Lost Valley Educational Center in Dexter is having its annual open house Sept. 8, and this year the proceeds will benefit both Lost Valley and the fight to save nearby Parvin Butte. Lost Valley is a learning community that hosts courses, workshops, events, a conference center and the Meadowsong Ecovillage residential community. The Lost Valley Fest starts at 4 pm and will feature music by the Conjugal Vistors, tours and treats. See lostvalley.org for directions.
The Dexter/Lost Valley Community (DLVC) continues in its fight to save scenic Parvin Butte. On Aug. 25 Lane County Hearings Official Gary Darnielle approved the site review permit for Lost Creek Rock Products, a company associated with Greg Demers and Norm and Melvin McDougal. The permit allows the gravel mine that seeks to remove more than 400 feet from the 600-foot butte to continue its mining operation with some conditions. The conditions include: allowing the hauling of rock from 7 am to 6 pm every day except Sunday; if the aggregate being hauled is visibly dusty then watering it; and 60 one-way truck trips are allowed each day.
Originally Lost Creek Rock Products argued that it did not need to a get a site review at all, but the hearings official previously ruled site review was needed if mining activity occurs in the 200-foot buffer around the mine. Site review allows neighbors some input on the explosions, dust and truck traffic that accompany a gravel mine.
The site review permit deals with hauling via Shafler and Rattlesnake roads through the rural community, but Lost Creek has also applied for a bridge permit for hauling the gravel that the DLVC is fighting due to concerns including the effects the bridge could have on the salmon-bearing stream it would cross. Attorney for the DLVC Dan Stotter says of the bridge, “They say they’re not going to use it but want to keep it in their back pocket.”
An appeal of the site review permit must be filed in 12 days, Stotter says. He says he thinks the mine operators will find the site review conditions “onerous.” He says the next step is that the hearings officer has a chance to reconsider, then the Board of Commissioners decides whether to hear the appeal or affirm the decision.
If affirmed the case would then move to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). Stotter says the case is up against a 120 day time limit and if the Lane County board delays making a decision the case would then go to the Circuit Court, but Stotter calls that sort of delay “unscrupulous” and says, “I think the board will do a fast-track review and affirm and go to LUBA.”
Darnielle writes in the conclusion to his site review decision: “Clearly the site review process, as interpreted in this decision, does not provide the protection expected by most of the community,” and points out the decision is an expression of “what the hearings official believes is the scope of the law as it applies to the proposed mining operation.” Darnielle urges Lost Creek Rock Products to make good on its offer to meet with residents about their concerns as “it is good business to minimize friction with the community within which one does business.”
For more info on the Lost Valley Fest email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Facebook event page at wkly.ws/1ck