Thank you, Aspen!
Dear Editor:Mayor Helen Klanderud taught me, “Aspen is a special and wonderful place.”I was not a naïve, thrill-seeking 20-something when I moved to Aspen in the summer of 2000. I was 38 and had plenty to compare my various life experiences to.I recently moved back home to Portland, Ore., after six and a half years living in Aspen. Some eight months later, the feelings for that special place and the good people I met there remain unchanged. I read the two local papers every morning online to stay up on what’s going on.My time in Aspen was probably one the best experiences of my life thus far. A simple thank you does not seem adequate for everything Aspen, and to be fair, the entire Roaring Fork Valley, gave me. So many good friends. So much personal and professional growth. So many adventures. So many happy memories.What makes Aspen special and wonderful? Yes, there is the amazing natural beauty of the mountains, rivers, valleys and wildlife. Yes, there is the great music scene. Yes, there are the many cultural activities and events. Yes, there are the various challenging sports and physical activities.But, what really makes Aspen special and wonderful? The people! In this age of cynicism, it sounds kind of dorky, I know, but true. I will never forget the great people of Aspen and the entire Roaring Fork Valley. These good people contributed to my life more than any words I could muster to express my appreciation.There are the many good, personal friendships, and because they are personal, I will not mention names. They know who they are and what they mean to me.There is also the professional life. I spent six and a half years working for the city of Aspen and with Pitkin County and the Housing Authority as a project manager for affordable housing and capital projects. Wow, what a ride!The citizens of Aspen and Pitkin County should, if they do not already, know that the folks who work for the city of Aspen, Pitkin County and the Housing Authority are some of some of the most competent, motivated and well intentioned public servants that I have had the pleasure to work with. They have a tough job, but I know they will continue to serve their community admirably.Yes, mayor, I agree. Aspen is a special and wonderful place. Once again, thank you, Aspen, for everything you gave me.Troy RayburnPortland, Ore.
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The Roaring Fork Valley has, by-and-large, avoided the mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle infestations that have decimated parts of the state. However, a 2019 aerial survey showed the Roaring Fork watershed has an outbreak of Douglas-fir and western balsam beetles.