An antiquated law called adverse-possession has been revised to protect landowners, effective July 1, 2008. We’ve been informed two local corporations will be filing immediately, to take our land from us before the effective date. “Gaming the legal system,” describes Rep. Whitwer R-Genesee, in the article titled “Lawmakers fear a stampede to condemn unused property,” (May 2 Post Independent and Aspen Times). It’s wrong, yet we are all helplessly witnessing it as it happens.
It saddened me, while talking to some decent people Friday, as we bonded together to see whether the House would pass an “effective immediately” date, for Bill 1148. This would’ve saved our rights and land in time.
I spoke to three couples who bought in TeKeKi more than 35 years ago, original owners with deeds signed by Garfield County officials of that time. Hearing of their dreams, they feel as if they are being forced to sell. It’s such an uneven fight; like David and Goliath. They are losing money by selling their parcels back to the corporations, but more than that, they feel as if they have no other recourse.
One such owner, a veteran of World War II, told me he was especially disappointed.
He felt it a shame that he fought so hard for freedoms in his lifetime, only to see it come to a world where if you have enough money or power you can take something that’s not yours. I wonder if these corporations have a conscience?
The remaining owners are not giving up yet, and contrary to what these corporations think, we do not want to overdevelop and ruin the East Mesa. Our dreams are as similar for our families as theirs. We work alongside of the people who own these corporations. We serve them, we consume their products and make them wealthy.
But, when it comes down to it, my land deed is not as worthy as theirs. Feels unjust, they own plenty of land already; need they steal ours?
As a 17-year resident of Rifle, I can’t help but find myself mourning for the quiet, beautiful town we once had. On a daily basis, I find myself fighting the urge to leave the area, yet I am not willing to allow the gas industry to chase me from my home yet.
I am outraged that our city and county leaders have allowed the “rape” of Garfield County. Why? You can’t possibly believe that this is OK for everyone. Our once quiet, clean little town now bustling with the sound of large diesel trucks, often with only one person in them (how’s that good for our fuel crisis?). Our town is now adorned with huge potholes, and filthy streets and parking lots because of the mud that is brought down from the mountains.
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