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Farewell to a Pagosa dreamer

We received news this weekend that David Brown had passed away in Arizona. We are saddened and remember him for what he did, and what he wanted to do, when he was a member of the Pagosa community.

David came from California where he had a successful career in the commercial real estate development business. The man knew his stuff and he, and the company formed here, boosted the local skill set in dramatic fashion. And acted, at times, as a lightning rod for public opinion — good and bad. The presence of someone with ideas and the capital to proceed invariably draws criticism (some deserved, some not) as well as a measure of envy.

Dave brought a new level of vision to the community, with ideas and projects that dwarfed most that preceded them. He purchased ranch and lodging properties at the base of Wolf Creek Pass, renaming them Bootjack Ranch. He then set to work to transform downtown Pagosa Springs. He was not content to work with one small building at a time; he had a big picture in mind and he believed it would benefit his company and the community. He was a skilled businessman, and he wanted to do business here.

But, in Pagosa, he failed. In so doing, he provided a lesson that might benefit others, if they pay heed.

Dave had a plan that, through several manifestations, would have developed high-end properties, radically altering the character of the town. Initially, he attempted to create a Community Vision process to incorporate ideas from the residents of the area and corral their energies in the effort.

It did not work. Pagosa Country then, as it does now, had too many oldtimers who did not want things to change in dramatic fashion, and far too many relative newcomers who had all the answers, and whose importance was too great to be overshadowed by another’s project and vision.

What can be learned from Dave’s failure to solicit widespread agreement? When developing a privately owned project, find out what the regulations demand, satisfy the requirements and proceed. Do not ask for consensus; you will not find it.

Difficulties acquiring properties, including some along Hot Springs Boulevard, and the county courthouse property, put roadblocks in the way, but Dave purchased and demolished some downtown properties and, therein, provided another lesson: If you tear down an old property, remember, someone’s dentist used it as an office in 1938, or someone’s aunt’s best friend lived there during the ’50s. If the lot sits empty, memories fester. If you tear something down in Pagosa, put something up, immediately.

Dave’s ranch sold in 2010; the family moved to Arizona. The downtown properties were sold. Gone is an expansive vision. Gone is the urge to engage in transformation on a huge scale – along with the wherewithal to do it.

Grand plans aside, we should remember David and his wife, Carol, for the many wonderful things they did in and for this community.

The Browns were intensely interested in our local public education system and, as the mother of students, Carol was active in our schools.

The Browns were generous in their support of many local programs and events. Their support of Music in the Mountains provided a summer concert series for several years, held under a tent they supplied, at the ranch they owned — a series remembered fondly by everyone who enjoyed it.

Many were the donations the Browns made in Pagosa — charitable giving that benefited many.

Dave and his family will be missed. He was a dreamer who could change things; a man of deep and abiding faith, and a kind man, as well. We are fortunate that he and his family were among us.

Karl Isberg

This story was posted on February 7, 2013.
  • Mike Neder

    Thank you Karl, and thank you David and Carol. You are missed.

  • Sean McMullen

    PRAYERS FOR DAVID BROWN AND HIS FAMILY,YOU MR ISBERG,ARE FLAMING LIBERAL,BENT EVEN IN THIS GREAT MANS DEATH,IN THE 1%BLAMING GAME, HIS FAILINGS,WHAT A JOKE,THIS TOWN HAS AND WILL CONTINUE,TO KICK OUT THE 1%,AND PUNISH THE 1%,AT ALL COST,WE ARE THE DEVIL,YET HALF OF PAGOSA HAS NO WORK,I WORKED AT DAVID BROWNS,BUILDING BOOTJACK WITH SOME GREAT PAGOSA PEOPLE,THAT WE ALL GOT PAID VERY WELL,PAGOSA FAILED HIM AND NUMEROUS OTHER BUILDERS LIKE MYSELF,FOR TRYING TO PUT STUNNING BOUTIQUE PROJECTS IN THIS TOWN.IF IT WAS NOT FOR THE BROWNS,THERE WOULD BE NO HOSPITAL,AND OTHER GREAT PROJECTS THEY ENDOWED,LIKE NOBAMA,THIS TOWN IS BENT ON THERE OWN DESTRUCTION,KICKING OUT GREAT PROJECTS,ONE AFTER ANOTHER,PUNISHING THE EVIL 1%,.JOKE ,NOW THE GOLDEN CARPET IS ROLLED OUT FOR THE CHINA LOVING ,JOB ,AND TOWN DESTROYING,MACHINE,OF WALMART,RIP DAVID BROWN,KARL BUY A CLUE,GOOD LUCK TOO THE 99%,THAT HAVE GIVEN PAGOSA A NAME THAT NO ONE CAN BUILD A DREAM HERE,BROWNS ,WERE SHATTERED SO WERE MINE.SEAN MCMULLEN.

    • Brian griffin

      McMullen, you are a sociopath. Your poorly planned projects failed because you are a moron. Are you even in town, anymore? We all hope not, loser.

      • SEAN

        NOW I GET IT PURCELLS,CORRUPT FOREST BUDDY,YOU GUYS ARE ALL JOKERS,I HAVE DONE AND SAVED REAL THINGS,GO HARASS A FISHERMAN,WHO PAYS THOUSANDS IN TAXES ,FOR MISPLACING A TAG,THEN SEARCH HIS CAR,YOU MUST LOVE NOBAMAS NEW WORLD.

      • Brian Griffin

        Your use of all caps indicates how important you think you are. Move along, and take “your church” with you; we have plenty of those here, already. Arkansas is nice this time of year.

        • Sean McMullen

          HEY BRIAN,GO PICK UP YOUR WELFARE CHECK,LOSER,ALWAYS ONLINE,SPEWING HATE!AT LEAST I SAVE A HISTORIC TREASURE!I DO NOT THINK I AM IMPORTANT,JUST A PERSON WITH A DREAM.CRUSHED,LIKE THE 500 MILLION DOLLARS OF DEVELOPMENT,THAT WOULD HAVE CAME,BUT NOT FOR THE SAME TOWN HALL,AND USELESS PEOPLE YOU GO ON ABOUT,GO GET A JOB AT WALMART,GOOD LUCK TO YOU AND THAT,USELESS TOWN YOU LIVE IN.

  • SEAN

    HEY BRIAN,I GUESS DAVID BROWNS,WERE POORLY PLANNED,AND 500 MILLION DOLLARS,WORTH OF OTHER,PROJECTS,INCLUDING RED MCOMBS,WHO I HOPE GETS HIS WAY,AND GETS TO BUILD HIS DREAMS,PAGOSA HAS A BAD NAME,AND HAS SHOT ITSELF IN THE FOOT,NO GOOD LUCK ON THAT WALMART THING,AND YOUR CORRUPT TOWN OFFICIALS,WHAT HAVE YOU DONE OR SAVED,MR GRIFFIN,I AM BULDER OF DREAMS,LIKE BROWN MINE WERE CRUSHED,BY LOSERS AT TOWN HALL.

  • Carl L.

    Very good reporting, and good commentary. Thank you.

  • Chris Gerlach

    David will be missed by many who knew and loved him. It is never a failure if we dream and try for our dreams, each step forward adds up in the end. I miss David and send best wishes to Carol and the family. thanks Karl for a nice article. God Bless and Peace David and thank you.