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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
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
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
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
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
"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