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Register-Guard offers in-depth report on rock quarry battle

old hazeldell quarry,tv butte,rock quarry proposal,ed king,dunning road
King Estates winery co-founder Ed King III proposes turning 46 acres of this butte overlooking Oakridge into a gravel mine that would operate for the next 50 years.

The Register-Guard of Eugene published a comprehensive news story Sunday, May 2, on the fight by residents of Oakridge to prevent the development of a major rock quarry and gravel-crushing operation on TV Butte.

The article by reporter Adam Duvernay, coming two days before a crucial public hearing on the controversy before the Lane County Board of Commissioners, was welcomed by critics of the quarry proposal because the Eugene paper had ceased covering news of the long-running controversy in recent years. The Register-Guard became Oregon’s largest circulation daily newspaper in 2013 when The Oregonian of Portland switched to four days a week of home delivery.

Over the past six years, the county board has twice voted to approve rezoning of the scenic butte at the east edge of Oakridge from forestland to mining at the request of Eugene-area winery owner Ed King III. An Oakridge citizens group called Save TV Butte has twice appealed those approvals to LUBA, the Oregon Land Use Advisory Board, which found fault with the county’s procedures and ordered a remand hearing.

Although Save TV Butte supporters were pleased to see Sunday’s news coverage in a major print publication like The Register-Guard, they expressed disappointment that it didn’t mention the latest important development in the quarry fight. On Thursday, April 29, the Oakridge City Council voted unanimously to draft a letter to be read at the Tuesday, May 4 remand hearing, strongly opposing the county’s approval of rezoning the butte to permit the quarry. The letter, which Mayor Kathy Holston plans to read into the record Tuesday, reverses a neutral position taken five years ago by an almost completely different slate of Oakridge city councilors.

Tuesday’s hearing will be a continuance of one that began April 20. Beginning at 1:30 p.m., it will be a “virtual” public meeting, live-streamed over the Internet at bit.ly/2DTOhkz

People must register to attend the meeting. Register at bit.ly/332bD0a to get information on attending. There will be instructions during the meeting on how to comment. People also can email comments to [email protected] by noon Monday. The email subject line should include “PUBLIC COMMENT FOR MEETING DATE 05/04/2021.”

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