CalPortland seeks approval to expand Oregan mine

CalPortland has applied for a zone change of agricultural land it owns to allow surface mining in Columbia County, Oregon.

The Columbia County Board of Commissioners will deliberate next month on whether to approve a major map amendment and rezone 153 acres of primary agriculture land off Honeyman Road, near the Bates Roth mining site, for surface mining.

The site is often referred to by some longstanding city residents as the “bible college” site, because it was bequeathed to a bible college years ago before being sold to CalPortland. The land was never developed.

The rezone request came from Northwest Aggregates, better known as CalPortland, which currently operates a gravel pit on the north end of Scappoose, across from farmland off Honeyman Road.

Company representatives said the land would serve as an extension of current nearby gravel mining operations. An estimated 85 percent of that gravel is shipped by barge outside of the county, with the rest being transferred by truck, Tom Lowry, a geologist and permit manager for CalPortland.

If the zone change is approved and the company is allowed to expand its mining operation, CalPortland would extract material and use a conveyor belt to transport it under Honeyman Road to the nearby processing plant.

“The aggregate industry has been one of the economic mainstays of Columbia County for a long time,” Bob Short, a representative for CalPortland, told commissioners Wednesday during a public hearing.

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