As many readers will remember, the magnificent Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon has endured significant turmoil in recent years due to missteps by its late founder Del Smith, whose business empire collapsed in 2014. The labyrinthine relationships between the corporate and non-profit sides of his operations have taken years to unravel, and involved numerous court cases.
Home of the Hughes H-4 ‘Spruce Goose’ and many other rare and beautiful aircraft, the museum parted with a significant number of its WWII-era warbirds, including among them a B-17G Flying Fortress, FG-1D Corsair, Me 109G, P-38 Lightning and others, in an attempt to unload some of the debt. However, the museum still found itself struggling when another individual who’d stepped in to ‘save’ the institution following Smith’s death also ended up in bankruptcy court, along with a cloud of other allegations, in September, 2018. Thankfully, however, we are happy to report that another businessman has stepped in to give the museum surer footing. While the museum is owned and operated by a non-profit, the property where it resides now belongs to Bill Stoller’s McMinnville Property Ltd., following their $9.5million purchase in a bankruptcy liquidation sale. According to his statements, Mr.Stoller is keen to see the museum thrive, and is looking to preserve its long-term future, which is hopefully a sign of great things to come!