On Scene: Dispiriting departures

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— I hate to be a downer and disturb the normally light-hearted nature of this column, but I had a rough weekend.

On Saturday, I attended a farewell party for fellow reporter Alexis DeLaCruz, who recently resigned from the Pilot & Today and moved back to her hometown of Denver. I went out Sunday night with a group of friends who gathered to say goodbye to Anthony Miriani, who worked at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs and TIC, and has moved to Chicago for a job.

In the five months since I moved to Steamboat, Anthony and Alexis became two of my best friends. Their loss is no doubt dispiriting, but I don't know what's discouraging me more: missing my friends or what these two departures might say about our community's future.

In my short time here, I've heard more than a few times the saying that if you don't have at least two jobs in Steamboat, you're unemployed. Anthony - like myself and like so many people in this community - worked two jobs to make ends meet and still have some semblance of a social life in Steamboat Springs. Anthony, like Alexis, decided it was time to move on.

While reporting a story in August, a financial planner told me, "You already are rich living in Steamboat" - an easy thing for someone who actually is rich to say. But it is true that even in my most glum moods - like when my mom back in Indiana told me she was renting out the house next door for about the same price I pay to share a duplex with two other people here - all it takes is a step outside and a scan of the scenery to refresh my soul.

But I suspect beautiful surroundings, loads of fun and five months of skiing only go so far before the absence of larger life goals such as financial stability and home ownership - or just a weekend - take their toll.

Numerous government officials, City Council candidates and others have said the rising cost of living in Steamboat is putting the city at risk of losing the very people that give it the character we all love, but the problem is usually framed as a future one. I have news for all of them: Alexis and Anthony were two of those people - and the exodus may have already begun.

Comments

another_local 7 years, 1 month ago

Brandon, I understand that it is tough to have friends move away, but I think you are making too much of a couple of good people moving away. There is always a transient component in a resort town and young people experiment with living in different places.

To localthinker, wages are not low here. The average wage here for most jobs is well above what it would be almost anywhere else. What we do have is more lower level non-professional positions than higher wage positions and a high cost of living.

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localthinker 7 years, 1 month ago

Brandon - people are always coming and going here. Sometimes, they come back. One of the first people I met in Steamboat was very welcoming. After a few months, I asked that person why he was so welcoming to new residents - he replied "Friends are always moving away, so its very important to make new friends!" Wages are low here and living costs are high, compared to other areas for two reasons - 1) low wages, because this is a beautiful , desirable place to live and because there are always people who want to move here, regardless of the cost (they just don't stay, when the pain of the financial drain becomes too great). 2) high property values mean high rents, plus the above #1 figures into the rental situation, too...

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localthinker 7 years, 1 month ago

"What we do have is more lower level non-professional positions than higher wage positions and a high cost of living."

Another_local, well said. Thanks!

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Jean 7 years, 1 month ago

The exodus began a long time ago, don't kid yourself..

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