Serving the Community as an Appointed Volunteer since 2006 for the City of Ouray in following capacities:
Community Plan Steering Committee (3-1/2 Years): Chair
2021 Ouray Community Plan download here
Planning Commissioner (10 years): Vice Chair
Hot Springs Pool Capital Improvement Committee (3-1/2 Years): Committee Member
Beautification Committee (3 years): Committee Member
Serving the Business Community as Elected Board Member Ouray Chamber Resort Association
President (2 years) Vice President (1 year)
Serving Students of Ouray Schools in Ridgway and Ouray by fundraising for the
Mt. Sneffels Marathon and Half Marathon (Major fundraising arm of the Mount Sneffels Eduction Foundation): Race Committee member (10 years) and Race Director (2 years)
Serving Ouray Ice Park
Ouray Ice Fest Volunteer Coordinator (2 years)
“MY FOCUS ON OUR COMMUNITY HAS ALWAYS BEEN BIG PICTURE, A MACRO ONE. AS A CITY OF OURAY PLANNING COMMISSIONER FOR 10 YEARS, AND SERVING ON THE JOINT PLANNING BOARD FOR MOST OF THOSE 10 YEARS, I HAVE LEARNED MUCH ABOUT THE CITY OF OURAY AND HOW OUR MUNICIPALITY WORKS. DURING THIS TIME PERIOD, I HAVE GAINED TRUST AND RESPECT BY BEING OBJECTIVE AND CONSISTENT, LISTENING, GIVING GOOD INPUT, HAVING VISION, WORKING WELL WITH OTHERS, AND BEING APPROPRIATE IN BEING COMPLIANT IN COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE PUBLIC.”
Good Attendance is Important
My attendance record is nearly perfect in all organizations that I have participated in, including the planning commission (PC) where I chaired meetings as Vice Chair when Chair was not able to attend or had a conflict of interest, and I was prepared for every meeting. My experience while serving continued through three mayors, four city administrators (including our newest one), five community development directors (including one that was a consultant), and three city attorneys.
My Focus Remains Objective
I aways must keep my personal feelings aside in decision-making, realizing that I am only one in the community of approximately 1,000 full time residents and many more that own property and/or work in Ouray.
Ouray in the Future
The City of Ouray Community Plan Steering Committee met for three years, and I participated in the process of community outreach, eventually as Chair and never missing a meeting. The City of Ouray Community Plan 2021 was created collaboratively with citizens, stakeholders, and the city. It recently was adopted and is now our guide for years forward and can be viewed and downloaded from the TRANSPARENCY tab on this website.
As a business owner that has had four businesses on two different blocks of Main Street for over the last fifteen years. I am familiar with tourist traffic flows, sidewalk issues, security challenges, drainage problems, and more. Bruce and I see a lot from the Mountain Fever Shirts & Gifts location, which is open year round and located on a busy corner that has challenges of snow removal, parking, loitering, trash, etc.
As an owner/sales rep for the recently closed wholesale distribution company, Rocky Mountain Scenics, I visited approximately 80 retail shops (including museums and large companies) from Pagosa Springs to Grand Junction on a regular basis, mostly in the summer months seeing them once or twice a month. The experience gave me a breadth of the challenges that are happening on the Western Slope as I observed and listened to business owners and residents talk about those changes (growth, parking, tourists, development, affordable housing, etc.).
Being involved in different aspects of Ouray’s make-up as a volunteer as well as owning a business where our local community can visit has given opportunity for me to engage in community concerns and news. Ouray has slowly improved throughout the 16 years we have resided and worked in the community. Infrastructure, including water and sewer issues, have been an issue for many years and upgrades have been stalled because of funding and human resource shortages. Some of the issues remain and are not being addressed presently, and others have been on the radar and in process in more recent years.
Bumps in the Road
The City of Ouray is a unique city composed of multi-faceted individuals from all walks of life and unique challenges because of its rugged geography and dramatic seasonal weather changes. New surprises (like our power outage a few weeks ago) pop up daily. BEWARE that power outages are longer because we lost back-up power lines in an avalanche a few years ago, which leaves all of us vulnerable, especially in the winter months.
Working Together with our County Commissioners
As a united front, working together with Ouray County makes our community stronger and our voices heard at higher levels. Communication with Ouray County and the communities within are key to success of the restoration of the power lines, the pandemic challenges, growth, infrastructure, county roads, and numerous other issues we have now and will have in the future.
Events for Ouray
As the president of the Ouray Chamber Resort Association (OCRA), I was able to first hand see how the organization operated and the challenges the active organization experienced by working closely with the Executive Director. During that time period, our board created the Mountain Air Music Series, Ouray County Mud Fest, continued Grillin’ and Chillin’, grew Oktoberfest, and hit the $100K+ level of the Jeep Raffle. Heavy marketing of the shoulder seasons made the Ouray economy a little more stable, and the trend continues today as we learn the lessons of capacity in the summer season.
The idea of celebrating mud was an idea I had when Ouray was desperate for off-season business, and Ouray County Mud Fest, celebrating mud, was born. This whole new idea evolved into something that hadn’t happened before in Ouray County. The idea grew into motorized events and a foot race, ending in the mud, with the intent to bring Ouray and Ridgway communities together to celebrate mud and to bring revenue to the city (where the motels are) by bringing regional visitors to our county where the fairgrounds are located. 1,400 people attended the first year and 2,500 the second. Target was 5,000 the next year and to be profitable in 3-5 years, but the reconstruction of the grandstands and area stopped the progress.
Mud Fest was a good event, but it took a tremendous amount of time that the Fairground Manager, the OCRA organization, and I could no longer put in (a year of planning). What the event also did was bring attention to a county resource that had passed obsolescence and allowed us to be a small part of its rebuild. What I learned was about capacity and integrity of venues and how important they are. The experience gave me perspective as I got to know the players (the elected and staff), and this new awareness gave me the opportunity to observe and evaluate the City of Ouray’s venues and restoration issues and the city’s vulnerability of losing the use of valuable resources because of maintenance issues. The experience gave me the desire to help create a plan to restore and protect those resources so they do not fall in disarray and can better meet the needs of the community.
The Holiday Committee was recreated in 2006 after a completely dark Christmas holiday season in 2005. As the committee grew over several years, I assisted in replacing lights on the Telluride hand-me-down garland and getting garland on the poles (17 of them). Locals would see me carrying a ladder up and down Main Street with another volunteer, wrapping the poles and plugging them in, sometimes in snowstorms. When I was invited to the Beautification Committee soon after the Holiday Committee, was formed I learned about politics and restrictions of funding projects, even when funds were in the coffers.
Light Up Ouray, a community lighting competition (awards funded by a community bank) was created to bring the community together and to bring in more winter visitors. When I approached a local bank about cash award incentives, the manager was glad to assist in the venture, which was successful for several years.
Year after year around Thanksgiving, I walked up and down Highway 550 and Main Street decorating fences and Rotary Park, a real eye opener on where improvements were badly needed (broken fences, trash, unfinished landscapes in the North Corridor of the city, and more). This gave me perspective about how the city handled repairs and didn’t enforce regulations; relied too much on volunteers that were overworked; ignored sidewalks that were failing, etc. Lack of manpower and funding during a weak economic time made everything in Ouray more difficult, and many in our community spent countless hours trying to hold up our little city.
Flowers on the light poles and commercial garland for the holidays
It was an undertaking, but in the last year I was on the Beautification Committee, we were able to work with the business community and the city for funding of beautiful flowers that line Main Street as well as purchased commercial garland with LED lighting. Over the years Main Street looks better and better because of the volunteers decorating and the city assisting in decorating the light poles.
Ouray Hot Springs Pool Improvement Steering Committee
As an at-large committee, we discussed the possibility of repairing the pool as it was or rebuilding it from the ground up. Lots of creative ideas flowed, and it was decided that a new pool in a round shape was in order. Sadly, the committee was cut loose at the end process as members waned throughout the years, and the city made some decisions that were different than our suggestions; however, we have a beautiful pool that we need to keep owned, maintained, and managed by the city.
“Serving the community has been a learning experience in every way. Bruce and I have built a life here, and it has not been easy. I’d like to make it easier for our citizens to build a life here. How? COMMUNICATION IS THE FIRST STEP! “