Every time I return from a visit to that hardware store on Crater Lake Highway, I go by a large vacant area between Whittle and Corona avenues that is owned by the Medford airport. Why is that land vacant, and what is it used for? I can't believe that it's just because it's on the approach to the runway since there are many buildings between that area and the runway. Just curious.

— R., Medford

Years ago, the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport used a Federal Aviation Administration grant to buy 37 acres there because the land had houses. After the purchase, the houses were removed, said Marcy Black, deputy director of administration at the airport.

As you noted, there continue to be many commercial buildings under the runway approach that are even closer to the airport, including Hubbards Home Center, auto parts and car battery stores and a mini-storage business.

Black said having houses under the approach to the runway represented both safety and noise issues.

Although some businesses are allowed under the runway approach, some would not be, such as a nursing home, she said.

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