The contest for Port commissioner has been full of sound and fury, but there has been very little mention of one of the Port's prime responsibilities. The Port of Walla Walla offices are just a few hundred feet from the main runway of the airport, and that airport is the front door for new business in the Valley.
Tomorrow's new investors, new employers or company managers are going to arrive by business jet, and the airport presents their first look at the city. Any pilot who regularly visits towns in the Pacific Northwest knows that Walla Walla's front door needs some work.
Some of the issues seem arcane, such as the category of runway lighting the Port chooses to install and how that impacts year-round air traffic.
Other issues are as simple as providing a comfortable place for business pilots and business passengers to meet and greet.
The best efforts of the dedicated people who operate the facilities at the airport cannot overcome the shortcomings of the facilities themselves. The airport is more than just a big piece of real estate to develop and rent. The airport is one of the most important business advantages Walla Walla possesses, and someone needs to pay more attention to it.