Blasting at a controversial quarry site east of Vancouver is winding down, and a deadline to remove material looms. It’s unclear, however, whether that deadline will be met.
Clark County hosted a forum Tuesday night, one in a series of similar meetings, that mostly centered on mining at the Livingston quarry site. A representative of J.L. Storedahl & Sons, the operator at the site, responded to questions from the audience on some long-standing issues that neighbors have had with the mining operations, including truck traffic, blasting and communication between the operator and neighbors.
The gravel mine north of Camas and east of Vancouver is divided into two sides at Livingston Mountain. Livingston Quarry is owned by the state Department of Natural Resources, which leases it to the county. Tower Rock Products, a subsidiary of Tapani Inc., owns the other side, called Livingston Mountain Quarry. The county contracts with Tower Rock to mine its side, and Tower Rock contracts with J.L. Storedahl & Sons to operate both sites.
Bo Storedahl, a representative of J.L. Storedahl & Sons, said that blasting should wrap up in the next couple of weeks. But one issue that kept coming up was a Dec. 31 deadline, part of a contract between Tower Rock and the county, for mine operators to complete all loaded truck trips from Livingston Quarry.
Storedahl said the company has “every intention” of moving rock products by the end of the year and that it is selling them “as fast as possible.” He estimated that the quarry contains 400,000 tons of rock left to haul.
But citing unforeseen market factors that could delay sales, he stopped short of guaranteeing that loaded truck trips wouldn’t continue into 2021.
“I can only move it as fast as it sells, so that’s what I’m limited to,” Storedahl said.
Neighbors who have long complained of the impact of truck traffic on the roads surrounding the mountain were not enthused.
“We just want to know when it’s going to end,” Gregory Shaw said. “That is just infuriating, honestly.”
When prompted by the neighbors, County Code Administration Director Mitch Nickolds said that the county would look into any complaints of violations.
“I agree that the lack of clarity is concerning, and we’ll do what we can,” Nickolds said.
Before an amended agreement with the county in August, Tower Rock had disputed the operating contract for Livingston Quarry since December 2017. In July, following a stop-work order by the Department of Natural Resources over management issues and questions about the previous contract’s validity, a state auditor’s report found the department had failed to adequately monitor the quarry, leading to improper handling of material.