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Airport gets land free in deal with Rachor

A Jackson County commissioner will give the Medford airport about two acres he owns in exchange for roughly 13 years of free rent to house his plane there.

The deal involves a parcel at 4578 Table Rock Road, valued at $534,347 and owned by a family trust of Commissioner John Rachor.

Under the terms negotiated by third parties on both sides, the Rachor Family Trust will give the land to the airport, then lease it back from the airport for 25 years. The trust will retain ownership of a hangar and office space on the land.

The rate for the ground lease will start at $40,076 per year and will be adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index. Rachor won't have to pay anything until he has recouped the agreed-upon $534,347 value, which should take about 13 years.

Rachor didn't vote on the agreement at the Board of Commissioners' weekly public meeting Wednesday, but Commissioners Don Skundrick and Doug Breidenthal approved it.

"He'll be compensated for the property, and we'll be compensated for him utilizing it," said airport Director Bern Case, adding the agreement will enable the airport to expand without dipping into its reserves. "It was good for him, and it was good for us."

He built a hangar for his helicopter and offices to work out of when he owned several Burger King franchises. He's since sold the franchises and helicopter, but has purchased an airplane — a single engine, fixed-wing Aviat Husky — so he needs to be on airport property to get on the runways.

"I need access," Rachor said, adding he may construct one or two more hangars to continue adding to the land's value.

County Administrator Danny Jordan said the type of agreement, known as a Type B Lease Agreement, has been executed before.

"This is a fairly typical process," Jordan said at the meeting.

Board members said they don't think the agreement was given preference because of Rachor's political role.

"It's no different than any other citizen would get in Jackson County," Breidenthal said.

Rachor said he does have concerns the agreement appeared to give him special treatment, even though county officials said it's not a sweetheart deal.

"I always worry about that," Rachor said. "That's why we're keeping it as clean as possible."

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com.