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Commentary: As the next round of the TV Butte fight approaches, what can we expect?

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old hazeldell quarry,tv butte,rock quarry proposal,ed king,dunning road
TV Butte rises above the eastern edge of Oakridge. The mountain would be flattened one truckload of gravel at a time if turned into a rock quarry. The town of Oakridge can be seen in the background.

 

By JOHN ROSS/ for The Herald  —  Based on the available information currently in the record, the Lane County staff is unable to make a positive recommendation. It was hoped that the applicant would address missing and insufficient material, most of which was first identified in October of 2023, and then in March and April of 2024.

The applicant has been aware of ODFW concerns about major big game habitat associated with mining activity at this site since April 2021, as evidenced by the previous letters from ODFW. Staff previously recommended the Planning Commission keep the record open so that the applicant could more thoroughly address identified conflicts and propose minimization measures, if feasible, for review and further recommendation at the Planning Commission level.
The applicant’s testimony at the Planning Commission suggested that although the applicant had been aware of big game issues, they did not wish to address these issues until ODFW provided comments for this record. ODFW did so on April 16, 2024. As such, it was staff’s understanding that identified project issues, namely those associated with big game, would be addressed in a timely manner. This has not been done.
The Planning Commission will ultimately make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. Given the inadequate application and identified significant conflicts that are not minimized, the Planning Commission may choose to recommend the Board order the preparation of economic, social, environmental, and energy (ESEE) consequences of allowing, limiting, or not allowing mining at the site to accompany a draft Order for denial. Alternatively, the Planning Commission may choose to keep the record open for further deliberations and a recommendation, should the applicant agree to provide materials and a timeline extensions.”
From my analysis, the PC staff isn’t happy with the applicant’s foot-dragging cooperation and supports anything from drafting an order for denial or punting the issue to give the applicants more time to follow procedures and guidelines. I’m not sure where the opening is for taking more testimony that should address the shortcomings identified so far, not that the public will necessarily respond accordingly. You know how the American Public is. A fickle lot–inclined toward emotions rather than factual, logical, rational public comments.
  • John Ross photo

John Ross is journalist with over 10 years experience writing and editing for daily and weekly newspapers and at the wire service–United Press International. He has an MS in Ecology, specializing in spider behavior and biological control and also ran a small baking business for 20 years in the San Francisco Bay area.

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