County OKs rock quarry expansion

The Lyons-area Fox Valley Pit rock quarry will be allowed to expand its aggregate work area by 40 acres, Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist and Will Tucker agreed Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Commissioner Sherrie Sprenger is on vacation.

Northrock Quarry of Stayton has worked a 19-acre area for several years and wants to expand to another portion of the 98-acre property.

The commissioners held a public hearing based on a remand from the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals in late December, where. they decided to allow more written comments, plus response from the applicants for 20 days. 

Opponents expressed concern about water quality issues, but the applicants noted they have not had issues over the years they’ve operated the quarry, and the new aggregate area is farther away from the North Santiam River.

The company also noted that employees attend “weekly, monthly and annual company safety and training that consist of erosion control measures, stormwater management, riparian protection, spill prevention and cleanup, equipment operation and maintenance, as well as numerous other topics related to mining and construction.”

Commissioner Tucker said he appreciated information provided by the City of Salem, which gets its drinking water from the North Santiam River. Lacey Goeres-Priest, the city’s water quality supervisor, noted in a letter a consulting firm hired by Northrock provided additional information that “satisfactorily addresses much of the City’s initial concerns surrounding the enlargement of the mining area within the site.”

In other business: the commissioners

— Heard statistics from Linn County Health Officer Dr. William Muth, who spoke of 18,298 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 217 deaths in Linn County. Statewide, there have been 5,883 deaths. Muth said the omicron variant is dominant. Also, 54 births and 159 deaths were recorded in December.

— Learned from Accounting Officer Bill Palmer that county elected officials and department heads are managing funds conservatively. The fiscal year is halfway over and expenditures are at 40% for the General Fund, 23% for the Road Fund, 39% for the Law Enforcement Levy and 38% for the Health Department.

— Approved a subaward grant between Linn County and Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. Samaritan will pay Linn County a maximum of $60,426 to oversee the LifeSkills Training Program, substance-use disorder screenings, counseling, treatment and intervention services for rural county youth.

— Approved an agreement between Linn and Benton counties to provide Mobile Crisis Services for $20,188 per month, not to exceed $242,262 from January 1 to December 31, 2022.

— Accepted a grant of up to $1,743,505 from the Criminal Justice Commission’s Justice Reinvestment Grant Program.

— Approved an agreement between Linn County and the Oregon Health Authority to provide financing of community mental health, addiction treatment, recovery, prevention and problem gambling services from January 1 to December 31, 2022. Also approved: an agreement between Linn County and the Oregon Health Authority to provide CHOICE Model Services not to exceed $326,707. 

— Approved a contract between InterCommunity Health Network and Linn County to provide Public Health Services to Linn County such as lactation consultants, registered dieticians and newborn screenings by Registered Nurses in family homes. 

— Approved establishing a no-parking zone between milepost 0.08 and 0.13 on the east side of Tangent’s McFarland Road. Roadmaster Wayne Mink said parking in the area is creating a visibility hazard for people who live in the Ashwood Estates housing development.  

— Received three bids for the Thomas Creek-Richardson Gap Shimanek Covered Bridge Project. Bidders were: Legacy Contracting, Stayton, $2,869,908; Marcum and Sons, Redmond, $2,993,068; and Stellar J Corporation, Woodland, Washington, $3,098,999. Road Department staff will review the bids and provide the commissioners with a proposed winner at the Jan. 25 board meeting.

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer