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Saturday March 25th 2023

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That's what she said

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Blue Over Crystal Gray


Outgoing City Council member Crystal Gray

My beautiful, good friend Crystal leaves stylish council shoes that will be very hard to fill. She is a fierce activist and a neighborhood-loving downtown denizen. She is indomitable, optimistic and a force of nature. I’ve often joked to people that like Oprah or Marcelee, Crystal doesn’t need a last name.

Crystal, first and foremost, speaks for Boulder’s neighborhoods – and has for decades.  As a landscape architect with a keen eye for design, she recognizes and advocates for regulations and public and private projects that benefit our town’s neighborhoods. Trees, trees, trees and the maintenance of public spaces are her passion. But know that this passion is based on a landscape architect’s credo that shade and beautiful public spaces are really surrogates for a vibrant and caring community.  Historic preservation has the same meaning and importance to her.

She served a term on the Open Space Board of Trustees and knows our open space lands as well as anyone. Before Crystal was on council but after her term on the OSBT, she would show slides during Open Comment of open space properties that had been recently purchased.  She rightly believed that each acquisition was cause to celebrate, and that both the council and the larger community should be aware of each new piece of our common ownership.

Crystal has been a staunch supporter of open government. When a majority on the City Council (including me) voted to put a charter change on the ballot that would allow for council executive sessions, she spoke eloquently against this change. Her view prevailed with the voters. She has been a watchdog for breeches of council rules and for the right of all citizens to see open and honest council deliberation, not pre-cooked decisions.

Crystal almost always walks to our council meetings, while I drive. Our unspoken tradition has become that I drop her off at home after council. It’s always dark, often late. At Crystal’s direction, we’ll often drive through downtown, marveling at the people out on the mall or the beauty of our town.  We talk over the evening’s topics and decisions, often giddy with happiness at the way the night has gone. I will miss these times terribly.

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