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Opponents plan to fight quarry plans

by: Ray Pitz ROCKY FUTURE? — Jos Jacob stands on the deck of his home near the site of the proposed Poole Quarry.

SHERWOOD - A group of neighbors who oppose the construction of a rock quarry off of Morgan Road have submitted paperwork to the Land Use Board of Appeals to fight the project.

That decision comes after Clackamas County Hearings Officer Kenneth Helm approved, with conditions, what's known as the Poole Quarry.

Previously, residents of the area made it clear they objected to the 35-acre site at Tonquin and Morgan roads in rural Sherwood. Among their issues were concerns about increased noise and dust. Road damage caused by trucks and predicted lower property values are concerns as well.

'The 1000 Friends of Rock Creek are obviously disappointed by the decision to approve the conditional-use permit for the rock quarry,' said Jos Jacob, who lives next to the proposed quarry. 'On the other hand, we are encouraged by the conditions the county applied to the permit.'

He said those conditions were the direct result of work done by 1000 Friends, a group that opposes quarry construction. The cost of the group's appeal will be shared by many dozens of families through memberships to the organization.

'This strategy is now working and we have well surpassed the critical mass needed to continue our fight,' said Jacob. 'Actually, after this initial approval, it seems like people are now more determined to stop this quarry from being built and operating for the next 20 years.'

The quarry applicant is Tri-County Investments of Beaverton.

In October, more than 70 area residents, including Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden, gathered before the hearings officer to protest the planned quarry. Although almost all of Tonquin Road is in Washington County, the small sliver that encompasses the planned quarry is in Clackamas County.

Last fall, planning staff initially recommended denial of a conditional-use permit for the site, which is estimated to generate an additional 450 truck trips along Tonquin Road each day. At the time, they cited 'too many unknowns,' including questions about noise, water quality, traffic safety, vibrations, impacts on wildlife and recreation on the area.

However, in a Dec. 9 memo, Clackamas County planning staff recommended approval, saying the applicant had satisfactorily answered questions pertaining to the site.

In his Feb. 22 decision, Helm said the quarry could operate if it met a list of 38 conditions. Among them are:

> Limiting mining hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. There can be no drilling or blasting on Saturdays and mining is prohibited altogether on Sundays.

> Construction of a cyclone fence with wood slats and vegetation installed around the property along with noise mitigation berms.

> Installation of dust suppression measures to preserve air quality.

> Monitoring of groundwater. The quarry is one of five in the area known for producing a high-quality rock favored by the Oregon Department of Transportation for roadwork.