Woody Creek residents deserve fair shake | AspenTimes.com

Woody Creek residents deserve fair shake

I join many in thanking Mick Ireland for his good column in the paper the other day (Sept. 28, Aspen Daily News).

With Mick’s understanding of numbers and concern for justice and housing, and his current Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority role, perhaps Diane’s case provides an opportunity for him, Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority, and the wider community to look at the challenges residents here in Woody Creek face: including the double-burdens of 100% free-market costs for housing and infrastructure along with the restrictions, devaluations and fees of APCHA.

This seems inappropriate, as does the governance of APCHA (not independently as a multi-jurisdictional housing organization is meant to be, but by a city which is a founding member of the IGA; and with no regard for our own locally elected and state-empowered government).

An audit of the real estate values here from 2014 through now might be interesting. Several properties sold at expected or higher (for example in the case of a home owned by an APCHA employee) values; but most sold lower, some at many tens of thousands lower, which drops the equity of the working class families selling the property and by resetting the property value at a lower number severely impairs our ability to run the metro district in the black.

When considering Diane’s case, I hope Mick considers the fact that Woody Creek is not subsidized, but is adversely impacted by devaluation, restrictions, fines and threat of eviction by APCHA.

One final note: March 2020 was an unfortunate time for APCHA to institute new fines on workers. From what I understand, Diane’s work was impacted by COVID-19, and instead of seeking public emergency financial support, she did what she could on her own to keep herself solvent; and I know she has kept up on her payments to our metro district, which goes a long way toward helping us keep the community’s lights on and water running.

Peg O’Brien

Woody Creek