James R. (Jim) AUSTIN HISTORY STORY
Montrose, CO in the 1970s
Based on an interview 10/22/15 with Jack Rairden
My wife Patty and I were raised the summer in the Frying Pan Valley near Basalt, Colorado. It’s that part of your life that you remember best, which I do - the fishing, hunting and all that. We came to Montrose when Patty’s dad bought the Standard Oil dealership – later he was on the City Council. I was in Atlanta and I was pleasantly surprised when the Montrose City Manager position opened up and so I applied and got the job. But I had a fix - my father-in-law was on the Council. We had worked on and off all over the world and ended up in Atlanta.
I graduated from high school in Kansas. Patty graduated in Denver. Her mother and my mother were best friends - so it turned out pretty good.
I guess we came to Montrose in the late ‘60s. If I give you a number I’m only guessing. We were here 12 or 13 years, I’m gonna guess from 1969 to 13 years later which would be 1982.
I was in Atlanta and my partners and I had created an overseas mutual fund. Selling real estate investments in other countries and buying U.S. real estate - big buildings downtown. I was fed up with the Federal Government so we came here. I was an employee of the Georgia Municipal League and we had a National Conference of Cities. It was the first time that I’d ever seen a TV camera recording an event. I was responsible for the press set-up.
At that particular time Ivan Allen, the Mayor was there and the offshoot of the thing was the guy from New York, the newspaper reporter, stood up in front of the TV camera. The EPA was present for their first meeting and they put the City of Atlanta, the City of Detroit and the City of Cleveland on notice that if they didn’t clean up the river in 60 days they’d have a $10,000 a day fine.
So the reporter for the newspaper stood in front of the camera and the camera guy and said, “Get the hell out of the front of my camera.” And the newspaper guy gave him the signal and the camera guy came over and knocked the newspaper fellow on his ass. There were three big city mayors scrambling around trying to pull these reporters apart.