of the new terminal building by the summer of 2006.
- The North Bend airport terminal project team reached agreement on a plan of action for constructing a new airport terminal facility at the North Bend Municipal Airport.
- The terminal project meets sustainable economic, environmental, and community objectives in a number of ways. It provides infrastructure that improves transportation linkages for the whole Coos Bay-South Coast region. It improves the economic potential of the region by assisting existing businesses and attracting new ones and while incorporating sustainable design practices.
- On August 18, 2005, Governor Kulongoski signed SB 152 at the North Bend Airport. Through the sale of lottery bonds, the bill provided $10 million to the airport district for a new terminal. Now the name of the airport is the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport. The 37,000-square-foot terminal opened in summer of 2008.
- Since its completion, travel to the southwest region of Oregon has increased significantly with over 45,000 passengers going through the terminal in 2010. The airport announced in 2011 that it would increase its capacity for small jet traffic.