81225 action… zip code dominance, recall overkill and Telly!

Spotlight on Mt. Crested Butte! Telly’s back, Roman might have to leave and new signs will be popping up all over town! 81225 is the place to be for action — so much so that you apparently don’t even have to leave Crested Butte to be in Mt. CB…

In what is sort of like an episode of The X-Files, a parallel world experience now exists in Crested Butte where, after crossing the post office annex threshold near the Majestic Theater, you go through the wormhole and end up in Mt. Crested Butte. 

Some higher-ups at the US Postal Service apparently think it is a great idea to solve a 25-year-old issue a couple of years before the whole local post office miasma will have to be reconfigured after the construction of a new headquarters in CB since the main facility on Elk Avenue loses its lease in early 2026. The issue is based around potential free PO boxes for Mt. CB residents. Free boxes can apparently only go to people whose physical address is in the same zip code as the PO box. 

The abruptly mandated solution to the decades-old problem is to immediately take that slice of CB with the annex that holds a thousand PO boxes and impose an 81225 zip code on it…even when a bunch of those boxes are rented by residents of Crested Butte or rural Gunnison County. And of course, the boxes are actually located in the 81224 zip code (Crested Butte) and managed by people working at the…Crested Butte Post Office. X-Files!

But cross the annex threshold and the powers that be in the USPS think that instead of empty restaurant spaces on Elk Avenue, you will be transported to 81225 and experience the empty restaurant spaces at the Base Area. Instead of understated directional signs pointing people to the RV Dump Station, you can experience the cool but expensive directional signs that sort of look like skis! (Side note: Reading the story about the Mt. CB wayfinding plan in last week’s paper, I’m still a little blown away that the town expects to spend $483,000 on 12 signs…proof the town and DDA are doing okay financially!) Anyway, back to the annex where FirstTracks might swing by Clark’s and take you to the Snodgrass trailhead since it’s in the same zip code! Can 81225 boxholders vote in the Roman recall? 

Now granted, that annex spot was originally a space for residents of Mt. Crested Butte to get their mail after that town’s post office closed its doors, but over the years, no residency delineation was made and people from all over the valley were assigned boxes there. And now the USPS is going realllllly old school and returning to the 1990s by forcing the 81225 zip code in that space. It actually would make sense if that decision had been made three decades ago when the Mt. CB postal annex was formed since putting all the 81225 peeps in the same spot makes sense from a mail perspective. It will also make it easier to track online sales tax that should go to Mt. CB instead of 81224’s CB coffers. Still…

Ultimately, postal officials seem to want CBers and nearby subdivision residents to use the current Elk Avenue location and then move the boxes to a new facility when that is built. That too makes sense. But let’s not forget that there is little to no street delivery in the North Valley so practically, does it really matter? And it’s not like the free PO box transition is happening at warp speed. 

Ideally, this “fix” should be completely sorted out when a new CB post office building is constructed. So, why not make it easy and just wait until then? Is it the end of the world? No. Will it be a pain in the butt for some? Yes.

As one boxholder noted, this is one step back for two steps forward, but it feels like a needless immediate step through some time-space wormhole that throws an unneeded complication in some people’s lives…

On that Mt. CB recall wormhole…how exciting that the first real election in decades is a recall! Two of the supporters laid out their reasoning for the recall effort in letters to the paper last week. They said they weren’t tweaked so much by the results of a decision that councilmember Roman Kolodziej made as Mountain Express board chair over replacing a bus route with a more expensive on-demand service, but with the lack of respect and communication he paid them when they disagreed with the direction. Fair complaint from constituents, but as I’ve mentioned before, it is a complaint that I think should be addressed during the next regular election. Recalls should be used for serious malfeasance on a councilmember’s part — not just when constituents think a councilmember is a jerk. 

There were certainly some initial missteps with the FirstTracks process centered on lack of deep communication and timing of the contract with FirstTracks being signed. While a fair move to vote against and even actively campaign against a politician who makes decisions contrary to what a constituent might believe, recalling a small-town politician because he’s perceived as not being accessible, respectful or as nice as you’d like is over the top. 

While happy to see civic engagement up there in 81225, I don’t think voters should be bludgeoning Roman or the town (the election is costing taxpayer dollars) with a recall. Pushing the edge of political punishment for local politicians who are essentially volunteering for their community is in my view, overkill. Given the number of candidates in the ring, I’m not sure how it will end up for Roman, but I would recommend Mt. CB citizens cast their vote against a recall.

And — Telly is back in a sweet new frame at the North Face Lift. While technically not in Mt. CB, it’s close enough…closer than the 81225 post office annex. I love the explanation from CBMR’s Bryce Hanna who obviously understands the significance of the unique totem at the NFL (see letter on page 3). He took good care of Telly who is now back in his proper place awaiting your touch before loading the T-bar. 

—Mark Reaman

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