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Aviation museum won't be affected by Evergreen shutdown

Officials at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum say the Yamhill County facility will remain open, despite the pending closure of its sister organization, Evergreen International Airlines.

“The Evergreen Aviation Museum has been and remains a separate entity from Evergreen International Airlines,” said spokeswoman Melissa Grace.

“The museums would not be here without the financial support of Mr. Delford M. Smith," she said, referring to the founder the two entities share. "But it does not depend upon the financial support of Evergreen International Airlines for its financial future."

In November 2012, the state Department of Justice opened an investigation into the financial relationship between the two Evergreen entities, which are legally barred from co-mingling their finances. It has yet to release any findings, but the museum's executive director, Larry Wood, said he is expecting it to come to a favorable conclusion in the near future.

“Our attorneys say that it's pretty good," Wood told the News-Register. "The attorney general seems to be satisfied.

“There were some things we needed to do to finish the complete separation between us,” he said, citing a shared telephone system as an example. “That's coming, but it is logistically difficult. The AG wants them done by the middle of December, and I think we'll make it.”

Overall, Wood said, it's “pretty much business as usual” at the museum, despite the financial struggles taking place across the street. He said the key elements on the site — an aviation museum, space museum, theater and water park — are combining to draw about 150,000 visitors a year.

However, he said construction of an adventure park and lodge have been placed on hold for now, because the museum has not yet been able to line up suitable financing.