Fort Collins Detailed Time Line 1980


The following links are to a chronological index of Fort Collins information compiled by Fort Collins Archive volunteers and staff.
The information is from these reference sources and they are noted in the Time Line. There is also a Brief Time Line available.


City planning continued as a major concern of the city of Fort Collins in the 1980s. Unincorporated border areas were a special problem. These areas often developed in ways inconsistent with standards established by the City, which created problems when these areas were annexed. To obtain some control over this development and avoid inefficient urban sprawl, the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland, joined by Larimer County, instituted the Urban Growth Area Plan in 1980. This plan designated a growth area boundary to accommodate expected development, provided guidelines for development within the boundary, established zoning regulations for development in the growth area, and contained an agreement which assured that land would be annexed by the appropriate adjacent city.

Efficient community development was the goal of the Land Development Guidance System (LDGS) instituted by the City of Fort Collins in 1981. Under this system commercial centers and services are evenly distributed throughout a community. The population density permitted in an area is based on the presence of shopping centers, parks, employment centers, day-care facilities and transit routes in the vicinity. If these are nearby, then projects are permitted a higher density.

The development and restoration of downtown Fort Collins, a consideration begun in the 1970s, continued in the 1980s. In March, 1981, voters created the Downtown Development Authority, made up of downtown property owners. Its' board included one city council member. Their initital concerns were for parking and the undergrounding of utilities. The DDA encouraged downtown development with financial incentives. It also supported projects with money from a five mill tax levy in the DDA district and from tax revenue generated by new development. Projects the DDA has completed or supported include the parking garage on Mountain Avenue near Old Town, Old Town Square on Linden, and plans for a downtown hotel and convention center.

The renovation of Old Town was the goal of Mitchell and Company of Denver in 1981 when they revealed plans for turning Old Town into a viable business district. 200,000 square feet of business space was included in the project, which sought to preserve historic buildings and build new structures compatible with them.

The oldest surviving business in Fort Collins is City Drug, which can trace its' origins to 1873, when a Wyoming pharmacist, M. E. Hocker, and Fort Collins businessman William C. Stover opened a drug store in the old sutlers' store, Old Grout. The business has changed hands and been moved several times. It is now located on the southwest corner of College and Mountain.

Increased growth was blamed, in part, for a two-thirds increase in felony crimes in Fort Collins between 1978 and 1981. The District Attorney felt the crime rate was still "relatively" low. He linked the increase to the country's economic difficulties and to the area's increased population.

An incident of crime in Fort Collins received worldwide attention in 1981 when Eugene A. Tafoya, of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, was convicted of third-degree assault and conspiracy to commit third-degree assault. He had been charged with first-degree attempted murder and conspiracy. Investigators suspected that Tafoya had been hired by a former CIA agent to kill Faisal A. Zagallai, a Libyan dissident who had been critical of Mohammar Khadafy. The agent had been an arms supplier to Libya for terrorist activities. However, there was not enough evidence to connect Tafoya with the agent.

Zagallai, a former CSU student from Libya, received two bullet wounds in the head, causing the loss of sight in one eye. Tafoya claimed self-defense while testifying he'd been sent by the CIA to tell Zagallai to stop his pro-PLO activities. Zagallai denied such activities. Jurors believed Tafoya meant to "rough up" Zagallai, not to murder him. Tafoya was sentenced to two concurrent terms of two years and six months. *He was released on an appeal bond of $10,000 after spending five hours in jail after the conviction.

The famous Fort Collins Subway Hoax was perpetrated in 1982. Bob Terrill of Poudre Magazine wrote a fictional account of a visit to a Fort Collins subway which supposedly was in operation from 1904 to 1918. In great detail Terrill described the eleven mile underground system, including shops and signs. He stated the subway was built to attract the 1904 World's Fair. City officials received many requests for additional information, even from longtime residents.

In April, 1984, Fort Collins experienced the strongest winds ever recorded in its history. Trees were uprooted and sheet metal siding was torn from buildings by winds which reached 95 miles per hour at the CSU campus and 143 miles per hour at the Rawhide Power Plant, about 25 miles north of town. The wind caused at least one million dollars in damage.



COLORADOAN (5/1/1983)

Oldest Business. Also see "Early Drugstores -Phones" 1870s

Article attached to draft copy.



Fort Collins to get new $15 million hotel (1-2-1980 58/6)

ALLBRANDT: Jim Parish family moves to Ft. Collins to open restaurant (10-26-1981 2/4)




COLORADOAN (9/26/1982)

Sugar beet industry on decline in Colorado.

Great Western Sugar Company still operated factories at Loveland and Greeley but they may close, if they do, Colorado farmers will lose millions of dollars.

Beets had big profit potential, but in 1982 Great Western contracted for greater split of net proceeds - said needs new equipment and competition from foreign sugar and corn syrup forcing them to cut payments to farmers.

New contracts (split) only allow farmers to break even, according to local grower.

Great Western slowly reducing acres contracted between 1980-1982, 37.5%. Negotiations and litigation in process. Future uncertain for beets in Colorado.




COLORADOAN (6/21/1981 - "Choice City Guide" Section)

"A recent survey of the Fort Collins area shows the average resident is 39 years old, lives in a single-family home, makes between $10,000 and $20,000 annually, and has lived here between three and ten years. Survey by a "private marketing firm."



Fort Collins rated among top ten small cities by forecasting firm. Cites Fort Collins as having "strong sense of history, community, and environment."

"Strict zoning ordinances allow only non-polluting industries."

Biggest employer - CSU. Others include Eastman Kodak, Hewlett-Packard and Teledyne Water Pik.

Real household income has risen 8% a year since 1975."


COLORADOAN (6/21/1981 - "Choice City Guide" Section)

"Felony criminal cases in Fort Collins courts have risen by two-thirds since 1978." District Attorney Stuart Van Meveren felt rate still "relatively" low. Violent crimes had not increased as rapidly.

District Attorney's opinion on rise of crime points to "links between the amount of crime and the area's increasing population and the effects of recession and inflation."


COLORADOAN (12/5/1981)

Eugene A. Tafoya, of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, was convicted of third-degree assault and conspiracy to commit third-degree assault, misdemeanors. He'd been charged with first-degree attempted murder and conspiracy, which are felonies.

Investigators suspected Edwin P. Wilson, an ex-CIA agent, hired Tafoya to kill Faisal A. Zagallai, a Libyan dissident, because he criticized Mohammai Khadafy. Wilson had been indicted for supplying Libya with military hardware and explosives to be used in terrorist activities. However, there was, apparently, not enough evidence to connect Tafoya with Wilson.

Zagallai received two head wounds and lost sight in an eye from bullet wounds. Tafoya claimed he shot in self-defense.

The jurors said they believed Tafoya went to Zagallai's apartment to 'rough him up,' but not to kill him.

Tafoya testified he was sent by the CIA to tell Zagallai to stop his activities in support of the PLO. He said he shot Zagallai in self-defense.

Zagallai is a former CSU student from Libya.

Zagallai and wife were shocked by decision. Said no evidence brought showing Zagallai supported PLO.

(1/6/1982) Tafoya was sentenced to two concurrent terms of 2 years and 6 months.

Was released on appeal bond ($10,000) after spending only five hours in jail after conviction.

Trial attracted worldwide attention. (12/6/1981)


COLORADOAN (2/22/1981 "Profile" Section, "Quality of Life" sub-section)

Little danger of air pollution from other cities.

While Fort Collins met federal air standards, it has violated carbon monoxide standards in past years.

Control measures:

Emission tests in accordance with Colorado State Bill 231

Computer to synchronize traffic lights to control traffic flow, especially on College Avenue.

Two more buses, reduced incentive rates for buses, buses to run more often.



Fort Collins third fastest growing city in U. S.

Fuel shortages in 1970s prompted City Manager, John Arnold, to develop strategies to create new fuel sources and conserve energy.

65 cars running on methane-non-polluter.

15 electrically powered vehicles.

City purchased farm for sewage sludge disposal to convert crops to alcohol to be used in pure form or to help make gasohol.

Solar energy provided 65% of City Hall's heating needs.

Various programs to conserve energy and promote conservation among residents.


BROCHURE - (Library files)

"The Housing Rehabilitation Department of the City of Fort Collins was created with the idea in mind of eliminating substandard and unsafe housing within the City. With money received from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) in the form of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the program helps low and moderate income persons rehabilitate their homes with grants and/or low interest loans."


DENVER POST (9/28/1981)

Mitchell and Company of Denver revealed plans for a renovation of Old Town into a viable business district. 200,000 sq. ft. of business space included in project. Preservation is goal--hope to save most of existing buildings -- many over 100 years old, though some which are "neither valuable historically nor effective economically" will go. "New structures" compatible with the color and texture of existing ones "will replace them." "If completed as projected, Old Town Center will be of significant magnitude, one of the larger such projects in the county."



"Planning began last winter for the Historic Old Town Parking and Street Beautification project, and construction should begin around the end of August, with completion planned for October, according to Ted Johnston of EDAW, Inc., consultants on the project."

Intersection of Linden and Walnut targeted for most of beautification which will include trees and shrubs, brick paving for sidewalks and crosswalks and light fixtures with cast iron posts similar to originals. Primary aim of renovation - ease traffic congestion, especially on Walnut; make area more of a plaza. Linden and Walnut streets to become one lane.
"Funding for the parking and street beautification project is from a grant of nearly $200,000 in Community Development Funds from Fort Collins through the federal government....Old Town merchants are also participating in returning the original charm and appeal, with plans for buildings and facade renovation, all of which are approved in an area plan, Johnston said."


COLORADOAN (6/5/1983)

Formed in 1981. Group of people who have property downtown.

Board made up of members (originally 11, cut because of attrition) appointed by City Council for four year terms.

From brochure in file:

"The Downtown Development Authority is a public non-profit agency with one overriding goal: to improve downtown Fort Collins. The DDA provides financial incentives to encourage development and redevelopment in downtown Fort Collins. These incentives are needed primarily for two reasons:

(1) It is more expensive for developers to build downtown than in other areas. Land is scarce, and existing improvements add to its' cost.

(2) Decay of the downtown area makes developers and businesses more likely to locate elsewhere. Financial incentives are needed to attract new life and to stop that decay."

Board decides on projects.

Money from 5 mill tax levy in DDA district and increase in taxes (tax increment) generated by new development.

Built parking garage on Mountain near Old Town.

Provided funds for Old Town Square on Linden.

Working on plans of Downtown Hotel and Convention Center, housing and street development, etc.

CHOICE - (Dec. 1981)

Created by vote of the people in March 1981. Initial concerns - parking and undergrounding of utilities. Wanted to create favorable atmosphere to attract businesses.



Columnist Bob Terrill of Poudre Magazine wrote a fictional account of a visit to a Fort Collins subway which supposedly was in operation from 1904 to 1918. "On precise and convincing detail, Terrill described signs and shops along the 11-stop, $1 million-a-mile, underground transit system. The subway was built to help the city land the 1904 World's Fair. An elaborate plan to redraw state lines and make Fort Collins the capital of Wyoming by stealing the state constitution was hatched for the same purpose, Terrill wrote." Fort Collins officials were "hounded by dozens of requests for more information"--even from longtime residents who thought they might have missed a portion of Fort Collins history.



Fort Collins to vote on lowering marijuana penalty (1-23-1980 27/1)

MOTT: Ft. Collins voters defeat liberalization of marijuana laws and new swimming pool and ice skating rink (2-27-1980 19/1)

MOTT: LaPorte and Ft. Collins residents challenge proposed Fort Collins Expressway route (3-9-1980 17/1)

MOTT: Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce endorses area water resource feasibility study (3-27-1980 21/1 Cy)

MOTT: Larimer county residents oppose Ft. Collins growth plan (3-30-1980 11/1)

MOTT: To negotiate restoration of Fort Collins Birney Trolley car (4-10-1980 16/1 cy)

MOTT: Fort Collins officials resent cutting of Fort Collins Expressway from State 5 year plan (5-1-1980 43/1)

MOTT: Ft. Collins government to use electric powered vehicles (8-2-1980 22/1 w/PIC)

Ft. Collins has second largest growth rate of U. S. cities in 1970s (8-14-1980 43/3)

ALLBRANDT: Fort Collins undertakes large street repair project (8-19-1980 14/1)

MOTT: Larimer County jail not to be built in downtown Fort Collins (9-4-1980 2/3)

Rated as one of the 10 best small U. S. cities by Money Magazine (9-30-1980 27/3)

Investigators probe fire at Ft. Collins Fiberglass Company (11-15-1980 33/1)

Approves joint fire district with Poudre Valley Fire Protection District (11-19-1980 25/1)

MOTT: Consolidation of Fort Collins and Poudre Valley Fire Departments draws praise (11-30-1980 43/3)

Fort Collins Housing Authority to separate from city (12-7-1980 18/5)

To consider upgrading city fire and building codes (12-11-1980 30/3)

MOTT: Fort Collins residents oppose routing plans for Fort Collins Expressway (1-29-1981 48/6)

MOTT: Results of Fort Collins city election (4-8-1981 21/2 cy)

Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce hears testimony on conflict of interest by Mayor Elery Wilmarth (5-7-1981 57/1 cy)

Owners of Book Ranch challenge new anti-obscenity law (7-1-1981 23/1)

MOTT: Profile of John Powers (7-19-1981 6/4 R w/pic)

PANKRATZ: Colorado Supreme Court overturns dismissal of libel judgment by Colorado Appeals Court re William C. Manuel (7-27-1981 3/6)

ALLBRANDT: Ft. Collins Downtown Development Authority studies revitalization of downtown Ft. Collins (8-13-1981 63/1 w/pic)

PANKRATZ: Marion Albert Pruett arrested for murders of 7-Eleven clerks (10-19-1981 1/1 A)

Planning Commission gives preliminary approval for expansion of University Mall (11-2-1981 10/4)





KCOL Marathon for the Arts nets $13,000 for Ft. Collins art events (2-15-1980 2/3)

Tom Horn dreaded by Fort Collins residents (5-18-1980 80/1 cy)

ALLBRANDT: Joy Davidson sings in Fort Collins (5-25-1980 20/1)

Programs promote fuel conservation in energy contests (7-5-1980 27/1)

ALLBRANDT: Fort Collins Symphony grows (8-29-1980 25/1)

SCHMIDT: Solar Action Week to promote use of solar energy (10-6-1980 12/1)

PRICE: Anniversary open house demonstrates variety of offerings at Lincoln Community Center (10-12-1980 14/1)

City and Fed officials to dedicate new taxiway (11-12-1980 19/5)




COLORADOAN (4/15/1984)

(4/2/1982) "The strongest winds ever recorded in Fort Collins blasted the city that day and ripped trees from the ground and sheet metal siding from buildings. Winds clocked at 95 mph were recorded at Colorado State University's main campus. At the Rawhide Power Plant about 25 miles north of Fort Collins, winds of 143 mph were recorded."

At least $1,000,000 damage - COLORADOAN (4/4/1982)





ALLBRANDT: Railroad makes Fort Collins divided city (4-27-1980 79/1)

Plane crashes on residential street (6-30-1980 20/1)

Airwest Helicopters Inc. wins 25 year contract to manage Fort Collins-Loveland Airport (11-2-1981 10/5)


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