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Less Flight Delays, More Noise

Site of new runway at Chicago O'Hare International Airport
Site of new runway at Chicago O’Hare International Airport

Chicago O’Hare International Airport opened a new runway last Thursday; but for the residents of Oasis Mobile Home Park, the new runway may mean less sleep at night.

A group called Fair Allocation in Runways (FAIR) held a protest at O’Hare last Tuesday before the runway opened.

Oasis Mobile Home Park is in Des Plaines and only eight miles from O’Hare Airport. Residents say noise from airplanes is already constant and another runway will make it worse.

The addition, which may help prevent flight delays, completed the first phase of the O’Hare Modernization Plan, managed by the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Planes flew low overhead as resident Teresa Gonzalez, 46, worked in her garden in front of her trailer. Gonzalez, a housewife and mother to her 16-year-old daughter, said the noise in a trailer is far worse compared to living in a house.

Her windows vibrate from the noise and disturb her daughter during the night. Car alarms sometimes turn on in the middle of the night from the vibrations. Gonzalez fears her daughter will have hearing problems in the future. She asked her husband to move but they can’t for financial reasons.

Abraham Martin, 70, is originally from Mexico and moved to Chicago in 1970. He has been living in the same trailer for 20 years. Martin said a few years ago the city tried to buy Oasis Mobile Home Park property because they wanted a larger airport.

“The government does not care,” Martin said. He said the trailer is not well insulated and the noise is very bad. He said Oasis Mobile Home Park is predominately Latino and many of the residents are illegal immigrants.

“Their opinion cannot matter,” Martin said.

Roger Knutson, 60, moved to Oasis Mobile Home Park 20 years ago. During his first year there, he was immediately bothered by noise from airplanes.

“I said to my wife, I don’t know how the hell you can sleep like this, ” Knutson said. His wife died a year ago and was the assistant property manager of Oasis Mobile Home Park.

In 2000, they feared losing their home to airport expansion. Knutson has been living in the same trailer for 10 years and hopes to move back to Minnesota where he is originally from.

“The noise is horrific, it’s terrible,” Knutson said.

The noise is progressively getting worse and when his grandchildren visit, he said they are scared at night and cannot sleep.

“The people building the runway do not live here,” he said. “You do not know what it is like until you live here.”

Robert Becker, research director for Congressman Mike Quigley, said Quigley, is trying to work with local residents he represents to find solutions to the noise.

Becker said Quigley is also working with the Chicago Department of Aviation to re-evaluate their noise level standards and lower them.

“We are trying to be as sympathetic as possible but also practical,” Becker said.

Mayor Brad Stevens of Rosemont, said the additional runway is a good for his community that lies between downtown Chicago and O’Hare.

“Our economy depends on the airport,” said Stephens.

He said people have to be conscious of buying property near airports. There are negative aspects to living near an airport but there are also benefits.

Stephens said, “There is good and bad but the good overpowers the bad.”

Lead Writer: Sydney Lawson
Contributing writers: Ke’yanna Johnson, Veronica Renee Rios and Michael Snydel


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