By on May 13, 2015

DISSTongueJim Stanford’s man camp

There is nothing wrong with council member Jim Stanford’s efforts toward alleviating Jackson Hole’s housing crunch with a man camp. It is an admirable dream. It is also wrought with several holes.

Don’t look to string Stanford up for proposing the idea. At least one politician is doing something more than “campaign trail” talking about the valley’s No. 1 problem. Stanford’s proposal the other day at a council meeting was admittedly to “take the temperature of the council” and was a “very preliminary discussion” on addressing an acute shortage of workforce housing. With the Grove currently partially derailed, no idea no matter how far-fetched should be left off the table.

A municipal campground for summer peons sounds like a disaster looking for a place to happen. Yeah, Lander might pull off something similar but that’s not all that reassuring. Labor camps that sprouted when America was laying railroad tracks to connect San Francisco to a developing nation were riddled with inherent problems, namely crime.

The Jackson police force has to be shaking in their boots at the thought of monitoring Woodstock without the rock and roll. There will be fights fueled by drugs, alcohol and the nature of communal living in close proximity on a soccer field or in a parking lot. There will be petty crime, sparked by opportunity and a second-class citizenry with no invested interest in their 180-day community.

A labor camp in Jackson would also be a blight on the community. A constant eyesore reminder that Teton County has become a place for the “haves” and the “don’t have squat.” A valley of gated communities fortressed high in the sky while serfs scrape by on a Coleman stove dinner of Ramen noodles and Dollar Store desserts. Tourists will notice. They’ll take pictures. Word will get out. Visitors will stop coming and our housing issue will be solved that way.

Not even a pot to piss in unless you count the Rec Center, and there is another problem. The Rec Center folks have enough trouble just keeping a roof over their head. They don’t need the added headache of trying to service a community with their primary mission statement while making sure their plumbing can handle the extra load of daily showers and Ramen noodle “number twos.”

The other bigger issue is what is not addressed with a hospitality industry tent city. Teton County needs more housing opportunities for the middle class. Twentysomethings have always found a way to cram themselves into any living situation in order to be able to spend a summer here between college semesters. But what about the throngs of people who don’t want to come home to six roommates, nine dogs and squabbles over who drank the last beer? By far, the largest underserved demographic in the county is professional singles and small families who want their own space, whether rented or owned.

It’s the middle-income segment that is getting screwed and tattooed all over America. Jackson Hole’s unique Shangri-La magnifies that economic hurt. And a tent city in Jackson would highlight that shame for a nation to see.



PROPSFistbumpElk Fest LAX style

Lacrosse in Jackson Hole is exploding, like it has across the country. Hockey on grass is exciting and easy to follow. The game is fast, furious and full of contact. After watching a few minutes of any game I know one thing: I wouldn’t ever want to be the goalie.

Frank Menolascino handles the big butterfly net for the JHHS Boys team. They returned from Utah last weekend with two more wins under their belt. A 10-3 lambasting of Wasatch High on Friday was followed by a 9-7 win over Bingham JV on Saturday.

Team coach George Hein said despite the rain the Jackson team took the field and played some of the “best lacrosse they have played all season.”

The U15 Boys team also went 2-0 over last weekend. The girls were less fortunate, dropping both their games in lopsided losses. They could use some hometown support this weekend.

Lacrosse will be front and center this May 15-17 with the third annual Jackson Hole Mountain Roundup. Boys will play at the High School and Middle School fields while the girls are in action at Jackson Elementary. Jackson boasts a total of nine teams ranging from boys U9, U11, U13, U15 and High School to girls K-2, 3-5, Middle School and High School.

Jackson Hole Mountain Roundup kicks off at 5:15 p.m. on Friday at the synthetic fields with the high school boys team game. It will be an action-packed weekend with plenty of games all day Saturday and Sunday. Cafe Genevieve and Jackson Hole POP: Fine Artisan Popcorn will provide food. Headwall Sports is sponsoring the tournament. Funds were also provided by lodging tax dollars.

JH bombs Wasatch 10 to 3 last friday. PHOTO: JHHS LACROSSE

JH bombs Wasatch 10 to 3 last friday. PHOTO: JHHS LACROSSE

About Jake Nichols

Jake is a work in progress.


  1. Jean

    May 13, 2015 at 6:59 am

    I think we should high-light our shameful lack of housing for the world to see. Maybe, just maybe, the “haves” will care about more than themselves. If the politicians and the greedy are shamed into recourse, who knows what can happen ??

  2. Betsy

    May 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    A lack of affordable housing is more pronounced in resort communities for all the obvious reasons. And big cities like San Francisco, LA, Seattle, & NYC all have housing issues. The housing ‘problem’ in Jackson is just another example of gentrification, & a sense of entitlement that’s without merit for most of our population.

    We have plenty of housing in Idaho & Lincoln County. Do people complain about the lack of affordable housing in Beverly Hills? Since when does anyone have a right to live here if they can’t afford to? Go work hard and become a millionaire. The most disturbing issue with the subsidized housing in Jackson is that the government provides it and the people who take advantage of it – like people who have been here three years.

    I don’t support shitty wages being dished out by the hospitality industry, etc, but let’s get real. You’re complaining about living in Jackson. Much of the world would fight for the opportunity to live here during the summer even with a tent city (didn’t we just ban car camping?).

    The average commute for L.A. County residents is about 29 minutes. Nearly 12 percent of workers in Los Angeles County had a commute of an hour or more in 2011. 36% of drivers with a 30-minute commute spent 90 hours in traffic jams each year.

    Jackson’s not so bad.

    Let’s be honest. Every time you vote for more tourists by supporting a lodging tax, you create more housing headaches. Every time you support short-term rentals, you do the same. Every time you impose costly restrictions on housing development, you do the same. Every time you put wildlife ahead of people, you do the same. Every time you subsidize air travelers, you do the same. Every time you agree to work for sub-standard wages, you do the same. Every time you refuse to tax real estate transactions, or give mortgage interest deductions on second homes, you do the same (taxes discourage speculators).

    Every time you give state tax breaks to wealthy people, they move here, buy limited real estate, and drive up prices. Every time you allow immigrant labor to the tune of thousands of people to work here, you will limit opportunities for Americans to rent or purchase property – not only because they take rental units off the market but because they drive down wages. Every time you build ‘affordable’ housing, you increase the need for more affordable housing. You may love sales, but every time a business competes on price, employees lose value. All this stuff and more helps to create a housing ‘crisis’.

  3. Betsy

    May 15, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    This One-Bedroom Stucco Hut in Venice, CA is Asking $2.2 Million:

    Rentals in LA:

  4. Love the Grove - apartments

    May 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Jake can finally find a decent rental! At least you know the pain of many.

    Hey, in no small part, it’s the government causing the problem and it’s the rich who are sucking the life out of the working class, so hell yes we can and should attend to the needs of the working class in a sensible manner in Jackson. Why underwrite the lifestyle of the wealthy at the expense of everyone else?

    Jake has since gotten married and gotten better housing.

    The Grove, 20 New Affordable Rentals:

    If you’re a single mom and you want to rent the cheapest 1 bedroom unit at the new Grove apartments, you’ll be paying $13,500/yr for rent. Not bad given that it includes utilities, it has a nice location, and the units are new. There are only two of these units, another two rent for $1,175/mo.

    If you use the 1/3 of income rule for housing, you would need to make just over $40,000 yr to afford the rent. That generality (1/3) seems questionable so lets look at the typical wage for a hospitality worker at the bottom half of the income pool: $27,000 after taxes. Rent would then amount to half of your income assuming $27k is valid.

    That leaves $13,500 for everything else which may include transportation, food, health care, phone service, child care, education, recreational activities, retirement savings, clothing and other consumer goods like cleaning supplies, etc.

    The GROVE Prices:
    2 – 1 bedroom Units – $1,125*/Month

    2 – 1 Bedroom plus Units – $1,175*/Month

    8 – 2 Bedroom Units – $1,225*/Month

    7 – 2 Bedroom plus Units – $1, 275*/Month

    1 – 3 Bedroom Unit – $1,375*/Month

  5. Tent City

    May 17, 2015 at 8:22 am

    RE: “A labor camp in Jackson would also be a blight on the community. A constant eyesore reminder that Teton County has become a place for the “haves” and the “don’t have squat”. …And a tent city in Jackson would highlight that shame for a nation to see.”

    It doesn’t surprise me to hear about tent cities, man camps, bunk houses, dorms, or the next Stanfordville ( coming to Jackson. This is where America is headed.

    Why should a campground, man camp, or tent city be any different than a campground in GTNP, Yellowstone, or the Bridger-Teton? Is camping all that different from RV camping at the Virg? Fights fueled by drugs, alcohol? We get that from tourists and locals who have housing. Our cops might have something to do that justifies their paycheck if WW3 breaks out at the tent city. I like the Wild West. Bring it on. Tourist might pay to see that. As it is, they spend too much time on Disney Square.

    You’re right to not fault Jim Stanford. It’s not his fault we have this issue. Everyone knows Jackson is a place for the “haves” and the “don’t have squat”. But, why try to hide reality? Yes, it’s kinda shameful; however, as you say, at least Jim Stanford (and Paul Perry in the JHN&G ‘Guest Shot’ column) are putting solutions on the table that don’t cost millions of taxpayer dollars.

    Our electeds can’t magically pull money out of thin air so that the middle class can live the high life on a govt subsidy in Jackson. Certainly the school district & hospital are trying.

    I can understand that the Middle Class may feel really screwed in Jackson but at least they can afford an ‘affordable’ home or rental from the Teton County Housing Authority or the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust. The middle class can always move to Salt Lake City if the burden isn’t worth the cost of living in Jackson. The working class can barely afford Idaho Falls.

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