After years of hype and financial scams, Tamarack Resort in Valley County–like many developments looks doomed for the immediate future. The Wall Street Journal has featured the Idaho resort in TODAY’S ISSUE.
In yet another case of contagious GROWTHOPHILES wreaking havoc on a community leading to GROWTHOPHOBIA, Tamarack has hit the bankruptcy courts and doubled the unemployment for Valley County.
No surprise they bought off politicos from former Guv and now Interior SecretaryDirk Kempthorne to President G.W. Bush. Perhaps the plan by the State and the Feds to offer up 18 square miles of public land to Tamarack will be put on hold.
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Jul 7, 2008, 8:46 am
“Fools and their money are soon parted” -P.T. Barnum
Jul 7, 2008, 10:52 am
We used to have to pay $5 for a little bundle of firewood for camping up that way. Now I guess we can go up with a crowbar and get dimensional lumber firewood for free. Maybe a little scrounging will turn up a nice bottle of champagne as well. Oh how sweet it is when the mighty fall.
Jul 7, 2008, 1:17 pm
You have to wonder what is going to happen to the liquor licenses that our State officials let Tamarack have. Before this is all over the folks in Donnelly may have a need for a couple of stiff drinks of adult beverages.
Jul 7, 2008, 3:25 pm
I wonder if Dirk is still getting his ag exemption?
Jul 7, 2008, 9:03 pm
If ANY of the key players in this debauchery were honest men of integrity they would be ashamed, embarrassed and contrite.
Money, not politics, doth indeed create strange bedfellows
Jul 7, 2008, 10:54 pm
If they were “honest men of integrity” they wouldn’t have been involved from the “get-go”!
Jul 7, 2008, 11:41 pm
Boy…you Growthophobes sure do see the glass half empty. What about the 4 years of good prosperous jobs that JP B did bring to Valley County? Better than the alternative – a big fat zilch of unemployed loggers. What about all those land/home owners surrounding Tamascam that were smart enough to cash in (and out) before the BK? Aren’t they “better off than they were four years ago” – wait a minute that sounds familiar who said that GWB? Anyways you get the point guys – there were a lot of winner over the past four years and now sure there will be some losers. It all evens out.
Bob – the “mighty” will try and fail and fall every now and again. At least they had the entrepreneurial spirit to get off their duffs and try to accomplish something. Have you…or like most posters on this blog have you found it easier to make a career out of armchair quarterbacking?
Jul 8, 2008, 12:19 am
You are just like the other sales people touting growth. There is a LOGICAL answer to the “glass being half empty or half full.”
It depends on whether you are pouring or drinking. Pretty fair to say it is half empty at present.
I would love to sell you a US made car with a 5 year payment. When it falls apart after 2 yrs I assume you would say, “It really ran great for the first two years. You probably don’t drive an American car so your rig is most likely still running.
Jul 8, 2008, 8:08 am
I have a feeling that the glass is 1/2 emply for the contractors and subs that are not being paid. Not sure you can call them winners. I understand many are close to going broke.
For the people that bought home…. hey they knew the risk… or should have. But for the workers not getting paid…Very bad thing.
Jul 8, 2008, 8:52 am
Antiphobe, I am usually for responsible growth, but what Tamarack has done to the local building community is ridiculous. They brought people in with “stupid” amounts of money to artificial inflate the cost of construction. Many of the houses in Valley county that once cost $175/sq. ft. now $300-350/sq.ft (excluding land).
The contractors got greedy, but now they are are used to an artificial price on their work. It is like giving candy to a kid and then taking it away. The contractors may have a difficult time adjusting back to real life prices.
This has made it hard for families to afford to build a house that works for them.
Jul 8, 2008, 11:23 am
I’m with Antiphobe. I think that it is quite unfair for people to ascribe terms like “debauchery” to what happened at Tamarack. I don’t have the whole story, but just because something fails doesn’t mean that those involved were dishonest or bad people. Remember this country is built on failure. Yes, you heard me right. It is those that fail, and keep trying that push our science, technology, and industry on to great things. Since I don’t have the whole story, I’m willing to give these guys the benefit of the doubt. If it turns out that things were not above board, then that will take care of itself via the legal system.
Jul 8, 2008, 12:37 pm
Antiphobe- I don’t mind progress/growth, but “Tamacrack” has not been the best for that area. That article was about poor Tamarack and their downfall. It said nothing of local contractors that have been stiffed or families that afford lease payments(Payette Lake State Lease) or property taxes on homes and cabins.
One a side note. I spotted Alfredo Miguel Afif flying on Express Jet from San Diego to Boise. It must be hitting his personal pocketbook.
Jul 8, 2008, 2:58 pm
It seems to me that much of the employment up that way in the past few years was in the form of construction companies sucking at the tamarack teat. Trouble is, many of them are still waiting to get paid. My guess they thing the glass is more than half empty.
Jul 8, 2008, 10:26 pm
I own two SUVs – one foreign and one American. They are both V8’s and they are both paid for. They both run great…I’ve never broken down on the way from my house to the gas station!!!!!!
Jul 9, 2008, 1:47 am
Another case of someone with a dream way too big for possibility, and not enough sense to see the likely outcome of going nutso for huge development.
Gradual growth is normal; explosive growth usually turns out to be cancer.
But the greedy aren’t satisfied to start small and grow slowly, and instead try to build a megaresort or megawhatever in an extremely short time, so they can be rich and famous and whatever else they desire in a few years.
Mom-and-pop stores almost never make anybody rich, but they often provide a decent living in exchange for hard work for many, many years.
As for Antiphobe: I hope you’re being sarcastic here and don’t really believe that providing decent jobs for people for a few years and then dumping them out with the trash is a good thing.
And to Bob Blurton: If you went up and looked at the crap lumber they were using in much of the construction, I think you already know it would make lousy firewood. Still, free firewood is free firewood.
Jul 9, 2008, 10:43 am
The story in the WSJ does not mention that JPB has been involved in getting this project off the ground for at least 20 or 25 years. Does everyone remember when he called the project “Valbois”?
My friends at a title company in Cascade were salivating over the amount of business they expected to be coming in and were 100 percent sure the project was going to get completed.
I was doing a lot of business in Valley County but was skeptical back then about the project. It just seemed to me that owning overpriced property in such a remote location with access only by driving up SH 55 would appeal to enough people to make the project worthwhile.
Unfortunately there are probably a lot of people who haven’t been paid for work or supplies and will lose out big time.
Jul 10, 2008, 2:45 am
A French Bank financed it, locals property values increased, Cascade residents got jobs, and someone will pick up the pieces and make money…and the resort will go on.
Jul 10, 2008, 8:40 am
I’ve been involved in the developement/homebuilding industry in the West for the past 5 “boom” years and I’ve seen how many (not all mind you there are good ones) of those same subcontractors treated owners and builders. They held builders (general contractors) and customers hostage with unprecedented margins and profits. They are as much to blame for the inflationary spike in home prices as anyone. Many were made millionars over the past years. Do I feel bad for them now – no I don’t not one bit. 90% of them have absolutely no business sense – if they did they would have had checks and balances in place to review their accounts payable and stop working for Tamasham before they were overly exposed. Greed got them into the boat that they are in – same as it did some builders/developers. Quit pointing the finger at the biggest targets – there is plenty of blame to go around.
Jul 10, 2008, 9:19 am
Gordon – “providing decent jobs for people for a few years and then dumping them out with the trash” what are you kidding me? Guess I wasn’t aware that Valley County had instituted a Socialist form of government. Yes good paying jobs were provided for a number of years and now they are gone – that is the way our free market economy and employment base works. If you don’t understand that you have much bigger problems to contend with than the demise of this silly ski resort. Read the paper my man – jobs come and go all the time this is no different than any other industry.
Jul 10, 2008, 10:35 am
I expect the county assessor is worrying about property tax collections in the following years. And the extreme growth in property values has to be hurting the long time residents.
Jul 10, 2008, 6:21 pm
I do read the paper — every day. Plus assorted news magazines, online news sites, etc. So, yes, I am well aware that jobs come and go. I also am aware that some jobs last for many, many years, sometimes decades, perhaps centuries.
Many times, though, the ones that start out sounding best are the ones that crash and burn in a few years. (Some really are great and could last forever, unless an Agee type knocks ’em to the ground, a la Morrison-Knudsen. )
But pie-in-the-sky grandiose pipe dreams like Tamarack (aka Valbois) and the Tower (aka The Hole, and whatever the latest pipe-dreamer is calling it) fail far more frequently than more carefully planned, financed and slowly developed projects.
Remember Joe Albertson? Started out with one little store, gradually grew it into a large chain over many years. Then, when the new greedoids took it over and began buying up every chain in sight while also building more stores, it flared up into more than 2,000 stores — and then collapsed like a house of cards.
Yep, there are still stores called Albertsons, but they’re Supervalue and a few other companies. Mighty Joe’s empire has crumbled after all his years of gradual growth.
Seems to me some part of J.R. Simplot’s megabiz (another one built over many years from almost nothing) have been evaporating lately, since Jack no longer had a tight hold on the reins.
OK, you undoubtedly know of a few (hundred) others that also began imploding after expanding too rapidly. And the benefits to the workers during the growth are more than offset by the devastating losses to those same workers (and subcontractors, etc.) when everything falls apart.
Oh, in interest of full disclosure: I worked for The Idaho Statesman for nearly 40 years — the first few years under Federated Newspapers, then the rest of that time under Gannett.
Escaped just before rapidly growing Gannett began shrinking like a deflating helium balloon. Where is it now?
But, if you’re happy with short-term jobs that disappear like dandelion fuzz in the wind, that’s fine. Don’t worry; be happy.
Jul 11, 2008, 2:15 pm
I was going to make the same points, but you did it quicker, and better.
Jul 16, 2008, 12:11 pm
I was gonna make the exact same points as Gordon, even using the same phrases, but he beat me to it and so I won’t make the points now.