The Jackson County Airport Authority is seeking to perform capital improvement projects at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport, which would allow this regional airport to continue to serve more than 900,000 passengers each year and be poised to expand its operations.

Why does this project matter?

When it opened in 1922, Medford Field was the first established municipal airport in the state of Oregon, hosting a gravel runway that ran 1,500 feet. Now known as the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport, it spans 855 acres and is located just outside the business district in the city of Medford.

What is ESA doing to help?

ESA is assisting the Jackson County Airport Authority with an Environmental Assessment that meets FAA’s NEPA guidelines for proposed improvements at the airport. These include:

  • An airport stormwater detention and treatment facility
  • General aviation apron expansion
  • Taxiway C extension
  • Automated Surface Observation System relocation
  • Relocation of an Electrical Equipment Building
  • Relocation of the Runway 32 supplemental wind cone

Of special interest to ESA’s analysts are natural resources, including Upton Creek and Lone Pine Creek (critical habitat for coho salmon) and associated floodplains, two federally listed plant species (Cook’s lomatium and large-flowered woolly meadow foam), and wetlands and vernal pool habitat. Our cultural resources team has been very involved in the analysis as the airport is located in an area of high probability for containing archeological resources and is of interest to the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz, the Smith Rock Ranchia, and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.

The proposed project had the potential to impact Southern Oregon/Northern California coho salmon and thus required formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and was undergoing consultation when the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed.

ESA worked with staff at the Seattle Airport District Office to develop a very aggressive schedule to get a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed by July 15, 2020, so that the airport could qualify for CARES Act funding, thus allowing the project to be constructed a year ahead of schedule. This included working with NMFS to complete the consultation on an accelerated schedule, writing the Environmental Assessment within two weeks, and figuring out the Public Notice logistics (including a backup plan for a virtual open house if needed because of COVID-19). The FONSI was signed on June 29, 2020.The airport was awarded a design and construction grant, and the construction plans will be out for bid in February with construction planned to start in the spring of 2021.

Testimonials icon

“Throughout the years I have worked with Susan Cunningham and her team, I have been impressed with their ability to respond to, coordinate with, and influence the various local, state, and federal agencies. Without hesitation, I would recommend ESA for your future projects.”

Jerry Brienza, Airport Director

Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport


Client Jackson County Airport Authority

Location Medford, OR


In order to qualify for CARES Act funding, the Environmental Assessment was completed within two weeks, and the project will be constructed a year ahead of schedule thanks to these funds.

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