Concrete plant to temporarily close; projects could face delays 8-07

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) – The largest concrete supplier in Yakima County will begin a temporary shutdown on Monday, saying it lacks the raw materials to make concrete.

The shutdown by Central Pre-Mix Concrete Co. could cause major problems for construction projects throughout the Yakima Valley – an area with strong new housing and commercial construction.

“The gravity of the issue is huge and construction projects will be affected,” said Tami Cain, operations manager for the company. “At this point, we have run out of options.”

Central’s shutdown comes two weeks after the Yakama Indian Nation issued a stop-work order at the company’s mining site northwest of Toppenish. Tribal authorities determined Central was mining gravel on property for which it did not have a permit.

Wayne Kalbfleisch, a Central vice president based in Spokane, said the company expanded mining in an adjacent area when the original site ran out of material.

The company submitted applications to Yakima County and the state Department of Natural Resources for permits to expand its mining. Kalbfleisch said both agencies allowed Central to begin mining, pending action on the permit requests.

Yakima County planning manager Steve Erickson confirmed the county was aware of the expansion.

But tribal officials plan to investigate how the expansion could affect the tribe’s water code. Bub Mills, tribal water code administrator, said the code is designed to protect all residents of the Yakama reservation and its natural resources. Tribal officials will meet with county and DNR officials to discuss processing Central’s permits.

During the shutdown, Central will lay off more than 60 workers, the majority of its work force in Yakima. The shutdown will also impact other tradesmen.

“This will slow things down or stop some projects. It will affect anyone who has a concrete pour,” said Brian McGuire, district manager for the local chapter of Associated General Contractors of Washington.

“It trickles downhill. If you can’t pour concrete, you can’t go up from there. Guys who do that work will get laid off if this goes on too long.”

Cain said customers have expressed concern about the future of their projects while the shutdown goes on.

“We want to be looked to as the ones who get things done. That is not what is happening here,” she said.

Information from: Yakima Herald-Republic,