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Ceremony honors Jack Walker's role in keeping tanker base in Medford

The Medford airport and Jackson County Commission will recognize a former commissioner's effort to keep an air tanker base in Medford at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 600 Nebula Way, next to the tanker base.

The ceremony will honor Jack Walker, who passed away earlier this year. Airport officials report that he spearheaded the effort to keep the base in Medford in 2002. Due to funding issues that year, the U.S. Forest Service wanted to close the Medford hub and shift it over to Klamath Falls. Walker said keeping the base in Medford would provide a more timely response to incidents in southern and western Oregon and in northern California. The Biscuit fire roared to life in July of that year, burning close to 500,000 acres of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness area.

"When the Biscuit fire broke out...the decision to keep the base in Medford was overwhelmingly lauded as the right one," an airport news release says.