Rock pit is cleaning up its act, says State Lands Department

The Oregon Department of State Lands determined a Central Point rock pit operator has made substantial progress in clearing up environmental violations.

Jackson County commissioners have told owners of Rock 'N' Ready Mix that the state needed to officially say the company is resolving violations before expansion plans can proceed on a 350-acre parcel off Blackwell Road.

"At this point, Rock 'N' Ready has paid the $1,800 civil penalty and has provided evidence that the appropriate vegetation has been planted in the designated location adjacent to Bear Creek consistent with the accepted mitigation plan," stated the State Lands letter.

Rock 'N' Ready Mix was cited for 11 violations by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and State Lands for violations that included digging a pit deeper than allowed by permits, placing fill into the creek channel, filling in wetlands, providing inadequate storm water control and pumping groundwater that could have an effect on neighboring wells.

J.F. Shea in Redding, Calif., one of the largest privately owned companies in the U.S. with more than $3 billion in revenues annually, became part owner of the gravel operation three years ago.

Commissioners, who met to discuss Rock 'N' Ready Mix's proposed expansion Wednesday, delayed making a decision until 1:30 p.m. June 13 at the Jackson County Courthouse auditorium, 10 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford.

After reviewing the letter from State Lands, County Planner Mike Mattson said, "They have made substantial compliance."

The proposed expansion represents a significant supply of high-quality rock, with tests indicating up to 4 million cubic yards available, he said.

Todd Sadlo, a Portland attorney representing Rogue Aggregates, presented a recent letter from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries that had a list of 38 problems that still need to be resolved at the Rock 'N' Ready Mix site. KRC of Bismarck, N.D., is the parent company that owns LTM and Rogue Aggregates.

The letter raised questions about sufficient setbacks from Bear Creek, wetlands concerns and problems dealing with storm water, among other issues.

Commissioners reviewed the letter, but decided not to admit it into the record because their meeting dealt specifically with the State Lands letter.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or

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