MCMINNVILLE, Ore. — The landmark Boeing 747 airliner parked in front of the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum will go up for auction later this summer, but officials with the museum in McMinnville are determined to save it.
The plane has been there for years and is an essential piece of history, said museum board chair Wayne Marshall. He's also president of McMinnville Properties, which owns the land the museum is on.
"In 2020 when my company purchased all 300 acres of land and buildings on this campus, we discovered that the museum didn't have title to the aircraft," he said.
Marshall said the abandoned jumbo jet has been tied up in several bankruptcies, most recently the bankruptcy of the plane's current owner, a company called Jet Midwest.
"What we've had to do is figure out how we can get control of it so it can stay with the museum," Marshall said.
Marshall said the plane is like a big billboard for the museum, and that's just what museum needs now that visitor traffic is recovering to pre-pandemic levels after struggling with attendance for the past two years.
He said he does not expect to get outbid during the auction, which is set to be held in July, in part because taking the plane anywhere else would be a challenge.
"If somebody wants to write a big check, they can acquire the aircraft," he said. "They're going to have to move it. The aircraft doesn't have any engines, so it's not going anywhere."
Cindee Oback was visiting the museum on Thursday and said she does not want to see the plane go.
"I think if they're trying to save it, it should be saved," Oback said. "Don't get rid of historical landmarks."