Eagle Town Council starts first meeting after death of two members with moment of silence
Formally launches appointment process for two seats
EAGLE — Eagle’s Town Council started its meeting Tuesday with a moment of silence for Andy Jessen and Adam Palmer, two of its members killed last week in an avalanche while backcountry skiing near Silverton.
“I think we all know all the heartache and tragedy that we’ve gone through as a community, and I think a moment of silence is a little bit trivial, but I think it is necessary, and it will be good for all of us to spend a minute reflecting upon these fine gentleman that passed,” Mayor Scott Turnipseed said.
Palmer worked as the Sustainable Communities program director for Eagle County and was elected to Eagle Town Council in April 2020. Jessen co-founded Bonfire Brewing in 2010, which quickly grew into a popular microbrewery and community gathering spot in Eagle, and was elected to the Eagle Town Council in April 2018.
A third man, Seth Bossung, was also killed in the avalanche. He worked with Palmer as the county’s energy efficiency project manager.
Councilmembers made brief remarks to start Tuesday’s meeting as the loss of the three men continued to reverberate throughout the town and Eagle County. They were widely known as friends, family, colleagues, entrepreneurs and community leaders.
Jessen and Palmer “were truly instrumental in moving so many things forward in the town,” Turnipseed said.
Council Member Ellen Bodenheimer offered her condolences to the families of Palmer, Jessen and Bossung and to “their vast network of friends and the Eagle River Valley.”
“I think what I’ve learned most from this tragedy is how many lives these men touched,” Bodenheimer said, thanking the community for its outpouring of support this week, and thanking the town’s staff for helping organize a candlelight vigil over the weekend.
“Andy always told me government is a long, slow burn, but I’d like to think on Saturday we put a little bit of a torch underneath it with the candlelight vigil and then also the lighting of Andy’s favorite holiday lights,” Bodenheimer said.
Later in Tuesday’s meeting, councilmembers approved a $2,000 donation to San Juan Search and Rescue, which helped with the avalanche rescue and recovery. They also took the step of officially declaring the two vacant seats on the Eagle Town Council — opting to fill the seats by Town Council appointment rather than a special election.
The declaration begins a roughly two-month process for people to apply for and be appointed to the Town Council seats. That process will be advertised in coming days, and people interested in applying can contact the Eagle Town Hall. The appointments would last until this November, when the town holds its next election.
The hope, Turnipseed said, is that the town can find applicants with a strong vision and dedication to the town who can help find creative and collaborative ways to help the small but growing town continue to move forward.
Tom Lotshaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.