The city of Madras is expanding its urban growth boundary by 1,089 acres to include the entire Madras Municipal Airport.

The Madras City Council approved the move in June.

Nick Snead, the city’s community development director, said it has been a long time coming to bring the whole airport property into city limits. The airport is owned and operated by the city, but about half of its 2,091 acres sat in Jefferson County.

The newly annexed land also includes 90 acres for the Oregon State University Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center and 94 acres of industrial land for Daimler Trucks North America.

“For five years or so there were conversations in City Hall with staff and the City Council and economic development manager that the city really needed to bring the airport into the UGB,” Snead said.

For years, state land use laws prevented large swathes of land to be brought into urban growth boundaries. Cities were prevented from adding more than 199 acres a year.

In 2017, former state Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, introduced legislation that established a pilot program specifically designed for Madras, a city with an airport and industrial land. The measure, House Bill 2743, passed, and the pilot program allowed Madras to expand beyond 199 acres.

“It basically said if you have a publicly owned airport and it’s not on resource land, then you could be considered for selection in this pilot program,” Snead said. “It was crafted for only one city — Madras.”

The 1,089 acres will not officially transfer to Madras until the Jefferson County Commission approves the change later this month.

Once Madras has the additional land, that will streamline its control of the airport and partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration, Snead said. The city has already begun reconstruction of the airport’s taxiway and is making stormwater drain improvements.

“That allows us to make improvements more effectively and allows us to control the plans for the airport,” Snead said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7820,