Oregon officials, FAA hold drone roundtable in Portland - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon officials, FAA hold drone roundtable in Portland

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As drones become more and more popular, the FAA is trying to figure out how to regulate them.

So on Friday, Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Earl Blumenaur hosted a discussion to help Portlanders understand what's happening.

One of the first things that Senator Wyden admitted is that the federal government is just trying to catch up to this growing technology. Before it goes too fast, officials agree that safety is top priority.

In NE Portland, dozens of local business owners and people in aviation sat down with Wyden, Blumenaur and FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker.

It was a chance to ask questions about air space, what's legal, what's not and where the regulations are going.

Drones have caused some big scares this year. In January when an unmanned aircraft system, or UAS, crashed on the grounds of the White House, and recently when a drone came dangerously close to a news helicopter in Seattle.

Whitaker says progress with this technology is exciting for some, but scary for others.

"While I have a lot of meetings about UAS's, I also hear from others who have different concerns about UAS's like helicopter operators, crop dusters. There are very real safety issues out there that are complex that we have to navigate," said Whitaker.

There are 19,000 airports in the U.S.

Whitaker says the biggest question they're dealing with is what kind of access should the general public be allowed to have to air space.

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