The storied USS Ranger aircraft carrier could very well find a permanent home on the Columbia River in Fairview, but first it needs a firm shove in the right direction from leaders of the Metro regional government.
The Ranger, mothballed in Bremerton, Wash., could offer East Multnomah County - and indeed, the entire Portland area - a world-class tourist attraction. The USS Ranger Foundation, a nonprofit group whose mission is to preserve the Ranger in museum form, has named Fairview as its preferred future site. The proposal to moor the Ranger at Chinook Landing Marine Park on the Columbia River has been greeted with enthusiasm by leaders in Fairview, Troutdale, Gresham and Wood Village.
Chinook Landing, however, is owned by Metro. So far, Metro officials have kept open minds about the deal, but have been noncommittal about the prospect of allowing the Ranger to come to Fairview. Certainly, there are issues to consider related to traffic and to the park's use as a boat-launching area. But the possibility of landing the Ranger is of great significance to the region, and Metro councilors should fully and publicly embrace the concept even as they study some of the details.