Abandoned cabins

Two old cabins on county property at the confluence of the Hoback and Snake rivers will avoid destruction and continue to be useful.

As an alternative to demolition, Teton County is considering whether to allow people from Jackson and Bondurant to relocate two old cabins near the confluence of the Hoback and Snake rivers.

One family has already backed out of purchasing the structures.

Teton County commissioners will consider the matter at their regular meeting today. County staff say having people take the cabins — generally providing a fiscal benefit to the county — and use them as homes is preferred to demolishing the aging structures and sending them to the landfill.

“Those have been there forever, and to make them actually habitable now wasn’t feasible,” Sarah Mann, Teton County’s general services director, told the Jackson Hole Daily. “We came to the conclusion to try to sell them so that we could salvage them since their cabin structures have been around for a long time.”

Teton County is looking to move the cabins because a 2019 study conducted by Harmony Design found that maintaining the structures wasn’t realistic. In August, MD Landscaping was awarded a roughly $118,000 contract to restore the property once the cabins are removed.

The cabins just uphill of the two structures slated for removal are used for employee housing, and Mann said that the lower two buildings had been considered for the same use, but it was “too expensive to rehab them.”

“One of them was actually in a floodplain, so in order for us to make that a living space, we would have had to raise it,” Mann said, adding that were other issues with septic and the road grade.

Peter and Lauren Long had previously offered to purchase both cabins for $5, and the Teton County Board of County Commissioners approved the offer. But the Longs backed out in part because they weren’t able to make the county’s end-of-September deadline for removing them.

“It’s really a tough pill for us to swallow because we were really excited about the project,” Peter Long said.

Long, who ran for county commission in 2020 but did not win a seat, said he and his wife, Lauren, have a home site in Moran but are having difficulty building on it because of high construction costs. They saw the cabins as an alternative but weren’t able to get the required permits together to move the structures in time.

“When I went into it, I was like, ‘We can get all this done in time to get these put in the ground by next fall, start the work, complete work through the winter and have these things move-in ready early next year,’ ” Long said. “I didn’t realize all the pieces that go into this.”

Teton County has since re-advertised the cabins for removal and received bids from two people: Marilyn Filkins, of Bondurant, and Mack Mendenhall, of Jackson.

Filkins asked the county to pay her $8,000 to take one of the cabins away, which would be a net gain for Teton County, cutting the cost of removing the cabin from $15,676.

Mendenhall, a local real estate agent, offered to pay Teton County $1,000. That’s also a net gain for the county, which had previously received a $26,777 bid for demolishing the cabin.

Teton County staff recommended approval of both contracts.

Mann said the timeline has not changed, and county staff still want the cabins removed by month’s end.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

Teton County Reporter

Billy Arnold has covered government and policy since January 2020, sitting through hours of Teton County meetings so readers don't have to. He moonlights as a ski reporter, helps with pandemic coverage and sneaks away to climb when he can.

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