A proposed natural gas facility near Troutdale poses big risks to airplanes landing at the nearby regional airport - according to new modeling.

The Oregon Pilots Association is contesting the Troutdale Energy Center proposed for industrial land owned by the Port of Portland.  

The pilots say their modeling shows severe turbulence from emission plumes would threaten one in 100 flights.

The pilots’ association president, Mary Rosenblum, said the emissions would hit planes at low altitudes.   

“It is very difficult to recover that plane to level flight, without losing at least a thousand feet of altitude - at which point, you’re on the ground,” Rosenblum said. “An aerobatics pilot that performs at air shows could do it. But the majority of traffic that flies in and out of Troutdale is student pilot traffic.”    

A Port of Portland spokeswoman said the port’s own analysis found a similar “low probability” of problem turbulence. She said planes could avoid the airport’s north side.

Rosenblum responded that concentrating air traffic to the south would increase the risk of mid-air collisions over residential Troutdale.