Saturday, July 20, 2019
Debra Hall Has Turned ‘No’ to ‘Yes’
Debra Hall is running as an independent because “I don’t think either party has all the answers. I base my decision on the information given me.”
Sunday, November 4, 2018


Debra Hall knew something had to be done when her son was forced to spend six months living in her driveway because he could not find affordable housing.

"That's not right," said Hall, whose son eventually moved to Seattle. “There are too many NIMBYs and restrictions and costs when it comes to housing. The Realtors Board has been pushing me to run for county commissioner and I kept saying, ‘No, no, no.’ But I finally decided no one knows real estate better than a realtor.”

 Hall got her start in Oklahoma but moved to the Wood River Valley as a teenager when her father accepted a job with the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

Debra Hall recalls how her family used to drive from Ketchum to Hailey and back and not see a car when they moved here.

That was 1975, but even then housing prices here outpaced the rest of the country.

 “We’d sold a home on seven acres in the woods in southern Missouri for $17,000 and we thought we’d pick up something here for about the same amount,” recounted Hall, who is running as an independent candidate for the District 1 seat. “But Stoney Burke said, ‘No, it isn’t going to happen.’ The best we could get was a home on a third acre for $42,000.”

The rough and ready nature of their new home was a bit rattling for a family from the Bible Belt.

Pat Ryan, known for wild parties at Clarendon Hot Springs, sponsored a float in the Fourth of July parade featuring young women in leather halter tops. And, when Hall’s mother went shopping for a church where her daughter could participate in a choir, bell choir and youth activities, she was flabbergasted to learn that the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood served real wine for communion.

“I remember my mother telling her mother that she had moved her family to Sodom and Gomorrah,” Hall said.

Eventually, the family adapted and Debra embarked on a 28-year career in real estate with her own firm--Hallmark Idaho Properties.

“Even as a kid, I loved looking at houses and farmhouses so it just fit,” she said.

Hall has taken the rah-rah spirit she had as a high school cheerleader and applied it to cheering on her community as Chamber president and president of the Sun Valley Board of Realtors.

And she’s expressed her creativity, starting up innovative events like a Gingerbread Decorating Contest and the Tour de Coops, an excuse to take a Sunday drive through the valley to see the valley’s chicken coops.

But she and other realtors have been continually frustrated with housing issues.

“Years ago I did a light industrial subdivision project with a client who asked for an upzone from heavy to light. Ultimately, he hired an attorney to fight the county because they were asking him to do things like repave Glendale Road. He ultimately got it done but it took so long and was so expensive by the time it was all said and done.”

Hall would like to find ways to revise zoning ordinances and incentivize development and find ways to finance private projects. Perhaps, the county could even lease land to help facilitate projects, she said.

“If we don’t have constant movement, it affects everyone from the title agent to the builders.  The reality is I’m going to work on it whether elected or not.”


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