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  • Writer's pictureBETCH

I'm pissed off, I'm priced out, and I'm leaving this town.

In the heart of Salida, where the majestic mountains meet the wild rivers, a harsh truth confronts us all. We're trapped in a brutal housing crisis that doesn't discriminate. Whether you're a river guide, a military veteran, a hardworking local, or anyone else, we're all in the same tough situation. Salida's housing problem is like a relentless storm that affects each one of us.

But remember this: we all have our own unique stories, our own experiences dealing with Salida's challenges. It's time for us to come together and use our stories as a powerful force to fight for our right to live in this town. Now, let me introduce you to Brad. His journey through the ups and downs of Salida embodies the spirit of our community's resilience. Brad's story isn't just his; it's a reflection of the struggles we all face. Together, we can change the course of Salida's housing crisis.

Brad has been living out of his vehicle for the last three out of nine years, working for Salida River Adventures, Alpha Dogcare, Dvorak Expeditions, Monarch, and volunteering for Veterans’ Expeditions. He became an independent public lands advocate for the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act (CORE). He fought tooth and nail for the Camp Hale legacy and the Continental Divide, aiming for it to become a National Monument Designation by the President.

There was always one frustrating thing about the fight for Camp Hale- it was always the same people fighting the same battle. Brad knew they needed more people to stand up for their beliefs, but it seemed like nobody had the guts to join him. He had to rely on his military training, where he learned to put his head down with determination and perseverance to keep going, even when things got tough. Eventually, a congressman got the ear of the president, and they achieved what they set out to do. Brad was also a national leader for the Sierra Club's military Outdoor program, where he helped to get Bears Ears National Monument status. He is a man who believes in leading by example.

We can't just talk about it. We have to live better, be better.

Brad is leaving Salida after enduring his fair share of bad rental situations, including one where the water for the entire trailer park failed, and neither the health department nor the state did anything to resolve the issue. Brad was without water for weeks, and when he complained he had to threaten legal action to get out of his lease without penalty. In the end, Brad got his full deposit back and some rent refunded, but he was disappointed that his neighbors wouldn’t stand up for themselves. Some landlords are going to keep taking advantage of people as long as they can get away with it. The second Brad stood up for himself, they backed down.

Another rental situation Brad found himself in was a tiny 600sq ft place that wasn't very nice, and the heat and hot water failed. The landlord wasn't in a hurry to fix it, leaving Brad in the cold.

It's such a struggle to get landlords to do their jobs. They're taking the term 'passive income' too literally.

Brad is over it, and he can't understand why people don't stand up and fight for their rights. He believes that nothing is going to change if we don’t stand up, and he’s angry that the locals claim they want change, but aren’t willing to step up and make that change themselves.

The people with the time, resources, and pull can and will steamroll us if we don't stand together. BETCH won’t always be around to fight for you without you, and if you take that for granted, you're in for a rude awakening. We're making the stand now, and to sustain the fight, we need all hands on deck!

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