New Housing Authority director excited to get busy |

New Housing Authority director excited to get busy

Collin Smith

Ute Murray wasn’t born in Craig, but the little community that sits among the mountains of Northwest Colorado has become her home.

Which was always kind of the plan, though not to live in Craig specifically.

When she had her first English lesson as a young, blonde fourth-grader growing up in Germany, Murray promptly went home and declared she planned to live abroad when she grew up.

She found her way here in 1995 after marrying an Army recruiter.

Murray, 45, is raising her three children in Craig – Kevin, a soon to be junior at Moffat County High School; Jacqueline, who is called Sassy, who will start her freshman year in the fall; and Vanessa, 20, who studies engineering at Montana State University and now is studying abroad in Norway.

The children all bear the fair-haired, fair-skinned, bright-eyed markings of their mother’s German heritage.

“I loved it here, and so I stayed,” Murray said, looking back on her past.

Discussing her future elicits an equally broad smile.

Murray recently realized another of her goals when the county named her executive director of the Moffat County Housing Authority.

She had applied for the job once before and lost out, but she threw her name into contention for the second time when former executive director Jan Reece resigned.

Murray’s first full day was May 22.

“I love it,” she said, tossing her platinum hair around. “It’s fun. I love visiting with the residents, and I love it because everything is different.”

Which was a slightly odd thing for Murray to say, given she possessed no fewer than three titles in her last position with the county, working as paralegal, risk maintenance supervisor and custodian of record.

With the Housing Authority, she said she gets to essentially keep all of those jobs – keeping up with new laws and regulations, monitoring the county’s insurance liabilities and keeping her residents’ records – and still add all of the responsibilities she has as a toward her tenants.

Having so much to do might overwhelm some, but Murray, in the industrious tradition of her home country, is excited to get to work.

Part of the job’s appeal comes from, again, her heritage.

“I love to interact with the people and the seniors,” Murray said. “I come from a society that : the whole system is built on the young care for their elders. These people work hard for their whole lives. They deserve the best. They deserve a good life.”

Too often, it seems seniors are forgotten, she added.

“They’re full of wisdom,” Murray said. “You’d be a fool not to listen to them and to not want to take care of them. They’ve seen it all, and they deserve it.”

She hopes to bring that sentiment to Sunset Meadows, and keep the quality of life high for those in her care.

Sunset Meadows may not be the only responsibility she has, however.

The Housing Authority board still is “absolutely” interested in taking on the county’s 72 Section 8 housing vouchers, said Tom Mathers, board chairman and Moffat County commissioner.

But, a lot remains to be discussed, he added.

The first step in the process probably will come soon, he said. The Grand Junction Housing Authority, which now handles local vouchers, wants local officials to conduct inspections for local properties.

County officials are interested, and Grand Junction would provide training and pay for the service, Mathers said.

He’s not worried about forcing too much onto Murray’s shoulders. Her work ethic is exactly why she was hired in the first place.

“I wanted somebody over there that was going to make sure everything worked and not be a mess,” Mathers said. “She can do that, all of it. I worked with her through the county, and I know she can.”

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or

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