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President’s Message – February 2023

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Upper Downtown’s restaurants, hotels, bars, and other businesses have a lot of valentine activities planned, so make sure you take time to celebrate with the people you love.  

Denver Police Department’s Safety Presentation to be Rescheduled

As you know, the Denver Police Department’s Safety Presentation that was scheduled for Thursday, January 26, had to be canceled.  Upper Downtown’s two Community Resource Officers, Cassandra Ulrich and Austen Munson, were recently promoted to detectives.  We will reschedule the safety presentation as soon as our new community resource officers are assigned. 

Fair Election Fund Candidate Forum

On Thursday, February 16th, UpDoNA, in partnership with LoDoNA, will host a Fair Election Fund District 10 Candidate Forum in the meeting space at Home2 Suites, 801 15th Street, Denver, CO. The event will begin promptly at 6:00 p.m.  Former City Councilman Albus Brooks will be the moderator. 

We are all aware of the issues that downtown Denver is facing.  Downtown has seen an increase in crime, open drug use, increase in the number of individuals living on the streets, including many who suffer from drug addiction and mental health issues, and empty store fronts to name a few.  We are losing tourists, visitors, and conventions due to the perception of safety.  The upcoming City Council and Mayoral elections are critical for the future of downtown. 

All the candidates running for the District 10 City Council seat will be attending our Candidate Forum.  The candidates will be asked very specific questions about their priorities for downtown and their plan for addressing the issues we face. 

Please plan to attend so that you can be an informed voter.   Seats are limited, so when you receive your Evite, please RSVP as soon as possible.  If you are unable to attend, the event will be made available to watch on UpDoNA’s YouTube channel.  Once it is posted, details on how to access the recording on our YouTube channel will be emailed. 

Fentanyl

Fentanyl is pervasive in our community and is killing thousands of Coloradans, especially those between the ages of 12-35.  It is estimated that 6 out of 10 counterfeit pills contain fentanyl.  Social platforms such as TikTok and SnapChat have become marketplaces for the trafficking of fentanyl.  Drug traffickers are targeting some of our most vulnerable – the young and those living on the streets.

On Thursday, 1/19/23, I attended a virtual Fentanyl Townhall with Attorney General Phil Weiser where he announced an Awareness and Educational Campaign to educate Coloradans of all ages on the dangers of fentanyl.  AG Weiser has secured $720 million in opioid settlements with pharmaceutical companies and national drug store chains.  These funds will be used for addiction treatment, recovery, and prevention/educational programs at the regional and local level.

On a related note, at the “Together We Will” press conference, U.S. Attorney General, Cole Finegan, pledged to use the power of federal law to prosecute fentanyl manufacturers and dealers.  Recently, a 23-year-old Colorado Springs man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for selling fentanyl which resulted in the death of a 19-year-old who thought he was purchasing oxycodone pills.  Tragically, those counterfeit oxycodone pills contained a lethal amount of fentanyl.

What is your role in the fight?  Please continue to report open drug use of any kind to pocketgov or to the Denver Police Department.  Our reporting helps the police find the drug dealers selling these lethal drugs and it also gets assistance to those individuals using drugs.  Please visit UpDoNA’s Report an Issue page for assistance in reporting.  https://updona.org/report-an-issue/

Aloft Hotel Update

According to Sabrina Allie, HOST Director of Communications, the current number of Aloft residents is 118, down from 141.  HOST and The Salvation Army are working to place many residents in assisted living facilities so that they get the care that they need.  HOST plans to set a cut-off date for accepting temporary residents.  Look for another update in the March newsletter.

Travel Column – New Addition to the UpDoNA Newsletter

The pandemic cancelled a lot of travel plans over the last couple of years, and it appears that our members are making up for lost time!  Several of you have great trips planned this year both in the United States and abroad.  We want to hear about your adventures.  If you have a trip that you’d like to talk about, please contact Rob Squire at robsquire@updona.org.  Rob will email the information you need to submit a travel article for the newsletter.  Safe travels!

Support our Businesses that Support Us

UpDoNA has wonderful business members.  Please don’t forget to support them.  Information about all our business members can be found on the home page at updona.org

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support and participation in UpDoNA.  Talk to you in March!

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UpDoNA is a City Registered Neighborhood Organization representing the community of Denver’s Upper Downtown.

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