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The Taylor Ranch Neighborhood Association (TRNA) was established in 1980 to promote the preservation, protection and improvement of the quality of life in Taylor Ranch. It has acted as liaison to city, county and state governments on a variety of issues that affect our community.  A history of the TRNA is recorded here as a tool to move forward in pursuit of its goals.

If you have additional insights about TRNA history, please contact the TRNA historian, TRNA webmaster, or TRNA board member.  Additional historical material is available in the TRNA Library.
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  • History Corner #1
Silver Anniversary
by Fred van Berkel

The Taylor Ranch Neighborhood Association was incorporated on February 28, 1980. That is why we will celebrate the Silver Anniversary in 2005.  However, before this Neighborhood Association was formed, a small group of residents organized  the College Heights-Taylor Ranch Homeowners Association in 1976  and incorporated the Homeowners Association in 1978. The boundaries were: Coors on the East, Montaño on the north, Calle Nuestra on the West and Dellyne on the South.  This Homeowners Association became inactive when TRNA was formed.

What were the issues at that time?   The Coors Corridor Study,  where will a bridge be built,  air and noise pollution, traffic congestion, and school overcrowding.  This list was compiled long before LBJ, the Paseo del Norte Bridge or the Montaño Bridge were built and before Dellyne was paved.  I remember going door to door back then, with a petition to beg the city to give us a street lamp on the corner of Montaño and Coors so we could find Montaño at night !!!

  • History Corner #2
The Coors Corridor Plan
by Fred van Berkel

When TRNA was born in 1980, it didn't have much time to grow up.  One of the hot issues of the early 80’s was the Coors Corridor Plan.  Although the corridor is only about 10 miles long, it would greatly affect the future of our neighborhood.  Thanks to a number of members of TRNA, we had our say in the plan.  In this column I would like to distill the plan to its fundamental parts.

“The Coors corridor will be a limited access parkway.” The corridor is divided into four segments:
  1. Central – I-40
  2. I-40 – Western Trail
  3. Western Trail – Calabacillas Arroyo
  4. Calabacillas Arroyo – N.M. 528
Each segment was then analyzed in terms of :
  1. Traffic: “At present, the boulevard experiences congestion during peak traffic periods. (1980!)  It is estimated that traffic will increase 250% by 2005
  2. Environmental concerns: “Preserve and enhance the natural landscape features of the corridor such as the Bosque, the Oxbow Marsh and the arroyos. “ (By the way, the Oxbow Marsh is located along the Rio Grande immediately below the bluff which borders Pius High School/Catholic Center on the east.) “This 37 acre wetland area provides the only marshland/aquatic habitat in the urban area—it must be protected”
  3. Land issues and integrity of development: “Encourage residential, commercial and cluster development.  Approximately 80% of the land fronting Coors Boulevard is presently undeveloped.”
  4. Visual impression: protect and enhance view within the Coors Corridor.  “Significant views beyond the corridor, including the volcanoes, the escarpments, the arroyos, the Bosque, the Rio Grande Valley and the Sandia Mountains as viewed from Coors Boulevard should be preserved and enhanced.”
This was 25 years ago.  Take an easy drive along Coors (if that is possible, and see for yourself the execution of this plan.  The plan is being revised.

P. S. Did you know that the average sales price for a home in Taylor Ranch in 1979 was $47,000 and ONE YEAR LATER, $66, 080?  That is a difference of more than $18,000 in one year.  TR Property values were sky-rocketing in those days.

  • History Corner #3
Early Presidents
by Fred van Berkel

We are still visiting the early years of TRNA.  In this column I would like to introduce you to two past presidents, each with her own story.

I had the pleasure meeting Mrs. Herbert at her home of 30 years in Taylor Ranch.  After two minutes of conversation, I was convinced that this lady is a fighter.  She organized the predecessor of TRNA, the Taylor Ranch/College Heights Homeowners Association.  She was the president and there were two other members.  She didn't like the idea of a shopping center at all four corners around the intersection of Montaño and Coors.  She also fought the plan to build a concrete plant along Montaño east of the river and the building of bridge over the river at Montaño to allow truck traffic to bring the concrete over to Taylor Ranch, which was just starting construction. The bridge was to be built primarily for heavy commercial traffic.  Allwoods wanted to build a store where the vacant Eckerd store is now.  She and her husband were searching for “peace and tranquility…only minutes from Downtown” (Quote from the Albuquerque Journal describing the future site of Taylor Ranch development.)    Way to go, Mrs. Herbert!  Thanks for not letting us be bulldozed over by those who were not even aware that Taylor Ranch was part of the city.  By the way, Mrs. Herbert is for the current Montaño Bridge, a neighborhood street providing a safe, pleasant river crossing.

This brings me to the first president  and board of our association, the Taylor Ranch Neighborhood Association:  Kay Zaike (President), Ken Allen, Lee Black, Mike Creusere, Norma Eager, Roger Harris, Tom Johnson, Toni Olmi, Pat Phillips, Mark Raybold, Vernon Rollerson, Larry Smith, Flori Summers, Fred van Berkel, and Lynn Smaltz.  Can you help us locate any of these people?  We’d like to invite them to help celebrate our 25th anniversary next year.

Another early president was named Ellen Adan.  She was a professional urban planner who designed the little park on Hayes, south of Montaño.  I had the pleasure of being a board member under Ellen’s guidance.  What follows are excerpts from a letter written by Ellen to the Chief of Police (Whitey Hansen).

“Dear Mr. Hansen:

We perceive that we have a problem in lack of police protection. At around 3 am, August 21, 1982, a gentleman residing on Valle Vista (name and address included in the original letter) was awakened by loud noises, shouted threats and foul language.  He checked around his own house and called the police.  He put on the porch light and waited.  No patrol car.  At 5 am another resident called the police.  At 5:30 am a patrol car was spotted in the area.  The first caller talked to the officers and was told that they could do nothing since he was outside the city limits.  The reason for the delay of 2 hours in response:  they could not find his house.   What had happened was massive vandalism to the equestrian center walls, under construction by residents of Saddle Ridge subdivision.  At 7:00 am a contractor who was helping the residents build the walls came onsite and again called the police from a Saddle Ridge resident’s home (no cell phones back then).  A patrol car was sent out and a report taken.  We would like to see this incident checked out on your voice tapes and records and would like to know what will be done to forestall it from happening again”.

Way to go Ellen!

  • History Corner #4
 A Brief History of Marie M. Hughes Elementary School
by Fred van Berkel

Marie M. Hughes Elementary School (5701 Mojave) was named after Dr. Marie M. Hughes, professor emeritus at UNM.  She retired in 1974 from UNM. She had joined the UNM faculty after earlier distinguished careers at the universities of Utah and Arizona.  Marie M. Hughes Elementary School opened in August 1979 with 12 portable classrooms plus an administration building. The projected enrollment was 243 students. By August 28, 1979, the enrollment was 389 students. That same year, in November, construction started on Phase One: 2 kindergarten classrooms, counselor's office, resource room, library, teacher workroom lounge, and cafeteria. The enrollment in August of 1980 was 467 students.  In September 1980 construction started on Phase Two: 17 classrooms, music room, landscaping and playground. By August 1981 the school enrolled 505 students and  the principal was Harold J. Mercer.  The building was dedicated on Sunday, October 18, 1981.  (Thanks to Rita Rincon and Karyl Farris who provided this information.)

In 2004 the enrollment is 750 and the principal is Jami Jacobson.

A related tidbit from the TRNA files: “Jim McCutchen, Bellamah Corp, informed TRNA that the bridge to Marie Hughes Elementary school  is scheduled to be completed by March 1981.”

  • History Corner #5
The Origins of  Montaño Road in Taylor Ranch
by Fred van Berkel

This story is told by Gene Shelton, who, with Art Brown and Jose Yguado, might be called one of the founding grandfathers of our neighborhood. The story of these three entrepreneurs is fascinating, timely and thoroughly American. Here is an abridged version of Gene’s story about how Taylor Ranch, Montaño Road and the Montaño Bridge got started.  I would like to thank Gene Shelton and his charming wife for the time and materials they gave me.  I used their information to put this article together.

“I moved to Albuquerque in 1954, renting a house in the NE Heights. At that time vegetation and trees were sparse.  Menaul was a two-way paved street with a pall of dust extending from the valley to Hofffmantown caused by morning and evening traffic which drove and passed on the shoulders. There was one café on Menaul and two or three on Central East of downtown.

One day, after visiting Corrales,  I noticed a paved road that connected to Corrales road west of the bridge.  In exploring this route south, I found a small airport nearby.  I wondered who the shrewd politician might be who influenced the road department into paving a road without cars, houses or people. On this first trip I drove all the way from the Corrales Bridge south to Central without meeting a car.

In 1960 I met the Taylors, who owned 1000 acres west of the Rio Grande and North of St. Joseph College. They would were willing to sell the land west of Coors (about 350 acres) and would keep the land east of Coors for pasture.

We drove over and took a look.  There were no improvements. On the south and west boundaries was a meandering dirt road with a couple of windmills and some nondescript shacks. Later the east-west part of the dirt street was named Dellyne. 

In September, 1961, I asked the Taylors for an option to buy for the rest of the year to see what I could do about marketing the 350 acres with a mile of frontage on Coors. I gave them $75.00 for the three months remaining of 1961, with a price at $1125.00 an acre. I spent $3.00 on an ad with Albuquerque Publishing, offering to sell land. The next day a man by the name of Art Brown called and wanted to meet me for coffee.

Art was interested in developing the West side. He introduced me to his friend Jose Yguado, who was trained in master planning and zoning. Each gave me $25.00 for 1/3 interest in my option.

We knew it would take a year or longer to accomplish all that we anticipated: zoning approval, master plan, city annexation, and all the infrastructure necessary for a viable project.

By the end of the year we met with the Taylors, explained our plans, and offered to pay $500.00 to extend our option for six months. After that, we kept extending the option for a series of six-month extensions for $1000 each.

Yguado started to work immediately on the Master Plan for a development called College Heights, including a regional shopping center, theaters, schools, churches, apartments and houses.  Art and I were wondering about financing. We formed College Heights Land Company and another company Western Heights, which would be in charge of lot sales. We were able to sell stock to Lyle Talbot, to raise money for our incipient enterprise. 

At one time Art, Joe and I were looking at the plans laid out on a wide table. Joe said we should divide our land into two equal parcels with a road right down the middle, from Coors west to D.W. Falls’ Volcano Cliffs, a development to the west of our property.   He said, “It looks like Montaño Road on the east side of the river lines up pretty well with that projected middle road.” Art agreed.  “Let’s call it Montaño Road, and why not build a bridge straight across the river?” 

In 1963 while I was checking out the survey of Montaño Road, I noticed a grader scraping out the road, going east from Volcano Cliffs. I followed him as he was pushing dirt down to Coors. No doubt there have been a million trips down that hill since that historic occasion when I initiated the first one

We had been stirring up activity with media attention, the beating of drums, and much fanfare. In November, 1963, Art and I had sold 140 acres west of our planned  College Heights development to Albuquerque Gravel Products Company for $175,000.00.  On November 4, 1964, the College of St. Joseph hosted a meeting to promote West Side infrastructure, especially the construction of a bridge at Montaño.  

In a memo on November 7, 1964, before implementation of our annexation by the city,  Art detailed imminent problems relating to the difficulty of selling land, our precarious financial condition (only $1150 in the bank and all of it committed toward development costs), the scheduling of a TV special, the polling of the new city  commission on the need for the Montaño Bridge and the touting of our property for sale.

By January 10, 1965, the Syndicate of Brown, Shelton, Talbot and Yguado held title to 12.85 acres with all city  utilities, continued to hold an option on 333 acres of prime land and owned capital of $30, 000 in Western Estate stock and  $30,000 in College Heights stock. In 1966 we exercised the option and bought the land.  On paper, it looked good, but in truth the company was virtually broke. 

Although the Coronado Freeway (I-40) bridge opened in 1965, it was still hard to develop College Heights.  In 1967 we tried to give away a lot on a corner with Dellyne, all utilities included, to any builder who would start construction within 30 days.  There were no takers.  I told my partners that times are bad when you can't give land away. Paradise Hills had blocks of houses unsold, boarded up, with tumbleweeds up to the windows.

So, eventually we lost.  We had dreams and we had plans. All that we laid out on paper and on the ground was eventually accomplished by others.   This is our legacy.  We shed no tears.  We would go forward with other dreams. Our promotional land development is but a microcosm of American enterprise. We caused things to happen.”
  • History Corner #6
History Corner # 6:  Country Living in the City
by Fred van Berkel

I wrote this article for the Coalition of Albuquerque Neighborhoods Newsletter over 20 years ago.  It was also published in our TRNA newsletter in August 1983.  It emphasizes the need for a strong neighborhood, which is still true today.

<>Country Living in the City

<>“Oh, what a view”… With that picture in mind, many of the present Taylor Ranch people bought a piece of the West.  Golf course, equestrian center, single family homes… all too good to be true.  Bulldozers and moving vans met each others on the dangerous Coors Road and the unpaved Dellyne. But things started changing. The master plan had  to be revised: the developer proposed  smaller lots, apartment buildings, a six lane highway that would  cut Taylor Ranch in two (running next to the power lines),  a shopping center the size of Winrock/Coronado combined, and out with the equestrian center  and the golf course.  It became a matter of money:  what could the developer squeeze out of the land (we can’t blame them; they are in business to make money) and how could the developee keep up the value of his home.

Against this background the Taylor Ranch Neighborhood Association was born.  I believe we have one of the finest associations in town: maybe not in quantity but certainly in quality.   We may not always agree among each other (an example below), but we have successfully made deals (what politics is all about). We do not have a six lane highway through the middle of Taylor Ranch, we will have a sized down shopping center, we have a small park, we have a dust ordinance (recently acquired), and we still have an equestrian center.  In our dealing with other organizations, developers, or the city,  the Board tries to keep in mind that it is not a choice between good and evil , but between two goods and that it is better to compromise than to antagonize.

Now we have the bridge issue. In our June [1983], newsletter we asked people to answer the following question: “Do you favor a bridge at Montano?”  46 said yes, 7 no, and 6 preferred a bridge at El Pueblo. The circulation of the questionnaire was approximately 1100 homes during June and July. Assuming that two people per household could have read the question, approximately 2200 people could have answered.  Only 59 did.  A 2.5 % response is hardly overwhelming. The Board members themselves are split on the issue and the response to our survey, although strongly preferring a bridge at Montano, wasn’t a large enough number for us to be able to say: “the residents of Taylor Ranch want a bridge at Montano.”

There are good arguments for and against a bridge at Montano: “The bridge at Montano is the cheapest.” That is a good point. “Why bring half of Rio Rancho down Coors past Paradise Hills before they can cross the river?” That’s a good point too.

When all the committees’  and subcommittees’ work is done, when the politicians find the issue no longer attractive, when the traffic becomes so overpoweringly messed up, the bridges (wherever they may be) will come.  In the meantime give us something that is politically attractive to solve the traffic problems: more buses, a lane for share-a –ride, or widening the entrance to I-40 East at Coors.

<>General Patton ordered parts for his tanks from the Sears Catalog.  He was a manager. He could have waited; he didn’t. He chose to solve the problem.

<>Fred van Berkel, President, Taylor Ranch Neighborhood Association [1983]

PS. At the August 1983 Board meeting, the TRNA Board of Directors voted 7 - 6 to support a bridge at Montano.

  • History Corner #7, Part One
History Corner # 7:  The Apartments - Part One

This History Corner  article, in four parts,  was written by John Hemler, former director of TRNA.  John is many things: Lt Col. Ret. [editor's correction: Col., not Lt. Col., see part two below], US Army; initiator of the TRNA Youth Committee; leader of the TRNA anti-graffiti campaign that was the model for the city’s program; member of TRNA for over 25 years, and more.  John is uniquely qualified to write about the apartment mess of 1989.  He and his wife Miargie watched this drama unfold  from their balcony across the street.  Thanks for capturing this part of Taylor Ranch history, John!

In mid-May, 1989, as I was returning home form an errand, I saw workmen digging what appeared to be utility ditches at the north west corner of Montaño and San Ildefonso.  Since I lived diagonally across the street on Montaño, I was curious and I stopped to talk to one of the workmen.  He informed me that they were preparing the utility ditches and foundations for some apartments.  I knew that the land was zoned for apartments, and, after several more questions about their height (two-story, within code) and number of units (20), I left.  I did not realize then that what I was witnessing would evolve into the most significant and longest crisis ever to face Taylor Ranch residents!

In early June, 1989, TV news reports began to show two rather dilapidated apartment structures being moved from a site near the Presbyterian Hospital, east of I-25. As the days went by, continuing coverage showed the apartments roll onto I-25 and then north to Bernalillo.  No destination had been provided by those reporting the news.  The apartments approached Bernalillo, crossed the Rio Grande and moved south through Rio Rancho and on to Coors Blvd. City residents watched the coverage with interest, speculating on where they would end up.  Finally, on June 12th, they arrived at the northwest corner of Montaño and San Ildefonso!

The Taylor Ranch community was in an uproar!  What were these run-down, two-story, recycled hospital housing units doing in Taylor Ranch?   The following chronology summarizes what happened next:

The Taylor Ranch community was in an uproar!  What were these run-down, two-story, recycled hospital housing units doing in Taylor Ranch?   The following chronology summarizes what happened next:

1.    A 6 foot high chain link fence (city code for renovation sites) was raised around the apartment site and the buildings were placed on foundations.

2.    Taylor Ranch residents began picketing the site and gathering petition signatures to remove the apartments.

3.    On Jun 16th our City Councilor, Pat Baca, called a meeting of residents and city officials.  At the meeting, city officials informed us that the apartment owners had met all legal requirements for installing and renovating the apartments.  However, Councilor Baca told us that he would initiate a council resolution to condemn them and the Mayor, Ken Shultz, through his spokesman, assured us he would do all that he could to resolve the issue.  It was a city council/mayoral election year, so, from a cynical viewpoint, we probably got more attention from the media and city officials running for election than we would have normally received.  Also, at this meeting an ad hoc committee of Taylor Ranch residents was formed to examine possible solutions and focus the problem.

4.    Two lawsuits were drafted by Taylor Ranch neighborhood associations, the first being a request to the courts for an injunction to stop work at the site and the second being a request to declare the apartments a “private nuisance” or “public nuisance” and condemn them.  A lawyer, Robert Aragon, who lived in Taylor Ranch provided his services pro bono to the neighborhood.

5.    On June 21st, a formal letter to the Mayor requested that actions be taken against the owner of the apartments through condemnation or other proceedings. The letter was signed by the presidents of TRNA and several other neighborhood associations.

6.    On June 22nd, a small group of Taylor Ranch residents met informally with several of the owners.  At the the meeting, the owners described some of  the renovations planned. Several additional renovations were offered, but the residents made it clear that their primary objective remained – removal of the apartments from the site.

7.    On July 10th, the Mayor and some of his staff met with several of the apartment owners to determine if a trade for other city property was feasible.  The next day, the owners provided their written requirements for such a trade:

“a) Trade of property (their one acre plus the apartments) for 9.5 acres northwest of the intersection of Coors Road and Interstate 40 with a change of zoning for this parcel to R-3 which would allow apartments.
b) Reimbursement for present expenses in the sum of $277,000.
c) Cost of transporting building to a new site and completion..
d) A lease of the apartments for ten years by the city, commencing no later than September 1, 1989, payable at $5000 a month. The city will take over rental of all such apartments.”

8.    On July 12th, the Mayor, in a written reply, stated in part that “The terms proposed in your letter are so unreasonable that they do not constitute a legitimate offer on your part…Therefore, due to your unrealistic approach, I do not feel there is a working basis for further discussions.”

The issue seemed to be at an impasse! (Next Article-The Fight Continued)

  • History Corner #7, Part Two
History Corner # 7, Part Two:  The Apartments - Part Two - The Fight Continued
by John Hemler
[Before you start reading about the apartment mess – part two, I have to make a correction. When I introduced John, our author, in the last issue, I demoted him to Lt. Col. WRONG! It should have been Colonel John Hemler. Furthermore I butchered his wife’s name as well. Her name is Margie. Sorry John and Margie! ~ Fred van Berkel, Historian]

1. July 16, 1989: Jim Arnholz (Belshaw) devoted his entire Journal column to what he initially dubbed as the “Ancient Mariner Apartments”. Later in his column, he wrote: “Then it hit me. These are the UNM Student Ghetto apartments of my college days! So what I propose is that we make them a permanent display: The Albuquerque ‘60s College Apartment Museum.”…….Failing that, I think the least we can do is chip in for a small plaque with the following inscription:

As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean
Renters, renters everywhere,
And not a cleaning deposit to be had.

2. July 17, 1989: A District Court judge issued a temporary injunction to stop work on the site. This injunction was lifted a short time later, primarily because TR residents/ associations were unable to post a $25,000 bond to cover owners’ potential losses. However the lawsuit seeking removal because of private/public nuisance remained on the court docket.

3. July 20, 1989: A special meeting of the City Council was held concerning the apartments. TR residents showed a video of the apartments, presented a petition to have them removed, and individuals spoke to the council, pro and con. Two bills were also presented: a) Councilor Baca’s proposal to condemn the apartments; b) Councilor Pete Dinelli’s proposal to have the City Planning Department examine whether the site could be purchased and used as a park or other use. The Council delayed action on these proposals until their next regular meeting, and asked the City, TR residents, and owners to continue negotiations.

4. July 31, 1989 : The City Council, at its regular meeting, postponed action on the proposed condemnation bill (R-393) for 3 months. By a 5-4 vote, the Council approved the Dinelli bill(R-413). An onerous amendment was added, instructing the Planning Department Director to meet with TRNA to determine if it would be willing to see other City-funded projects in TR postponed or dropped in order to acquire the site.

5. August 16, 1989: A strongly worded TRNA letter to the Mayor condemned the amendment to R-413, stating that it would create “dissension and discord” (among the residents) and “would divide the community.” It also stated that TRNA had met with the Planning Director and found that “there are no projects to be negotiated under current law and funding.”

6. September 6, 1989: The Planning Department report was presented to the City Council. It estimated that the property/ apartments value, when fully completed, would be $850,000 to $1,000,000. It also stated that “such an acquisition would have long term effects on the Capitol Program and several projects would need to be deferred.” It recommended that “Due consideration must be made before any such land purchase.” It also concluded that acquisition of the property through the process of eminent domain would be difficult to achieve and would increase the cost. The resolution was tabled.

7. September 6,1989: TRNA and other neighborhood associations sent a letter to Mayor Shultz stating that the approach by the Planning Department was misdirected and that attention should be concentrated on eminent domain condemnation.

8. September 7, 1989: Mayor Shultz responded, stating that he was continuing to try all methods to resolve the issue

9. September 22,1989: Mayor sends a letter to the City Council President (Steve Gallegos) stating that his conversations with the owners’ attorney have indicated that they are willing to negotiate the sale of the apartments /land on reasonable terms, based upon appraisals from 2 independent sources. Mayor asked City Council to approve this negotiation process.

10. 0ctober 25, 1989: Because of campaigns and Mayoral/ Councilor elections in early October, a resolution(EC-458) to authorize the negotiation process was not introduced to the Council until this date.

11. November 5, 1989: City Council approved EC-458 by a 5-4 vote. TR residents packed the chambers. Consideration of the condemnation bill (R-393) was postponed another month.

12. December 1, 1989: A new Mayor (Louis Saavedra) and 4 new councilors took office.

13. December 8, 1989: The newly reconstituted City Council rejected R-393, the condemnation resolution.

14. December 22, 1989: A spokesman for the new Mayor stated that the new administration had dropped the proposal(EC-458) for the City to purchase the apartment complex because “there are no funds to purchase it .” He went on to state that “The City’s role will be to only ensure the complex is brought up to codes.”

These actions stunned TR residents, and, although the lawsuit to condemn the apartment complex as a “private/public nuisance” was still in the court system, all seemed lost!!
Next : Our Options Narrow. .

  • History Corner #7, Part Three
History Corner # 7, Part Three:  The Apartments - Part Three - Our Options Narrow
by John Hemler

  1. January, 1990: TR representatives met with staff members of the new administration. They continued the litany that we had heard so many times—the apartments were legally sited, and even though minimal (if any) renovations had occurred in the 6 months since their arrival in TR, the owners had a legal permit to perform these renovations—“The City’s role will be to only ensure the complex is brought up to codes.”

  2. January, 1990: In December, TRNA received a set of interrogatories ( legal jargon for formal questions or inquiries) from the owners attorney as a part of the process regarding our law suit for condemnation. Our responses were filed with the Court in January.

  3. April 11, 1990: A Journal article reported that PNM was suing the owners for expenses that occurred when the structures were moved from their old location on the east side to TR. The article also mentioned that a fire had occurred at the apartments in late March which fire officials suspected was arson. In an interview with one of the owners, he said that “ renovation had been slowed by a dispute with the previous owners, preventing him from refinancing the project”.

  4. May, 1990: The permit to renovate the apartments was extended to November, 1990 by the City.

  5. June, 1990: The TRNA president had appointed an ad hoc committee to take a new and broader look at our possible options. (A year had gone by and little or no renovation activity had occurred.)

  6. August 21, 1990: Based upon one of the ad hoc committee’s recommendations, a TRNA letter was sent to Mayor Saavedra with copies to all City Councilors. It requested : a) The owners permit , due to expire in November, not be renewed. b) If, because of current law, the permit must be renewed, that such renewal be approved by the City Council, and that performance bond of no less than $200,000 be required of the owners to guarantee completion of construction within 6 months. c) Assuming non-renewal , that the owners be notified to remove the structure within 30 days.

  7. August 23, 1990: Earle Waid, Assistant to the Mayor, said that his office had been told that the owners had secured a construction loan for the controversial apartments in TR. He said “They’ve got a contractor on board, the subs(contractors) are ready to go, it’s just a matter of getting the title cleared and then getting the construction money—I hope.”

  8. August, 1990: In late August, the defendants(owners) lawyer filed a motion in District Court to have the TRNA law suit dismissed, basically on the grounds that the plaintiffs “are not a proper party to bring this law suit” and “ this law suit has put a cloud over the defendants title and bars defendants from refinancing so the apartment refurbishing can be completed .” A hearing on this motion was scheduled in District Court for September 5, 1990.

  9. September 5, 1990: The hearing was held in District Judge Rozier Sanchez’s chambers. At the conclusion of this hearing, Judge Sanchez:
    a) Stated that TRNA’s charges of “public” and “private” nuisance had sufficient grounds to merit adjudication in the courts.
    b) Directed TRNA’s pro bono attorney, Robert Aragan, to prepare an order for Judge Sanchez’s signature, enjoining the City of Albuquerque to become an “involuntary plaintiff”. The City was given 30 days after receiving the order in which to give satisfactory reasons to the judge for not joining, or they would have to join.
    c) The defendants’ motion to dismiss TRNA’s law suit was taken under advisement until such time as the City joins the lawsuit or not.

  10. September 16, 1990: < Judge Sanchez, in an unexpected move, dismissed the TRNA lawsuit on “technical grounds” . He did, however, order the owners to obtain financing and began renovation work by March 19, 1991!!

  11. Next: The Conclusion--A Surprise Ending.

  • History Corner #7, Part Four
History Corner # 7, Part Three:  The Apartments - Conclusion - A Surprise Ending
by John Hemler
The following events in 1990-91 brought this saga of “The Apartments” to a surprise ending:

1. September 26, 1990: Earl Waid, Assistant to the Mayor, responded to TRNA’s August 21 letter requesting that the renovation permit not be extended beyond November. He stated: “We share your frustration width the lack of action taken by the owners to complete the apartments moved to your neighborhood. However, the owners have met all City requirements and have a valid building permit. The current permit was extended for 6 months in May, 1990, and will expire this coming November. If there is not substantial progress made at that time, it is the intent of Code Administration to void the permit and the City will then take action against the owners to remedy the situation.” This gave us some hope.

2. October, 1990: Two events occurred: a) A “For Sale” sign was placed at the apartment site; b) A large graffiti message appeared on the west (back) side of the apartments. It read “SADDAM –AIM SCUD MISSILES HERE”. (Desert Storm was underway in Iraq.) Because the complex was surrounded by a 6 foot chain link fence, our TRNA anti-graffiti team was unable to remove the message!!

3. November 9, 1990: A Journal article reported that the apartments were for sale and that State Senator Marty Chavez (west side) was drafting a bill appropriating State funds to buy the structure. He said “The idea is to get rid of them. They just don’t belong here.”

4. December, 1990: Just before Christmas, TRNA received a telephone call from Waterman, Inc., the company that had moved the apartments to TR.. We were informed that Waterman, Inc., through litigation to recover their moving costs, had obtained clear title to the apartments and land. They requested a meeting in early January to discuss options with some members of the TRNA board.

5. January 5, 1991: Three board members met with the President and Albuquerque General Manager of Waterman Inc. Mr. Waterman informed us that he was considering two options:
a) recycling (renovating) the apartments using the current design and permit and then selling the property;
b) selling the apartments and land “as is “ to a new buyer to recoup his investment.
We asked him to consider a third option – selling the property to the City and moving them to another location (This option had been pursued the past year, with negative results, but we wanted to try one more time !!)

6. January, 1991: During the second week of January, the Waterman General Manager and I traveled to a number of locations in Santa Fe, Los Alamos, and Albuquerque, where Waterman had moved in structures and renovated them . I became convinced that Waterman Inc. had the capabilities and resources to make such recycled efforts fit very well into their surroundings and decided to recommend Waterman’s first option (recycling) to the entire TRNA Board. Also during this time, board members met again with City officials on the third option (selling to the City) and received the same negative responses: no money and little interest.

7. January 15, 1991: The TRNA Board met to consider the options and to prepare recommendations for the general membership to be presented at a special membership meeting in early February. The board agreed with the recommendation to pursue Waterman’s recycling option.

8. January 17, 1991: When Waterman was informed of our proposed recommendation to the general membership, they informed us that they wanted to do a cost benefit analysis to determine if it was reasonable to execute this option. In late January, Waterman informed us that they had completed the cost benefit analysis and had determined that it was not a reasonable business option for them. Therefore, they had decided to raze the apartments, remove the debris, and consider other options for the property!!

9. February, 1991: Razing began in early February. On February 18th my wife and I sat on our balcony located across the street from the razing and toasted with champagne as the last (Saddam…..) wall came tumbling down. On February 22, the last debris was removed. The ordeal was finally over for TR!!

POSTSCRIPT 1: As you can see when you drive up Montaño past the “ apartments” location at San Ildefonso, a series of well-planned townhouses/condos now occupy the area.

POSTSCRIPT 2: In the mid-90s, the City Council passed an ordinance designed to prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again!!

  • History Corner #8
History Corner # 8:  West Side’s story isn’t all so new.
By Bill Slakey ( or 823-3642).
(This story is reproduced with permission of the Albuquerque Tribune. It is a copyrighted article originally published in the Neighborhood Trib: ON YOUR BLOCK section. Thursday 03/03/05, p. B1.)

"Here, they were supposed to build that six-lane highway." Fred van Berkel points from his truck as he heads down Montaño Road through Taylor Ranch. Out the window, you see what the neighborhood association envisioned instead of a giant road: an arroyo, power lines, bike trails -a thin slice of open space through the acres of houses.

It's even more than that, though. It's a slice through time to the mid-'70s, when this was all open space, and the West Side of today was just a crazy idea. Van Berkel remembers. In 1977, he and his wife, Ceil, bought a house in one of the first sections of Taylor Ranch. They sold that house and moved a few blocks away when he built them a new one. After a decade or so, they moved overseas.

Then, they came back to the old neighbourhood.

“It feels like a little town," Cell van Berkel says.

It's easy to see the West Side as nothing but dust, bulldozers and overnight construction. Seen through the van Berkels' eyes, it's something different -a place shaped by the slow, hard work of a community; the results sometimes hidden by time.

Fred van Berkel can remember petitioning to get a streetlight at Montaño and Coors Boulevard. "Not a traffic light, a streetlight," he says.

He can show you the original developer's office near the corner of Taylor Ranch Road and Montaño. It's now the West Side YMCA. He can show you the lot with the fabulous view at the corner of Dellyne Road and Valle Vista Drive that couldn't be given away in the '70s.

More than that, he can show you a community’s victories. Here's the first park, Montaño West, a neighbourhood playground the Taylor Ranch Neighborhood Association pushed for and a board member designed.

Here's Mariposa Basin Park, first proposed as a commercial softball field. Now it's a place for the whole community - and home of the annual Easter egg hunt. Here's the library. Here are schools. Here's the community center that finally opened in October.

"People think Taylor Ranch is new, and they think 'A community center?' But it's been 25 years," van Berkel says.

Twenty-five years ago this week, the Taylor Ranch Neighborhood Association was incorporated. It will celebrate that anniversary June 4 with a community party at Mariposa Basin Park.

Through the years, it has been a "rational" association, van Berkel says, willing to compromise, not wedded to one issue. That might be how it survives its defeats -and there have been some of those, too.

The van Berkels live in Saddle Ridge. Behind their house sits the old West Side Equestrian Center. For three years, since the lease expired, the neighborhood fought to keep the fields from being becoming more houses. They lost.

But just on the other side of the center, there's an arroyo, power lines, bike trails -a slice of open space through acres of houses.

"Here, they were supposed to build that six-lane highway," van Berkel says.

Submitted by Fred van Berkel (899-2738,

  • History Corner #9
History Corner #9:  TRNA's 25th Anniversary Celebration
by Fred van Berkel, Historian, TRNA

Well we made a little bit of history Friday and Saturday June 3th and 4th [2005] respectively.

On Friday night we had a reception for the members of the Taylor family, former board members of TRNA, and local elected officials. Music was provided by a volunteer harpist, Linda Kennedy and some delicious food was prepared by the kitchen staff of Pin Seekers. The history board prepared by Ken Newman was displayed. The crowd of about 65 had a good time. (Later the next week the history board was put out in the community center for all to enjoy and later parts of the board were placed in the permanent glass display case in the hall.)

Saturday morning started at six am. Volunteers were at work at six fifteen. The exhibitors set up their info tables and other volunteers were setting up the signs, games and food booths. The sound system was tested and by 10 am we were ready for the opening ceremony.

There were people everywhere: in the parking lot were the antique cars, the climbing rock, and the strong presence of the Albuquerque Police Department: Crime Prevention, Recruiting, Traffic, DWI, Mobile Command Post, Bomb Squad (the dancing robot was a great success). There were several units from the Sheriff’s department and the Albuquerque Fire Department was LAO out in force with Fire Prevention and ladder and rescue vehicles.

By the pond the children’s play area was constantly busy. On the soccer fields we had entertainment, all unique and beautiful. There was plenty of food and drinks. The row of information tables was continuously filled with people. In short it was a festive atmosphere.

Then at about 10 after 1pm, Mother Nature stepped in and threw a tamper tantrum. We weren’t expecting that. All the public safety officers on hand took over and looked after people who needed care. After a delay, the scheduled karate demonstration took place on a grassy field in the playground area and the rest of the performances were held outside the community center.

After the event, I got a number of e-mails and phone calls from people expressing their thoughts about the day. Despite Mother Nature’s damage, they were all positive about the value of the community celebration. The hard work of all our volunteers made many people happy!!

The whole event took months to prepare. I would love to list all volunteers by name but am afraid I will leave somebody out. Therefore, here is one big, huge THANK YOU to all.

Updated: 28 May 2008