April 08, 2001 11:00 pm

By Alice Perry Linker

Observer Staff Writer

Opponents of a proposed quarry near Owsley Canyon Road said last week that more than 140 residents of Union County have signed a petition against opening the quarry.

Don Shaw, who lives on Owsley Canyon Road, has proposed mining rip rap rock on about 13 acres of his property. The Union County commissioners originally approved the proposal, despite opposition from residents along the road.

The company does not have permission to operate a rock crusher.

The approval was appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals by county resident Stephen Donnell, and the state board sent the matter back to the commissioners for clarification.

The state board ruled that the county had not adequately addressed ground and surface water, community attitudes, and physical, social, economic or environmental changes.

During a county public hearing last week, several residents of the road said that the social, economic and environmental conditions of the area would be impacted by the quarry.

Robert L. Kern, who lives on Owsley Canyon Road, indicated that the quarry would reduce property values along the road.

Devaluation of property would definitely change the economics of the area and surrounding areas, he said. A less desirable place to live.

Kern said he submitted to the county a petition opposing the quarry with more than 140 signatures.

Now with about 50 signatures of opposition last year and 141 new signatures of opposition submitted April 3, we really have community attitude on this proposal, he said.

Don Shaw submitted documents from the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Union Soil and Water Conservation District supporting the quarry. ODOT said several road projects will require riprap.

Residents also expressed concern about the countys plan to return Owsley Canyon Road to a gravel road.

The potential of excessive water runoff and the effect of the mining operation on ground water were also questioned by residents, but in a letter to the county, Shaw states that he does not expect any additional wastewater discharge from this pit because of the existing infrastructure that surrounds the site now.

The commissioners are expected to make a tentative decision on the quarrys future in May. The decision may again be appealed to the state.