Insitu’s power divides residents

As fast-growing Insitu sells more unmanned airplanes to the military, locals are mixed on their ties with the company.

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Robotic aircraft-maker Insitu Inc. employs 730 people and benefits several companies around Bingen, Wash. and Hood River.

While Insitu’s inventions were originally intended for measuring weather data and other peacetime uses, the Boeing subsidiary has shifted its strategy toward military applications, and not all local residents are happy about the change.

Organizers of the “Challenging Robotic Warfare and Social Control” conference want Hood River-area residents to rethink their close ties to the company.

“We’re all beneficiaries from Insitu,” said Trish Leighton of the Columbia River Fellowship for Peace, one of the conference organizers. “We would like for Insitu to continue as a business. There are other things they can do with their knowledge.”

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