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Wartime Airport Becomes Southern Oregon Recreation Site

For more than a decade the Crissey State Line Airport was the southernmost airport in Oregon.  Located just a few miles from Brookings in California, it was the only West Coast airport with its access road in another state. The site was named for W. L. Crissey, who grew lily bulbs on the land before the Second World War.

During the war, a Japanese seaplane launched from a submarine bombed Brookings. The Crissey Airfield may have been used as a refueling station for coastal flights patrolling the beaches in search of enemy subs.

The hard-surfaced airstrip had a 60-by-2,000-foot clay and shale runway built on a high point between Highway 101 and the ocean. The Chamber of Commerce petitioned to have the field certified but a debate arose over how to fund the operation, so it remained a private airfield. W. L. Crissey then asked the state to lease it.  In 1952 an agreement was signed to run the airstrip as a public airport for 10 years. 

Crissey sold the land in 2008 and the abandoned airfield became the Crissey Field State Recreation Site. 

 

Sources:  Westerling, Jonathan. "Crissey Airport, Brookings, Oregon." Abandoned and Little- Known Airfields: Southwestern Oregon. Ed. Paul Freeman. 18 Mar. 2016. Web. 20 Mar. 2016. www.airfields-freeman.com/OR/Airfields_OR_SW.htm; "Crissey Field State Recreation Site: History/FAQ." Oregon State Parks, Web. 20 Mar. 2016. .

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.