Colonel James Church
In 1968, after a distinguished 26-year career in the U.S. Air Force as an airfields engineer, Col. James Church retired and joined the Port of Portland. Over the next 18 years, he served as the director of engineering, planning, research, and the director of aviation, overseeing the operations of the Portland International, Hillsboro, and Troutdale airports.
Church developed innovative financing and operating agreement between the Port of Portland and the airlines, which provided funding for both the day-to-day operations and the capital needs of its airports. His pioneering idea provided the airlines with input about airport operations and growth and supplied the Port of Portland with a steady source of funds to achieve its goals. Many airports across the country have emulated Church’s groundbreaking plan, which served as the vehicle for millions of dollars of capital and operating funds for Portland International Airport. When Church retired in 1984, an Oregon congressional delegation recognized him for distinguished service with the Port of Portland and the U.S. Air Force.