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Oral History Interview with Bob Strong


So we went ahead and Jim had quite a show for them. As Mayor of Montrose, I gave a presentation - the text of that presentation is on pages 7 and 8. There was a four-piece band whose job was - if any group of environmentalists were trying to interfere or disrupt any particular event, they were supposed to get right in the middle of them and start playing music. They didn’t hear much from that particular group of people. I think they were there but they kept pretty quiet. I think they realized it might have been a hopeless cause to try and ruin that meeting for us.

I can’t remember if there were ranchers from Ridgway and Ouray who opposed it. I’m sure there were local people who opposed it but it seems like the majority of the people were in favor of it, even the Ouray people. But if you remember, the Municipal and Industrial plans for it - the lake would have been much larger than what it is today. If they'd gone ahead with that, they would’ve opposed the industrial phase of it. Kemmerer Coal at that time was interested in the water for mining purposes and they suspected that we wanted to sell it to them.

To my knowledge, they haven't heard from Kemmerer Coal out of Wyoming since then. They thought they could mine in that area. I guess there are coal reserves there, but it’s not very good coal. As far as I know, there has never been any more done in that area and maybe it’s still up there and maybe someday they’ll take it out - there are no plans right now. 

As a mayor you are more of a figurehead. Actually, if you’re on the Council, it's just your turn to be mayor - there wasn’t any contest to be elected Mayor. It was just your turn to be in the barrel and it's still like that.


I was on the Council eight years starting in 1971 until 1979. In '77 I was Mayor. At the meeting I read a statement and others did too. The review team just sat there. One of the things we did was pass out little water bottles as shown in Fig. 4 - I’ll have to take credit for that because it was my idea. The bottles had a tag on them addressed to Pres. Jimmy Carter at the White House. Everyone there was given one of these bottles and asked to mail them. Fig. 5 shows the bumper sticker that was displayed on many local vehicles.

We liked to think that the mailman would walk into Jimmy Carter’s office and dump about 1000 of them right on his desk. Apparently he did see some of them. I don't know how many got to him, but I've heard that he did see some of them. They did get to his mailroom.


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