Letterwriters can’t hold back their feelings about the 1,000 cubic yards of trash left on Purplecliffe and the sticker shock of $374,241 to clean it up. Debris of that scale will tear your heart out. A visual hangover from this years of unmanaged, unacceptable camp.
Readers ask why I didn’t pick up the trash. A lot of it actually happened. La Plata County provided trash cans. Many residents of Purple Cliffs have disposed of their garbage. It didn’t help that the wrong sofa and other large items were illegally dumped, not from someone dealing with the homeless. Some residents participated in volunteer cleanup activities. Big-minded local volunteers have picked up on what they can do while enduring the risk of a biohazard. Lawmakers gathered shopping carts.
Still, it was more garbage than many hands on deck could manage, and the project was too big and risky: four years worth.
Seeing visible trash from the Camino del Rio could be the boost we need to prioritize affordable housing in ever-radical ways.
Otherwise, you will remain in an endless loop of misunderstanding and inaction. Why didn’t the residents of Purplecliff take out the trash? When survival is paramount, taking out the trash is an afterthought. Running down a hillside in the dark to a portable toilet just doesn’t happen. Now former Purplecliffe residents are venturing into public and private land. With frost covering the tents, people would focus only on staying alive. Garbage is probably not considered.
The county and city of Durango split the clean-up costs because camp spillovers and trash are also littered on adjacent city property. The county stresses that primitive, unmanaged camps will no longer be allowed. We will never see anything like Purple Cliff again. But we can still learn from this situation.
That trash and that price tag are like flashing neon signs. I need affordable housing now.
Southwest Colorado has a housing shortage of 2,500 units, according to a study by Denver consulting firm Route Policy. Professionals vote with their feet and walk away. Students sleep in their cars as retirees and those who can afford not to work have discovered the area.
Homelessness is complicated. we are not making excuses. People landed on Purple His Cliff for many reasons. About 25% of them continued to work locally. A school bus picked up the children. But the reality of the Southwest is that more people are getting hurt or getting paid to leave the same situation.
Perhaps Purple Cliffs is our tipping point.
Meanwhile, cities and city councilors struggle with affordable housing. The county has nearly $1 million in U.S. Relief Plans Act funding in case a solution is presented.
We also have a caring community. Community Compassion Outreach, a Durango-area nonprofit, has partnered with Durango Christian Church (255 East 11th Street) to provide a twice-weekly warm shelter with meals, hot drinks, and phone charging. increase. Nonprofit peer coaches talk with clients about their struggles and ways to improve their relationships. This line of care and upstream approach cannot be underestimated. They give us hope that thoughtful steps are being taken.
And already 166 cubic yards (6 trash cans) of trash has been collected at Purple Cliffs.
i am going. I can do it. A big change of mindset is needed. for all of us.