Over the past eight years, Plateau has been involved with multiple projects at the Pangborn Memorial Airport, surveying more than 400 acres. As the airport has expanded it has been required to meet the safety and design requirements of the FAA, thus triggering Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (amended), and its’ implementing regulations, 36CFR Part 800.
The Columbia River, located directly south of the airport, and its uplands are important Native American environmental features as exemplified by the numerous ethnographic place names and archaeological resources in the vicinity of the airport, including the Richey Clovis Cache. The importance of the Richey Clovis Cache has led to many previous cultural resource surveys in the area that surrounds the Pangborn Memorial Airport.
These projects included upgrades and changes to the landing strip and associated infrastructure located to the south and southwest of the airport in 2005. Also, in 2007, the airport acquired land for Runway Protection Zone Areas to the northwest and improved the fire access lane, as well as the construction of an additional taxiway/taxilane and executive hangars east of the airport. In 2009, the airport had proposed changes in access to its facilities via Airport Way. The project included relocating approximately 600 feet of Airport Way, vacating the right-of-way (ROW) associated with the existing segment of Airport Way to be relocated, dedicating a new ROW for the proposed segment of Airport Way, dedicating new easements, and improving the remaining segment of Airport Way pavement section. In 2009, the airport began preparations to extend Runway12/30 (the main runway) to remain in compliance with the FAA. The Runway 12/30 Extension Project included relocating county roadways and infrastructure, recovering existing runway pavement, providing additional runway and taxiway length, relocating a runway threshold, clearing vegetation, excavation/backfill, grading surfaces, paving, striping, re‐locating runway and navigational lighting and signage, fencing, and associated miscellaneous work. This project includes areas at both the northwest and southeast portions of the airport.
For projects that did not involve ground disturbing activities, such as the runway land acquisitions, Plateau recommended no further investigations at the project areas. However, if ground disturbing activities were to occur, then future archaeological investigations are necessary. In 2008, Plateau conducted archaeological monitoring of two geotechnical bore holes and two backhoe trenches for improvements to the Taxiway B runway. Also, the Airport Way project required monitoring of all ground disturbing activities over two months in the Fall of 2010. For the Runway 12/30 Extension Project, Plateau excavated 459 subsurface probes with the help of the Toro Dingo TX420 compact utility loader using a 12 inch diameter by 46 inch long power auger. With archaeologists screening the spoils for cultural material, this mechanical method provides an effective alternative to manual excavation when identification of the presence or absence of cultural material is the goal.
Location: Douglas County, Washington