The Airport and Motion Picture Studios of Beaverton, Oregon

January 24, 2010 in Uncategorized by jlocke

The glamorous and exciting world of motion pictures changed the face of Beaverton in 1920, when Premium Picture Productions built a movie studio near Erickson Street. Local residents frequently worked as extras or had small walk-on parts. The film company made about 15 motion pictures before it went bankrupt late in 1925.

When Premium Picture Productions closed down in 1925, the 32-acre studio site was turned into an aircraft hangar-factory. The financier behind the film venture in Beaverton was also an aviation enthusiast. Dr. G. E. Watts built Watts Airport. The hanger was on the west side of Erickson, along what is now Sixth Street. Before long, airplanes were being built and tested in Beaverton and many more pilots were using the Watts airstrip. Having outgrown the site, Charles Bernard was approached. Bernard built more wood frame hangars parallel to the what is now Cedar Hills Blvd. and the home-built airplane industry in Beaverton thrived. Bernard Airport was once known as the oldest continuously-operated airport in Oregon. On September 11, 1938 the Oregonian reported that Bernard Airport was “perhaps the busiest noncommercial airport in the United States – Beaverton – where exists the added distinction that most of the planes are amateur built.”