Sultan gravel pit dead for now

By Leslie Moriarty

Herald Writer

SULTAN — A proposed gravel operation off the Sultan Basin Road northeast of Sultan won’t be going forward anytime soon.

Doug Sutherland, state commissioner of public lands, said Thursday the Department of Natural Resources has decided not to sell the mining rights to the Powerhouse gravel site until Snohomish County completes its land use planning process.

"After looking at all the information and options, I think the best solution for the near term is to be patient," Sutherland said. "We don’t want to get ahead of Snohomish County, which is working on a land-use plan.

"In addition, the public and the city of Sultan have made it clear that they need to work with the state and county transportation departments and look for ways to improve U.S. 2."

The announcement was met with relief by many in Sultan.

Councilman Mark Raney, who led the fight against the proposed gravel mine, was pleased.

"It does look like we’ve won," Raney said. "We are truly overjoyed that the Department of Natural Resources has abandoned its plan to sell mineral rights in Sultan for a massive gravel pit."

Mayor C.H. Rowe said he thinks it is in the public’s best interest.

"It gives us all time to take a deeper look at the proposal and determine if it is something that should happen," Rowe said.

He said the city and the county need the time to make sure that improvements are made to U.S. 2 and the intersection of U.S. 2 and Sultan-Basin Road to handle truck traffic the gravel mine would generate.

The proposal called for DNR to auction the rights to mine gravel on a 350-acre site near 116th Street SE and Sultan Basin Road that borders the Sultan River and Winters Creek.

DNR is the steward of 103,000 acres of state trust lands and about 17,300 acres within three Sultan Basin natural resources conservation areas.

Community activist Loretta Storm called the decision by DNR a realistic one.

"We feel it was the only realistic decision they could have made, considering the insurmountable obstacles inherent in permitting, extracting and transporting the gravel," Storm said.

Residents protested the project earlier this year when they first heard about it because of environmental and traffic concerns. It was estimated that as many as 200 gravel trucks would travel the route daily.

Several public meetings were held by DNR and city officials in the spring.

"This will allow us to step back and look at potential gravel sales in Snohomish County, as well as throughout the state, in a more comprehensive way," Sutherland said.

Once the county has completed its plan, DNR will come back with a new proposal and a full public process, he said.

Public notification on the original sale was an issue for residents, who said they were not appropriately notified.

It was determined that the notification sent by DNR to the city was not publicly posted. DNR then slowed the process and gave residents more time to comment and become familiar with the proposed sale.

Snohomish County is working on amending its comprehensive plan as a part of the state’s Growth Management Act. That is expected to take up to a year.

Jane Chavey, spokeswoman for DNR, said that means the Powerhouse project probably won’t be looked at again, if at all, until September 2002.

You can call Herald Writer Leslie Moriarty at 425-339-3436

or send e-mail to

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mel Jennings sits in his structure during a point-in-time count of people facing homelessness in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Mel has had a brain and spinal surgery, and currently has been homeless for a year. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Annual homeless count aims to give snapshot of housing crisis

Volunteers set out into the rain Tuesday to count all the people facing homelessness in central Everett.

Catherine Berwicks loads ballots into a tray after scanning them at the Snohomish County Elections Ballot Processing Center on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Everett, Wa.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Lawmakers push to boost voting in county jails across the state

A House bill envisions an approach similar to what’s been happening in the Snohomish County Jail for several years.

Vandalism at Seaview Park on Jan. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Edmonds Police Department)
Police seek suspects in repeated vandalism at Edmonds parks

Vandals have done over $10,000 of damage to parks across the city, including suspected arson and graffiti with hate speech.

One worker looks up from the cargo area as another works in what will be the passenger compartment on one of the first Boeing 787 jets as it stands near completion at the front of the assembly line, Monday, May 19, 2008, in Everett, Wash. The plane, the first new Boeing jet in 14 years, is targeted for power on in June followed by an anticipated first flight sometime late in 2008.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing workers long-exposed to carcinogen far above legal limits

The company confirmed in depositions that parts of its Everett plant still don’t meet 2010 standards.

CarlaRae Arneson, of Lynnwood, grabs a tea press full of fresh tea from Peanut the server robot while dining with her 12-year-old son Levi at Sushi Hana on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. CarlaRae said she and her son used to visit the previous restaurant at Sushi Hana’s location and were excited to try the new business’s food. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Peanut the robot waitress is on a roll at Lynnwood’s Sushi Hana

She’s less RoboCop and more Rosey as she patrols the restaurant, making sure everyone has a drink and good time.

A big head Buddha turns to the crowd during a celebration of the Lunar New Year on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in downtown Edmonds, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lunar New Year celebrates the Year of the Rabbit

A celebration in Edmonds ushered in the Lunar New Year.

Rep. Kim Schrier speaks with Regional Manager Susan Rushing about a room designated for serving homeless veterans during a visit to the new VA Puget Sound Health Care System Everett Clinic on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New VA clinic in Everett already has 5,300 patients

U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier toured the new center Friday, where veterans can get primary care and a growing list of specialty services close to home.

A white lane line juts out of place along I-5 northbound through Everett on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Wonky I-5 lane striping in Everett to get temporary refresh

During weekend work, contractor crews are slated to try to repaint northbound temporary lane striping past 41st Street.

Senator Patty Murray listens to students share their experiences with financial aid during a roundtable meeting to discuss access to higher education and Pell Grant increases Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett college students press Murray to boost financial aid funding

In a sitdown with the senator, they shared how Pell grants and other aid made it possible for them to attend college.

Most Read