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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


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For the week of June 12 - 18, 2002


Housing director 
plans to resign

Express Staff Writer

Blaine County’s affordable housing guru is preparing to look for greener grasses.

Gates Kellett told the Blaine County Housing Authority last week she would leave her post on Aug. 16 and would look for a new job in the meantime.

Gates Kellett

Since arriving in the Wood River Valley a year and a half ago, Kellett has worked diligently to alleviate the local affordable housing shortage. But while she’s made some progress chipping away at anti-housing sentiment and reworking Ketchum and Blaine County ordinances, little, if any, housing has resulted.

Kellett’s fate isn’t altogether different than that of former director Steve Amsbaugh, who quit after about a year. Upon his resignation, Amsbaugh said he was leaving because of lack of momentum, particularly at the countywide level. And that lack of momentum nearly dwindled to a grinding halt when he resigned and was not replaced for almost a year.

Kellett declined to comment when asked if she was leaving because the program lacks momentum. She said an official release about her resignation would be forthcoming.

It could be argued, however, that the program is still spinning its wheels.

The Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission is still revising an affordable housing ordinance it's been drafting off and on since 1997. Also, in public hearings this winter, Ketchum citizens vehemently protested a project that could have provided 20 affordable housing units.

The Ketchum project was one Kellett said last summer could become a model that might pave the way for future projects. Not only was public sentiment for the project hostile, but the proposal’s financing ultimately fell through.

A potential difference between Kellett’s and Amsbaugh’s resignations, however, is that it appears that Kellett may immediately be replaced.

While vague about the issue, Ketchum Mayor Ed Simon said the city will advertise to fill the position.

"I want to have a strong input from Ketchum, whether the focus is from the Blaine County Housing Authority or the Ketchum Housing Commission, because I do think our problems in Ketchum are distinct," he said.

"Gates came to do a very difficult job, and it hasn’t gotten any easier," he added.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.