by: STOVER E. HARGER III - Standing in front of the Scappoose airport land that will soon house Oregon Aero's new hangar, Chief Operating Officer Tony Erickson speaks about his company's recent growth. Watching are company founders Jude and Mike Dennis.A $1.5 million expansion by Scappoose’s Oregon Aero is a reason to be optimistic about the region’s economic future, officials believe.

Oregon Aero held a celebratory groundbreaking last week for its soon-to-be-built expansion that will double the airplane-related manufacturer’s footprint at the Scappoose Industrial Airpark. The State of Oregon and the Port of St. Helens are financially backing the construction, which will result in a 22,000-square-foot hangar next to Oregon Aero’s existing facilities.

The hangar will house operations for the manufacturing and development of airplane seating and interior upgrades. It will also have a repair station and a customer service department.

Oregon Aero exports its products to more than 50 countries across the world. The company believes it can continue to grow.

Contractor JH Kelly expects to complete construction by next February.

“This will help bring real dollars to Oregon,” Chief Operation Officer Tony Erickson said at the Sept. 28 celebration.

Also on hand to applaud Oregon Aero’s growth were regional politicians, community leaders and Port of St. Helens staff. State Rep. Brad Witt said Oregon Aero’s success is also a success for the community.

Oregon Aero has not given specifics, but indicated its expansion could result in more jobs for the region.

“This is a great opportunity to look ahead,” said company President and CEO Mike Dennis.

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