REPAIRING PARADISE

Men with Paradise Valley roots have plan to clean up former Bill Moser property near Emigrant
By 
Justin Post — Enterprise Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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Enterprise photos by Justin Post

Manufactured homes, tires and scrap metal are seen throughout the Paradise Valley property recently purchased by Paul and Benjamin Buford.

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Paul Buford stands Tuesday morning among the various piles of scrap metal and other items at 1180 East River Road in Paradise Valley.

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Paul Buford points while talking about plans to clean up the property at 1180 East River Road in Paradise Valley.

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A vehicle and trailer packed with miscellaneous pieces of metal and other materials are among the items to be removed in the coming months from the former property of Bill Moser at 1180 East River Road.

Enterprise photos by Justin Post

On a chilly morning this week, Paul Buford walked among rows of steel drums, old carpeting, scrap metal and ramshackle mobile homes on a nearly 28-acre property in Paradise Valley.

Wearing cowboy boots, jeans and a puffy Patagonia coat, the 28-year-old Paradise Valley native stopped to sip his coffee and study the massive, decades-old collection of discarded items accumulated on the property, 1180 East River Road, by former owner Bill Moser, who was found dead here in early 2017.

Buford and his brother, Benjamin, have purchased the property from the Moser estate and plan to clean it up, something Paul Buford says area residents have longed wished would eventually happen.

While the brothers haven’t settled on a final long-term plan for the property, one thing is clear: The piles of scrap metal, old vehicles and other miscellaneous debris found here will be removed, Buford said.

He said the plan is “to get rid of everything” on the property and have it cleared, hopefully in the coming months.

“We have no desire to keep any of it,” Buford said.

He estimates that some 800 tons of scrap is found on the property, and the price tag to remove everything is somewhere between $90,000 and $150,000. Cleanup is expected to take up to three months.

The brothers plan to recycle and salvage as much as possible. The scrap metal on the property could fetch $20,000 to $30,000 to help defray cleanup costs, Buford said.

Buford, who travels the world as part of a crew working on a private yacht, and his brother, who is attending law school in Brooklyn, N.Y., have set up a GoFundMe account titled “Repairing Paradise,” with hopes of having the property cleaned up this summer.

The brothers grew up in North Glastonbury at Emigrant, attended Arrowhead School and are passionate about improving the aesthetics of the area they still call home, Buford said.

“There is no doubt that the current state of the property has a negative impact on the surrounding area,” their GoFundMe page says. “It is not only a blight on the land which takes away from the community’s enjoyment but it also negatively impacts tourism and the local economy. In removing the unsightly objects we can help heal a scar that has plagued us for far too long and Paradise Valley will be able to continue living up to its name.”

Paradise Valley resident Mike Adkins, a longtime friend of Moser, said Moser moved onto the property around the mid 1980s and began collecting trailers and other items that people wanted to get rid of at area ranches, Yellowstone National Park and beyond.

Adkins said Moser had no relatives in the area and was “kind of a loner.” He said Moser at one time lived in a bus parked on the property and that he covered the vehicle with thick styrofoam for insulation.

“You could have heated the bus with a candle,” Adkins said.

He described Moser as a well-educated, intelligent man who thought the manufactured homes on his property could eventually be used to house people.

“There was always something good in it,” Adkins said. “He saw good and value in any piece of junk, whether it was a hot water heater or a well drilling rig.”

Adkins, a contractor, said Moser was always looking for a piece of iron, a torch or something he needed for a project at his property.

With Moser’s passing, Adkins said he supports the Buford brothers in their effort to clean up the property.

“My thoughts are clean it up, it’s a prime piece of property,” Adkins said. “I think a guy could have a hell of a business there, clean it up and develop it properly.”

The brothers are considering a number of ideas for the future of the property, including long-term housing, but certainly not more vacation rentals, Buford said.

Buford believes Paradise Valley needs more housing for working-class families, who he said are currently priced out of the housing market.

“They should have an opportunity to live out here, too,” Buford said.

Buford, who previously worked in construction, said he’s researching possible options for building homes that have a minimal impact on the environment as well as wildlife migration patterns through the property.

“We kind of feel like anything we do we would like to set a standard for whatever future construction could happen down here,” he said.

Buford said he and his brother are required as a condition of the purchase of the property to have it cleaned up within three years. Buford launched the GoFundMe page with the hope of generating nearly $100,000 to help with cleanup costs.

“Our goal is to accomplish what many had hoped for in the past, to finally clean up the property,” the page says.

For more information, visit the GoFundMe page at https://bit.ly/2TNOCL3.