McMINNVILLE, Ore. (KOIN) — The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is one of Yamhill County’s main visitor attractions, but it’s taking a hit because many people confuse the for-profit business with the non-profit museum.
Evergreen International Aviation — the for-profit business –filed for bankruptcy in 2013. Across the street is the non-profit museum, which is separate and remains open for visitors.
The museum, the home of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, brings in more than 150,000 visitors each year. Larry Wood, the museum’s director, said there is no danger the museum will close.
“We’re in a bit of a struggle,” Wood said,” but we’re going to be just fine.”
But the museum does have issues aside from getting more visitors to come. The Oregon Department of Justice is investigating whether there was co-mingling of funds between the non-profit museum and the for-profit business.
And the museum operations, which include a theatre and a water park, owe Yamhill County more than $1 million in back taxes.
“Instead of looking at the assessment tables and seeing how big the bill is, we need to take a look at the bigger picture and see the value to the community, which I think is very high,” Yamhill County Commissioner Allen Springer told KOIN 6 News.
As for Evergreen International Aviation, the attorney general’s investigation and bankruptcy proceedings continue.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.