Quarry on Native Lands

King's unsustainable mining project proceeds

Few are aware of Ed King’s (King Estate Winery) unsustainable investment in the Old Hazeldell Quarry mine in Oakridge. Currently forestland, TV Butte is set to be rezoned to open a quarry. Aggregate rock will be extracted from TV Butte for road paving projects for 50 years.

Once U.S. Forest Service land, the property of the proposed quarry site is known as TV Butte on Dunning Road. This is the original location of the town of Oakridge, once called Hazeldell.

Our Molalla tribal band is calling for a boycott of King Estate Winery and all investments of the King family. King has deceived the citizens of Lane County by drawing attention to the “sustainable,” “local” gimmicks of the winery, meanwhile hiring staff and legal representatives to open an unsustainable mining operation in Oakridge that will locally contribute to irreversible environmental damage and climate change.

King Estate Winery proclaims to be on the path to being the nation’s largest bio-dynamic winery, which provides Ed King a glossy green-washed cloak to lurk behind.

June 2006, Greg Demers purchased the property in partnership with Ed King. The property was purchased for $3,731,000 from Murphy Lumber, which had used the property to harvest timber since the ’70s.

Historically, the property was utilized by the Chakgeenkni-Tufti band of Molalla Indians and several other local tribes for thousands of years. Klamath, Kalapuya, Warm Springs, Wasco, including other tribes camped at TV Butte to gather foods such as camas, elk and huckleberries.

Within the proposed quarry site, it is a fact there is a trail that was frequented by tribes for at least 500 years. Ancient materials have been found on the property such as arrowheads, stone grinders and baskets. There is a known Molalla burial ground nearby.

My great-great grandfather Charlie Tufti, member of the Chakgeenkni-Tufti band, was awarded donation land claim adjacent to TV Butte in 1884. Molalla tribal member Jim Chuck-Chuck also owned land next to the proposed quarry site.

Lawrence Hills, mayor of Oakridge (1958 and ’63), built a historical marker, a cabin at Greenwaters Park off Hwy. 58 that states, “Dunning Road is an ancient Molalla Tribal site.” This information is framed with a photo of Charlie Tufti. It states Charlie Tufti was “well known in the area, gentle in nature.”

July 26 was the final meeting before the Lane County Planning Commission took place. The crowd dwindled since the previous meeting in May at the Lane County Customer Service building.  The applicant Dorian Kuper and Ed King’s attorney, Stephen Pfeiffer of Perkins Coie, sat in the front row, seeming confident the quarry project will proceed.

Hundreds of pages of new testimony and historical documentation were submitted to the planning commission, including a petition of nearly 200 citizens who are opposed to the project. Yet little acknowledgment of the proposed quarry site’s ancient historical or environmental significance was given.

Historical, cultural, natural resources and aggregate rock are Goal 5 resources under Oregon law.

Planning commission member Jason Thiesfeld expressed concern that these Goal 5 resources conflict with one another. He said though aggregate rock is considered under Goal 5, so are natural, historical and cultural resources. And that a mining operation would jeopardize natural resources such as fish, game and clean water.

Commission chair Charles Conrad concluded the meeting with remarks about Parvin Butte in Dexter. He remarked, “Five years ago I was in your spot. We’ve gotten used to it. It wasn’t as horrible as we thought it would be.”

The Lane County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the Old Hazeldell Quarry Project to the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

It has been a dehumanizing, degrading experience to have archaeological “experts” Linda Hart and Kathryn Toepel at Heritage Research Associates discredit everything factual about our tribe’s residency at TV Butte. Furthermore, to have Lane County employees treat our tribal members as if we cannot be experts on our own cultural identity and history is morbid.

The Old Hazeldell Quarry Project is a direct threat to our tribal sovereignty, cultural identity and right to defend our ancient village sites as Molalla people. Ed King’s mining project will desecrate and irreversibly damage an irreplaceable historical site to our tribe.

The Old Hazeldell Quarry mine is not an effective use of Oregon’s statewide planning goals and guidelines under Goal 5 and does not justify rezoning TV Butte from F1 and F2 forestland to quarry.

Our culture has been here for thousands of years and will continue to be here for thousands more.

The quarry has a projected 50-year life span. But our tribe and residents of Oregon will be forced to live with the damaging effects forever.

Find Boycott King Estate on Facebook or submit written comments by 12 pm Sept. 28, email Lane county Board of Commissioners: lcbcccom@co.lane.or.us OLD HAZELDELL PUBLIC MEETING: IN OAKRIDGE Oct 12th 6 pm at Oakridge High School.

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