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Have asphalt, will travel

ASHLAND - A paving contractor has purchased a portable asphalt plant to gear up for predicted development and planned road building in Jackson County.

Mountain View Paving President Paul Meyer says producing his own asphalt will also allow him to bid more competitively on projects. He now buys some of his asphalt from companies that also are in the paving business. He recently bought the portable plant from the state of Wyoming.

Projections show Eagle Point growing by 41 percent, White City by 34 percent and Central Point by 25 percent over the next 10 years, according to Mike Cavallarro, director of the Rogue Valley Council of Governments. Streets for new homes and major roads renovations will need the asphalt.

"Road building for the next five years is going to boom," said Anna Kemmerer with the Medford office of Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality. She handles permits for aggregate and asphalt operations.

Cavallarro says growth figures for cities will probably be projected upward based on the latest census data. Under current estimates, Eagle Point will increase from 4,797 to 6,800 residents, Central Point from 12,500 to 15,700, Medford from 63,154 to 73,000 and White City from 5,466 to 7,346.

Major road projects include the north and south Medford freeway interchanges, improvements to Highway 238 in northwest Medford and Siskiyou Boulevard reconstruction in Ashland, says Dan Moore, RVCOG planning program manager for transportation and land use.

"Portable plants are the thing of the future," said Meyer. "The thing here is it cuts down on trucking. You're closer to your job site."

The equipment can be moved on four large trucks. A 50-foot conveyor is the largest piece. No other component exceeds 28 feet. The plant can set up in a 100-by-100-foot space in four hours.

Meyer initially will operate the plant at Howard DeYoung Sand and Gravel, 1036 Valley View Road, Talent. The site has land-use permits that allow the plant's operation. It will be moved to other aggregate operations in the Rogue Valley to be closer to job sites.

"We've geared our company toward projects under 600 tons," said Meyer. These include small city street projects, 40- to 50-unit apartment complexes, driveways and small commercial parking lots.

The plant's maximum capacity is 600 tons per day. The firm uses less than 150 tons of asphalt per day. They used 18,000 tons of asphalt during 2000. The Ashland-based company has 14 employees.

Meyer has applied for an Oregon Department of Environmental Quality air contaminant discharge permit to operate the plant in Jackson County.

"DEQ has permitted (portable plants) in a number of other locations," said Kemmerer.

The agency will hold a hearing if comments are received from 10 people or more. The comment period ends on June 11.

The permit would be good for five years at any location allowed under county land-use standards. An applicant usually receives a permit within a week or two after the comment period closes, said Kemmerer. Monitoring and testing procedures will be required in the permit.

Mountain View's permit would allow 72,000 tons of asphalt production per year. LTM's plant on Kirtland Road in Central Point is allowed to produce 348,000 tons per year.

Reach Ashland bureau reporter Tony Boom at 482-4651, or e-mail

Have asphalt, will travel