Group prepares for Grouse Ridge hearing

NORTH BEND - Opponents of a proposed gravel mining operation along Grouse Ridge are preparing for what could be their biggest battle to date in a 5-year attempt to derail a portion of the project that would find large trucks making daily trips past two proposed schools and an already bustling business area.

That battle will be fought between international mining company Cadman Inc. and local watchdog organization Cascade Gateway Foundation, along with the operators of Edgewick Inn, on March 12 in front of the state Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Although Cadman officials see the hearing as a minor stumbling block, Cascade Gateway Foundation members are hoping it will force the project in a different direction.

"We think [Cadman and Weyerhaeuser Co.] are concerned," said Jeff Martine, president of the Cascade Gateway Foundation. "They've got a lot to lose here."

At the heart of the matter is Cadman's desire to lease land owned by Weyerhaeuser Co. that is located between Interstate 90 exits 34 and 38 and is already zoned for mining. Under the Cadman proposal, the group would process gravel mined at Grouse Ridge at a plant on the Valley floor near Ken's Truck Town. That gravel would arrive from the Grouse Ridge mining site via a mile-long conveyor belt. Cadman would also remove sand and gravel from the lower site.

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