Grouse Ridge DEIS released

NORTH BEND — With residential and commercial development

on the rise in the Eastside, the demand for gravel and concrete has also


For that reason Cadman Inc., a supplier of gravel, sand, quarry

rock and ready-mix concrete, has proposed a gravel pit on Grouse Ridge in

North Bend.

The North Bend Gravel Operation project, if approved, would be

located on two sites of Weyerhaeuser-owned land situated between Interstate

90's exits 34 and 38. The operation's neighbors include the Woodriver

development, a Buddhist compound, the Seattle East truck stop and

several homes.

Cadman will lease the property for the 25-year life of the project.

Then, the approximately 300 acres of land will be donated to Mountains to

Sound Greenway, an organization that has been preserving property along the

I-90 corridor.

Now, the project is one step closer to reality with the recent release of

the project's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS lists

four alternatives for consideration.

"Between King County and Cadman, we wanted to make sure

we explored different options so that neighbors and residents could

see what all of the different options and impacts were," said Robin

Hansen, Cadman's chief project manager.

The first alternative would result in no sand or gravel mining. The

land could continue to be used for tree harvesting. This alternative would

still have noise, dust and traffic impacts associated with the timber industry.

The second alternative is Cadman's preferred option. The

plan consists of two separate excavation sites, referred to as "upper"

and "lower." The lower area takes up 33 acres and is located east of the

Seattle East truck stop.

The lower site will be mined for five years, then turned into a

processing center for the gravel excavated from the upper site on Grouse

Ridge. Gravel would travel to the lower site on a conveyor system more than a

mile long. In addition, new wells and a freshwater storage pond are

planned to meet the project's water needs. A pipeline would be installed along

the conveyor system to transport the water.

This plan is not expected to have many unmitigatable impacts,

according to the DEIS. The project could possibly affect the area's water

quality and wildlife habitat. There's also a probability that the gravel pits will

be visible from a higher vantagepoint.

Alternative three is similar to the second plan but the conveyor

system would not be built. Instead, trucks would transport the gravel from

one site to another using exits 34 and 38. This plan would also implement

the use of an existing logging road that leads to the fire-training academy.

This alternative is expected to have similar impacts to the second plan.

"We don't think [that alternative three] is an environmentally

friendly option," Hansen said. She is

concerned that if trucks were forced to use the logging service road it would be

unsafe and could possibly harm the environment. The road runs through

an owl conservation area and is near Ollalie, Twin Falls and Iron

Horse parks.

The fourth alternative would allow the upper site to be mined;

however, the lower site would be left undeveloped.

The alternatives are a result of two years' worth of planning and

studies. Since the project was proposed, Cadman has been busy

conducting many environmental studies.

"We've started this out different than every other gravel pit,"

Hansen said. "We did every environmental study first and we actually

designed the entire project before we went in for an application."

While the experts were conducting studies, neighbors were

forming organizations to protest parts of the project.

Jeff Martine is the president of one of the groups called the Cascade

Gateway Foundation. The members mainly oppose the lower site because Exit

34 would be used, generating approximately 900 truck trips per day.

The lower site is also a bit too close to an aquifer for the group members'


"They should forget the lower site. Only 5 percent of the gravel is in

the lower site and 95 percent of the opposition is with the lower site,"

Martine said. "So why choose that one?"

Hansen said that she welcomes comments about the lower site or

any other issue concerning the project. Now that the formal comment

period is underway, this is the best opportunity to state official concerns about

the project.

"We want to make sure that when we do start mining that we are

incorporating all of their concerns in the business," she said, adding

that Cadman is forming a community advisory group that would exist for

the duration of the project.

The public comment period usually runs 30 days, but Cadman

has extended it to 60 days. Written comments on the project, its

alternatives, impacts and mitigational measures

are due on Aug. 14 and can be mailed to Gordon Thomson, EIS Project

Manager, Current Planning Section, King County DDES, 900 Oakesdale

Ave. S.W., Renton, WA 98055.

In addition, a public meeting on the DEIS will be held from 5 to 8

p.m. on July 11 at Mount Si High.

Copies of the DEIS can be reviewed at local libraries and are

available at Cadman's office in Seattle East, off of Exit 34. Office hours are 10

a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday or by appointment. For more

information or an appointment, call (425) 961-4346.

The DEIS can also be viewed on the county's Web site


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