Guest Report from Travis “Buck” Kingman III

View From the Pagosaw Saloon

Thoughts on Pagosa’s Reservoir Hill

I was over to the Pagasaw Saloon last night in Pagosa
Springs, Colorado, getting a little hair off the dog that bit me the night
before and come across a some guys that was talkin bout that Reservoir Hill
project there in town. They was sayin how in the old days, that hill was
witness to a lota courtin and in fact, there was the beginins of a lotta  families up there. Seems back then it was a
handy place where a guy could take his girl fer a look at the stars and the
twinkling lights of town. They said under the ether of that view, and with the
help of a little Boon’s Farm Strawberry Hill, or a snort or two of Mad Dog
20/20, an ole boy could sometimes get well beyond first base with his gal. Outa
that, The Hill (that’s what they used to call it) kinda became a place that
stuck in their minds as special, beins what got conceived up there, so that’s
one of the reasons some folks is against changin it.

Anaway-some other fellars in the bar was sayin there’s secret
government plan underway to transfer the alien community from Archuleta Mesa up
there to The Hill and nobody’s supposed to know. That got me thinkin. I seen a
lot of them blacked out SUV’s with no plates on em when I was in town earlier
in the year. And, when I was movin cattle off DeRosset’s place up next to the
top of the Mesa a couple years back, I seen them Black Ops guys on the back of
his ranch and they run me outa there. They said they was patrolling the area in
their Humvees for the Injuns, but they didn’t look like no Injuns. They had
black military gear on and wasn’t none too polite in escorting me outta there. Guys
I know out there twixt the San Juan River and Montezuma sez there’s been some
recent animal mutilations, including a horse that ended up with weird tattoos
and fishing tackle pierced onto its face. They think them alien fellars are
getting stirred up again like they did when that guy tried to develop the
Archuleta Mesa Ranch ten years back.

Apparently there’s a group of folk comin to the Town
Meetings fightin the move by Disneyland to put PagosaWorld up there. Buford,
the one drinker in there with a real bad case of stink breath sez those Disney
folks are determined to get that park built up there and have even brung in
George Lucas, that fellar that done Star Wars to negotiate with the aliens down
there other side of Edith. Supposedly he was joined by some high powered
attorney outa Dallas by the name of Rosey that’s gonna be sure Disney gits what
it wants. He and Lucas is supposed to give them alien beings some jobs at the
park and in his next movie if’n they agree to keep their underground city
inside Archuleta Mesa.

This gal who was sittin two stools down from me heard us
talkin and she offered her two cents worth. She said she been there for 30
years and she seen them aliens more than once, even before she was sent to
detox. Seems she wuz out trappin fer pelts on the Mesa early one winter and
come across a big ole burn hole up in the trees. She said this creepy looking
thing with a big head and no hair on em come up outta that hole and squeeked
sumpin to her in some alien tongue. She got so scared she ran down the other
side of the Mesa and kept running til she got into Dulce. She said the Tribal
police refused to help her and she never went out there again. She said her husband,
Clovis went out there to check things out and never returned. She filed a
missin person report and nobody ever followed up. She’s thinkin if they do move
them aliens to Reservoir Hill, her husband may show up again, though she said
she might not recognize him.

Another gal in there by the name of Faylene sez the real
reason folks is against fixin things up on The Hill is cuz some of them
newcomers got some wacky tobacky plants growin up there. Seems they dropped a
big long extension chord they plugged in to put growin lights in to keep them
pot plants a growin. Faylene sez she seen those people in the Farmers Market and
the Folk Festival sellin their crops and they is the same ones that show up at
the public meetings speakin out against any development on The Hill.

Finally, another fellar named Cooter chimed in with his
opinion on why some folks is against putting anything up on The Hill. Cooter
sez it’s all about keepin some endangered wildlife species protected. According
to him there a rare kinda miniature skunk that makes its home up there and The
Hill is one of the few places that skunk is reproducing. The animal protection
folks is trying to get The Hill designated as a National Monument to the Rocky
Mountain Dwarf Skunk and they are expecting President Obama to declare it so,
just as he done fer Chimney Rock. Accordin to Cooter that tiny skunk packs a
mighty wallop of stink, unlike any other skunk. He sez the Injuns thowed him
into the Pagosa Hot Springs way back when, and that’s how they got the smell
them springs got. (A former owner of them springs always told me it was the
smell of money.)

After hearin all these stories I realized things ain’t right
in Pagasaw. Maybe after a couple more Jacks and branch water things will look
better. That’s the View from the Pagasaw Saloon-

See ye all next time I’m in town-

Travis “Buck” Kingman III

WHO OWNS PAGOSA?

With the current controversy swirling around Wal-Mart’s plan to build a store here in Pagosa Springs, some of the opinions stated in Letters to the Editor as well as the public forums have centered on “ownership” of Pagosa Springs. Some residents whose families have lived here for several generations claim the area belongs to them. Some of these residents have shared their discomfort with more recent arrivals that they perceive as wanting to change Pagosa to their vision of an ideal small town. Others that have lived here only ten years or so claim their “ownership” is more important than others and that their wisdom regarding what a future Pagosa should look like is more enlightened than anyone else’s view. It has been interesting to observe the various opinions and perspectives. I am sorry to say that much of this has become somewhat divisive, which is not good.

Because I do a lot of research of county records to identify and stay ahead of the changes in our local economy, I thought it would be interesting to look into who really “owns’ Pagosa, at least as far as its real estate is concerned.

Did you know that less than half the property on our tax rolls is owned by “Locals”? According to the County Assessor, there are 18,952 properties here in Archuleta County.   58% of the properties in our county are owned by “non-residents”.  These “non-residents” make up a large percentage of the total property tax revenue collected by Archuleta County to fund the goods and services provided to residents of our community. County records indicate only 8,032 of the properties on the assessor’s rolls are owned by people that reside in Archuleta County. A total of 10,418 or 55% of our county’s properties are owned by residents of the State of Colorado. 264 of the properties are owned by folks living in Durango, with another 107 owned by residents of Denver and 79 properties owned by residents of Colorado Springs.

Texas continues to be a big state for Pagosa Area property owners. As of the start of this year there were 2,100 properties owned by residents of Texas, representing about 11% of the properties in the County. I know from our internal records that 2010 and 2011 saw a large number of Texans acquiring property here for the first time. Their economy has remained relatively strong through the recession and they have not experienced the real estate melt-down following years of high levels of appreciation that impacted so many other states.

Nearly an equal number of properties are owned by residents of California and New Mexico, 1,243 and 1,246 respectively. This ratio has changed from ten years ago when New Mexico had significantly more Archuleta County property owners than California. Arizona residents own 949 properties here in Archuleta County. The breakdown of ownership states after Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona is pretty spread out, except for the state of Florida. Presently there are 555 properties owned by residents of the State of Florida. Oklahoma is the next concentration of ownership with 336 properties.

As I looked over the ownership records I realized that Pagosa belongs to lots of people from many different places, with various backgrounds, and a variety of different viewpoints. Much like America as a whole, Archuleta County represents a variety of stakeholders, each important and significant in their own way. From my experience, each adds something to our community, and each is entitled to a voice in how we shape our future.

Presently, the political system and voting structure within the state, county and town determine how much of a voice a property owner and/or resident may have on many matters. Still, even those stakeholders that presently do not have a vote do have a voice. There are members of our Town and County leadership and government that are interested in the opinions of those that have made a financial investment in the area though they do not presently have a vote.

In my opinion,  “Outsiders” bring a perspective to the residents that can be beneficial. Occasionally the residents of the forest can’t see their trees are diseased or in need of a different forest management plan. “Outsiders” can bring a viewpoint not infected by old history or prejudices that can impair the vision needed to move towards a successful future. Instead of the “Us vs. Them” perspective, it would be more productive to think how we can all work together to address the challenges facing our community.

Check the links below for interesting articles on America’s largest landowner: America’s Largest Landowner

For more information on “ownership” of Archuleta County, or any real estate related matter, give me a call at 970 264-7000, or drop me an email at:

MikeHeraty@frontier.net

Be sure to visit our website at www.pagosasource.com

Alamos, Sonora, Mexico and Pagosa Springs

This blog entry will not have much to do with real estate. If you want or need specific real estate data or assistance, drop me an email at MikeHeraty@frontier.net, or call me at 970 264-7000.

ALAMOS, SONORA, MEXICO

I recently returned from a trip to northern Mexico at the edge of the Sierra Madres to the town of Alamos within the State of Sonora. Interestingly, the town is about the same size as Pagosa Springs. It is a Spanish Colonial Mining Town founded in 1681 following the discovery of silver in the area. Because of the great wealth created from nearby silver mines, scores of large colonial Spanish mansions were built in the town. Many were destroyed in the early 1900’s before Americans began to rediscover the area in the 1940’s. A number of the families living in Alamos can trace their heritage back to first settlers that came to work the mines.  Presently there are a number of Americans that maintain homes there for the winter months, and a few that live there all year, though I have found the summer heat to be quite intense. Like Pagosa Springs, Alamos has struggled during the recession to continue to attract tourists that are willing to spend money locally. Unlike Pagosa Springs, they have also had to deal with all the negative press relating to the drug wars that continue to plague many parts of the country. Though there has not been any drug violence in Alamos (it is far enough off the cocaine highway) the number of visitors from the U.S. has declined sharply and the town has seen a significant reduction in U.S. tourist dollars flowing into its coffers. Interestingly, those funds have been replaced, by and large by visitors from within Mexico. Alamos has been the location for the filming of a Novella (Mexican Soap Opera) which has been tremendously successful. They have been in town for the summer months, which historically have been the months most hotels see few visitors. In December of last year they filmed a full feature movie in the area. When it is released later this year into the Mexican market, Alamos expects to see more visitors as the movie includes some interesting history of the area.

The residents, business owners and town employees and leaders work hard to keep their city clean, safe and friendly. They do a good job of promoting Alamos with a series of events scheduled throughout the year. While I was there last month the 28th Annual Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado was underway. This is a music and art festival named after a famous opera singer and doctor that was born in Alamos in 1893.

This year performers came from Puerto Rico, Brazil, Cuba, Costa Rica and other Central and South American countries. The following link will take you to the Festival Program Guide- get ready to polish up on your Spanish:  Alamos Festival         The event was attended by loads of Mexican nationals, many from within the region, but many from as far away at Mexico City and Oaxaca. About a third of those attending the festival were foreigners, from Central America, Europe, South America and Gringos like myself from the U.S.  Everything was very well organized, events began and ended on schedule and provided everyone with a fabulous variety of musical performances. Thursday evening the group Puerto Rican Power played for the crowd and had everyone on their feet dancing the salsa:  Friday evening the group Opera Prima Rock performed a two hour tribute to the music of Queen. I was amazed how popular their music was and how many members of the audience knew all the lyrics. The group had everyone on their feet for the encore “We Are the Champions”.

 

OPERA PRIMA ROCK 

Saturday evening the Italian Tenor Alessandro Safina performed. In 2007 he recorded a duet with British Soprano Sarah Brightman for her Symphony album and joined her on her Symphony World Tour for 2008 and 2009. His vocals and his orchestra were fabulous. Following his performance,  Callejoneada con la Estudiantina Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado completed the music celebration with all of the musical artists dressed in 17th century Spanish costumes, parading through the streets and alleys of Alamos playing traditional songs and telling stories. This went on until the wee hours of the morning. In all, the experience was wonderful.

Anyway, what I found most interesting is how well attended the Festival was. You had to travel 30 miles west of Alamos to the city of Navajoa to find lodging if you had not made a reservation at least two months earlier. The Festival has been sponsored and coordinated by a group of stakeholders including the Town of Alamos and surrounding communities, the State of Sonora the National Institute of Fine Arts, with commercial financial support from Coca Cola, Corona, and Telmex. This is a festival I would highly recommend to any music and culture lover. The people are warm and friendly, lodging is great within Alamos if you plan ahead. My two favorite lodging facilities in Alamos happen to be owned by Americans: Hacienda de los Santos and Hotel Colonial.

 Hacienda de los Santos, one of three pools.

 Both of these hotels are exceptional. Within HDLS is the Poncho Villa Cantina, where Poncho Villa stood after entering the town. If you are a Tequilla drinker, you will find over 500 different bottles of the spirit within the bar. If you can’t find one you like, you’d better think about changing drinks!

 

 

 Pancho Villa Tequilla Bar at Hacienda de los Santos

Hotel Colonial, Alamos. Janet Anderson, Proprietor.

The restaurants in Alamos are very good and very economical.  I love the food at Hacienda and Las Palmeras is a great spot for lunch or a casual dinner. Terisita’s Panaderia y Bistro is my favorite for a cappuccino and breakfast pastry, a great place to start the day and check email with their WiFi connection.

 Outside Seating at Terisita’s Panaderia Y Bistro

 

You can reach the town of Alamos by driving a little over one hour south from Ciudad Obregon, where you can catch a flight from Phoenix on Aero Mexico with a connection in Hermosillo. Alternatively, if you don’t mind a longer and much more economical journey, you can take a first class luxury bus with on board video sets and Wi-Fi from Phoenix or Tucson. While in town I did check out the local real estate scene. Not much had changed from my previous visit in June of last year. A few properties are moving, but very slowly and at prices well below the peak of 2007. Few Americans are buying and many more are trying to sell. Very few Sellers have shown a willingness to greatly reduce their asking prices. Instead, they seem determined to remain patient, a concept that seems more abundant within Mexico.  The decline in buying interest from Americans has, to some extent been partially offset by a renewed interest from Mexican nationals.  It was also interesting to see the increase in Canadians in Alamos.  Alamos Gold of Toronto, Canada owns a huge gold mining and milling operation just west of Alamos which is targeting production in excess of 150,000 ounces of gold for the year, generating gross revenues of over $200 million. Perhaps this investment in the area will create more visitors to Alamos from our northern neighbor. I initiated a discussion with a resident American of creating a Sister City relationship with Pagosa Springs. The Town of Alamos currently has a Sister City relationship with an Arizona community, but nothing with any Colorado towns. It might be a mutually beneficial relationship, given the similarities of the towns. If you think you would enjoy the wonderfully interesting culture of Old Mexico, I highly recommend you consider a visit to Alamos, and I would suggest visiting during the Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado in January. Be sure to book your trip early in order to obtain good local lodging.

Quite Street in Alamos at 6:30 a.m.A Quiet Street Scene in Alamos at 6:30 a.m. the day after the end of The Festival.