Del Rio Vineyards owners try to stop gravel operation expansion

Owners of Del Rio Vineyards in Gold Hill have challenged Jackson County's decision to allow expansion of a neighboring gravel operation, citing dust and odors that could contaminate vineyards.

Donald Rubenstein, Jackson County hearings officer, will conduct a public hearing on the issue at 10:30 a.m., Monday, in the Jackson County Courthouse auditorium, 10 S. Oakdale Ave.

Knife River proposes expanding the Rogue Aggregate operation on North River Road into areas zoned as woodland resource. Areas where materials are stockpiled also would be expanded as well as a conveyor system that brings rock down from the hill behind the operation.

Knife River has told the county that the proposed changes will not result in increased production of gravel.

Expansion of a conveyor system should reduce dust and engine and braking noise from trucks, Knife River said. Improved storm water retention areas should minimize runoff into ditches that empty into the Rogue River.

Del Rio owner Rob Wallace said the dust and smell from asphalt production at the gravel operation drifted into his vineyards last summer. He said this could hurt his ability to sell wine in bulk to large customers in the Willamette Valley.

"This is a very big problem," he said. "It will destroy wine grapes for this part of the valley."

— Damian Mann

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