Portland—Spokane Beacon #12 in Arlington, Oregon

This is a guest post, with photos and accompanying text contributed by Dave Sbur. Thanks for your contribution, Dave!

There was initially some confusion when trying to identify which beacon site Dave visited. We have determined that this was most likely Portland—Spokane #12 (RC2502 in the NGS database, where it is referred to only as ARLINGTON AIRPORT BEACON).

According to Arrows Across America, it appears that there were two locations for beacon #12, the first being RC2505 and the second being RC2502 (although it is not labeled as such on the Arrows Across America website, the coordinates match the site Dave photographed).

Coordinates for this beacon site are N 45.719876°, W 120.186152°.

Dave writes:

All photos were taken August 15, 2020. It’s all kind of a jewel in the rough; I was surprised to find it all in somewhat decent condition considering the age. Arlington is kind of a sleepy town, the airport is still active but is hardly used. There is a drone company that uses it for development, I understand.

If you look closely you can see some faint numbers on the roofs of the sheds for the Portland-Spokane Airway, part of the C.A.M. 32 route. No trace of a concrete arrow could be found on the site. The airport was listed in the Dept. of Commerce listings in 1931 as a DOCILF (Dept. of Commerce intermediate landing field). It was also used as an Army Air Force auxiliary field in WW2. According to the book Arlington, Child of the Columbia by Marion T. Weatherford there was a strafing range about a mile west of town the military used for practice during the war.

“Department of Commerce intermediate field, site 12, Portland-Spokane Airway. One and one-fourth miles E. Altitude, 850 feet. Irregular shape, 2,400 feet E./W., 2,000 feet NW./SE., sod, level, natural drainage; entire field available. Directional arrow marked “12 P-S.” Pole line to N., beacon tower to NW. Beacon, boundary, approach, and obstruction lights. Beacon, 24-inch rotating, with green course lights flashing characteristic “2” (.._). Aviation fuel. No other servicing facilities. Teletypewriter. Department of Commerce marker beacon, characteristic signal “H” (. . . .), operating frequencies 248 and 278 kc.”

With the above from a 1931 source, I found the discrepancies of the ‘beacon tower to NW’ when it appears to be to the SW. Perhaps things were moved sometime in the past? The altitude on the power shed is crudely painted 877′ when the listing show 850′ (current FAA listing show 890′). I found no evidence of a ‘Pole line to N’. There are various runway markers. I did not look for approach or obstruction lights evidence.

Image captions in the gallery below give more details about the various parts of the installation.


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