Residents of One Lincoln Park (OLP) have been having a significant problem with persistent large encampments forming near their building. Significant quantities of propane, guns and drug paraphernalia have been found on previous cleanups, and an illegal camper was found with a gunshot wound during one particular cleanup. Additionally, the cleanups had been ineffective because the campers moved their tents a block down the street, and then immediately reformed the large encampment.
The Safety and Quality of Life Committee (S&QOLC) was aware that the latest encampment near 20th St. & Lincoln was scheduled to be cleaned up on April 25, 2023. The committee developed a plan that was intended to discourage the immediate reformation of the encampment.
First, the S&QOLC met with Lt. Kendall of the Denver Police Department and with Armando Saldate who is the Executive Director of Denver’s Department of Safety to explain the situation to them. We requested additional focus on the area and immediate removal of any reported tents that re-formed following the April 25 sweep. The intent was to have individual tents removed before a large encampment re-formed. Individual tents and groups consisting of four or fewer tents can be removed more quickly since they are clearly breaking the law. However, “large encampments” which are defined as five or more tents together, can only be removed by following a specific court-ordered process which takes more time and includes the posting of a seven-day notice.
The committee met with UpDoNA members from OLP and explained the plan. After the April 25th cleanup of the large encampment, OLP residents immediately reported the setup of any individual tent to Jerry Shupe who is a member of the S&QOLC and a resident of One Lincoln Park. He notified all other OLP members who then submitted reports on denver.gov and sent emails to the DPD and Denver’s Director of Safety requesting immediate removal of the individual tents.
OLP members jumped in to help, submitting dozens of reports and emails. The DPD cooperated and as promised, provided increased focus on the area. The campers remained persistent, making several attempts to re-form the encampment. Despite that, we are happy to report that the area surrounding the building has been markedly cleaner and remains largely tent free.
As always, the police offered shelter and assistance to the illegal campers. They need and deserve our help, but services can only be provided to the illegal campers if they accept it. It is the belief of the S&QOLC that when they refuse to accept that help, nearby residents and businesses should not have to accept the negative results that encampments bring. It is our hope that at some point they will accept the assistance and services to allow them to begin to improve their lives.