The Orton Family Foundation is an organization attempting to create a partnership with Paonia, Hotchkiss, and Crawford. The foundation claims that they will help the communities "describe, apply and uphold their heart and soul so that they can adapt to change while maintaining or enhancing the things they value most" (Orton website).
The town councils of Paonia and Hotchkiss are already in the preliminary stages of working with the Orton Family Foundation. However, the Crawford Town Council has refused so far to work with the foundation.
Also, I have heard from individuals in all three towns who have concerns about the plans of the Orton Family Foundation.
First, an explanation of the Orton Family Foundation. They work with communities across the United States, specializing in guiding local governments to create policies that are environmentally friendly. In Colorado alone they have already completed projects in Routt County, Durango, Berthoud, and Hayden. The foundation shares goals with the larger organization known as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), an "international membership association of local governments working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop more sustainable communities" (Orton website).
The ICLEI works across the world, supported most notably by the United Nations. These organizations have impressive credentials and resources. However, not all partnerships with the Orton Family Foundation or the ICLEI have been healthy for the communities they approach.
Regulation of businesses in order to protect the environment increases business expenses. In our area, this could lead to the coal mine operation being downsized, or even shut down. Some property rights might be sacrificed in order to preserve collective interests. These infringements have led some communities in the past to separate their ties with the ICLEI.
For example, in June of 2011, the Albermarle, Va., Board of Supervisors voted to withdraw their membership from the ICLEI, due to the complaints about individual rights being threatened.
If the North Fork Valley community can work with the Orton Family Foundation to plan out ways to protect our valley without trampling on constitutional rights, then I am happy to have the foundation's help. But the community needs to keep an eye out for any attempt to take our rights away in the name of collective good.
The director of communications for the foundation, John Barstow, declined to comment on their work in the valley.
Benjamin S. Hogan
Hotchkissblog comments powered by Disqus