Concrete companies persuade county to request drought emergency

Lane County asks Gov. Kate Brown for drought emergency declaration.

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Lane County officials will ask Gov. Kate Brown for a drought emergency declaration.

The decision was driven by a pair of concrete companies, according to the Register-Guard.

Officials from Delta Sand & Gravel Co. and Knife River Corp. confirmed late last week they are the companies. The two firms share a roughly 330-acre property on the west bank of the Willamette River, immediately north of Randy Papé Beltline in north Eugene.

“We’re having some issues with water rights on the main stem of the Willamette (River),” [Lane County Emergency Program Manager Linda] Cook told commissioners Tuesday, “and in order for a couple of key businesses in our community to continue operating this summer, they’re going to need some special rules invoked that can only be invoked by the Water Resources Department, after the county commissioners declare a drought declaration.”

The companies fear they will lose access to the river after a record-breaking dry winter.