Doug and Mitchell Jorgensen grew up working at their family's business. The company, now called Molalla Redi-Mix and Rock Products, Inc. — MRM for short — was founded by their father, who started by purchasing a single dump truck and hauling for hire for various customers in and around Molalla and surrounding areas.
Over time, the Jorgensens moved out of the city of Portland to the town of Molalla, where they began expanding their business, little by little.
"My father bought another dump truck and in 1976 he took on a small, old mining site in Molalla," said Doug. "We purchased a small crusher and old off road trucks and started mining with an old Northwest shovel."
With the new equipment in-house, the company was able to make four finished products at the site, while its dump trucks were frequently used to deliver material to customers. Contractors came to the property personally to pick up material too.
Soon, the opportunity arose to expand the business yet again.
"After a few years, we purchased a used Redi-Mix plant and hired someone who had a lot of experience to set it up and teach us how to operate it," Doug told NAQN. "We bought three old concrete trucks and started producing concrete right away."
The addition of the new plant prompted the family to add Redi-Mix to their corporation's name and, ultimately, concrete became one of the core products made there.
MRM went on to finish off the first hard rock pit and in 1986 the entire outfit was relocated to a second property near the Molalla River, a parcel of land filled with "wet" material. Because the company's first pit was a quarry site, its owners were forced to purchase new equipment, including a reconditioned rock washing plant and a rock crusher that was erected on the property as a permanent structure.
"Five years later we were crazy enough to have purchased three DW21 cable-drawn earth movers, which made us one of a few people to still use machines like them in the U.S.," said Doug. "We washed all of the rock and sand, processed it and made 10 products at that location."
With the new operation up and running smoothly, the Jorgensens turned their attention to their concrete division. The old Redi-Mix plant was torn down and a used SPOMAC plant was put up in its place, setting MRM up for many years of steady production. According to Doug, everything from concrete and crushed materials to sand and topsoil was being made during the time period.
Doug and Mitchell purchased the company's assets from their father in 1997. A short time after that they exhausted the rock supply at the same location, finished out the company's contract and then prepared for the land reclamation.
"The site covered about 50-acres and we were there until 2000," noted Doug. "We ended up purchasing an 18-acre piece of land that was zoned only for residential acreage. We were going to move our entire operation, but we had to go through rezoning and deal with some other (legalities) first, which took more than three years to get under control."
On June 1, 2007, the first 7.5-acres of the newly acquired land in Molalla were under development. A 3,600-square foot office was built for the concrete division — a vast improvement compared to the 22- X 30-foot building the company had been using. A new Belgrade concrete plant was also erected, with all the externals and internals being new.
The plant was delivered between December and January, Doug explained. "The SPOMAC was on a rental piece of property in the city, so this was an entirely new development," he said. "In March '07 we started construction on the pad to put the plant on. The whole facility is on about 5-1/2-acres."
According to Doug, the Belgrade system works well for MRM in the commercial and residential use areas. "We spend an awful lot of time in Portland, primarily in the south side of Portland," he said. "The nature of the beast is to run all over."
MRM runs the batch plant using an Eagle computer system. "It has a Command Batch/Eagle System," Doug said. "It takes all of the drivers out of the batch process completely. It's all down to one batch master.
"We can keep track of the customer data base. We can keep track of each job — the amount going to each job, truck timing, accurate batch processing," he added. "It took away the variables we used to have and can produce a lot faster now. Life's a lot easier with the batch processor. It centralizes the control of the batching process."
Doug has plans to take on excavation, earthmoving and site development projects in the future. He has already managed a handful of smaller jobs over the years using a small fleet of excavators, dozers and graders, and believes that the work is a natural extension of their business. "We have seven mixers, two belly dumps, three dump trucks and a host of excavation equipment," he said. "As rock miners for years, we have been into excavation. At my own site, I did the whole job and built the infrastructure for our plant by my own design."
As they move forward, one concept at the forefront of their minds is sustainability. In 2000, MRM won an award from the Oregon Department of Geological Mining Industries (DOGAMI) for a reclamation project completed in 1997.
"That was quite an honor," said Doug. "We worked very hard to divide the acreage into three individual cells. We added a natural water channel that fed into a pond, made banks, fishing dock, wetlands, rock formations and planted the entire area with special trees and grasses, turning it into a nature area."
As the Jorgensen brothers look to the future, they are searching for even more ways to incorporate green practices into their operation. The truck wash-out system that will soon be installed at MRM will be tied into a retention pond, thus conserving the amount of water used for cleaning. A Redi-Mix Concrete Association "Green Stamp" could potentially be given for the system.
With the batch plant in place, Doug Jorgensen sees MRM as ready to tackle their light commercial and industrial core clientele — fast food restaurants, shop buildings, manufacturing buildings.
"We're in a bad spot in the economy, but we're positioned correctly for when the economy comes back," he explained. "At this given time, our biggest job is working on an apartment complex. But positioning is everything, and that's where we're at. On our location, we have 100 percent new infrastructure — new office building, new sewer, new storm drainage, new electric. We cleared the ground and away we went.