Linn County Commissioners OK Rock Quarry Expansion

Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist asks a question of geologist Erick Staley during Tuesday’s public hearing at the Linn County Courthouse. Photo by Alex Paul

Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker approved expansion of a rock quarry west of Jefferson during their April 30 meeting.

The Mason Quarry has operated since about 1972 and currently uses a bit less than 20 acres of its almost 61-acre site. The request was for a comprehensive plan text amendment to allow Willamette Valley Excavating LLC to use the entire site, of which about 30 acres would actually be used for material excavation.

Representatives of the company that purchased the quarry in 2022 estimate there is approximately 4.5 million tons of aggregate that should last from 10 to 20 years, depending on local construction activities.

The company’s request was approved earlier by the Planning Commission, but with some conditions: blasting would be capped at six per year, but those blasts would be smaller than a proposed three blasts per year; the company will be required to give area residents notification by registered mail at least 10 days (instead of four) before blasting, and operating hours will be set at 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays.

The company had requested operating hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The locally owned company currently has three employees on site and with expansion may add two more employees.

Nyquist was concerned about whether the expansion would create an unsightly view for neighbors and passersby, and was assured it would not. No one spoke against the proposal, nor submitted written comments against it.

In other business, the commissioners:

  • Approved a radio site agreement for the McCully Mountain radio site at a cost of $1,325.75 per month. This is for the new Fire Radio System and the cost will be shared by Linn County Fire Agencies and the Linn County Emergency Telephone Agency.
  • Approved a bid of $232,338.50 by River Bend Construction of Eugene for the Seven Mile Lane turn lane project. The county had opened seven bids, but the low bidder, Roy Houck Construction of Salem, failed to comply with bidding instructions. Its bid of $205,126 was the low bid, but was rejected due to the company’s failure to register on the county’s Planholder Registration. The county engineer’s estimate for the project was $319,287.
  • Approved participating in the Department of Revenue’s County Assessment Function Funding Assessment Program. The state grant provides funding for counties to help them come into compliance with ORS statutes and other laws requiring equity and uniformity in the system of property taxation. In Linn County, the total expenditure for consideration is $4,735,437.