Unemployment forces 32-year Vail Valley local to move
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado – Mike Green has lived in the valley for 32 years, and he’s not ready to leave, but the economic situation is forcing him to pack his bags and say good-bye.
Green packed a moving truck at his Eagle-Vail home all day Monday, packing up years of memories from his life here in the valley. Three of Green’s friends spent the day helping him pack – all three of the friends are also unemployed locals.
He’s driving the truck down to central Florida, where his mother lives, because he said he can store everything there for a lot cheaper than storage facilities charge here.
His unemployment benefits covered his $1,340 rent for the last couple of years – just barely – and when that ran out, he was faced with the reality that his time in the valley might be coming to an end.
He said he’s racked up a ton of credit card debt during the last two years in order to survive.
“I dragged it out as long as I could,” Green said.
Green worked for several transportation companies in the valley over the last several years, and was one of the founders of Vans to Vail, a former transportation business in the valley. He was laid off from his job as a dispatcher from another transportation company, High Mountain Taxi, about two years ago.
He also worked as a contractor and knows what it’s like to go through a recession – he said he survived the last “great depression” in the valley, in the early 1980s.
He lost work during that recession, too, and ended up leaving the valley for about a year. He came back, though, and hopes this time around he’ll be able to return again.
After applying to dozens of jobs in the last six months, he said he’s only been on two interviews. He never heard back from anyone.
“There are a lot of these moving trucks here in this valley,” he said as he packed his rental truck Monday. “People are moving.”
One of the interviews he went on was looking for a younger person who would be willing to work for about $12 an hour. He might not have taken such a job two or three years ago, but he was willing to take the job now.
“But I never heard back,” Green said.
The experience has made him somewhat pessimistic, but he said he’s not going to give up trying to find work here.
Anecdotal evidence shows people may be leaving the valley, although school enrollment counts in the Eagle County School District are projected to remain about flat with last year.
Edwards Trailer Park resident Tami Figueroa said families are moving out of the trailer park, and out of state, practically every day.
Green didn’t want to leave – the valley has been his home for longer than any other place. He has friends here, and this is where he wants to be.
Marni Pistole, one of Green’s close friends and co-owner of Vail Transportation Service, said she’s devastated her friend is being forced to leave.
“He doesn’t want to leave, but he has tried everything,” Pistole said.
For now, the plan is to drive the truck down to Florida and continue to apply for jobs in the valley. He said he’ll probably come back and sleep on friends’ couches for a while, too.
“I’m going to move (my stuff), store it, and come back,” Green said.
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or email@example.com.