Pierce and Thurston county residents organizing to protest potential new airport

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Residents are organizing in opposition against a potential new airport in the South Sound.

A community meeting on Monday focused on two potential sites for a new airport in Pierce County, as forecasts show that millions of passengers might not be accommodated at the state’s airports due to lack of capacity by 2050.

The Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission, which was created by the state legislature to address capacity concerns, was tasked to find a new site for an airport in the state back in 2019.

Last week, the CACC announced two sites in Pierce County and another site in Thurston County as potential sites for the new airport, pending further evaluation.

The two Pierce County sites are in what are considered to be rural areas, south of Graham, and the Thurston County site is located east of Olympia, partially on Joint Base Lewis-McChord land.

Residents gathered at Frontier Park on Monday night to express concerns over water infrastructure, lack of transit and other services they believe would be needed to support a commercial airport.

An advocacy group called “Stop the Thurston Airport” also launched its campaign on Monday.

The group says its major concern is the homes and businesses it believes will need to be removed to make space for the airport. It plans to work together with organizers in Pierce County, as they “have similar concerns about an airport’s impact on our respective areas and on the South Sound overall,” according to a press release.

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