UpDoNA Accomplishments in the First 18 Months

UpDoNA was first formed at a founding meeting which was held on December 6, 2021.  Early efforts were primarily in getting the organization running, and developing a network of contacts which would be valuable in the future.  Here is a summary of some of the early efforts and most significant accomplishments.

Some of the Early UpDoNA Meetings

  • The commander of Denver Police Department (DPD) District 6, which covers the Upper Downtown neighborhood
  • Other officers and leadership of the DPD
  • Sheriff Elias Diggins
  • Evan Dryer, Deputy Chief of Staff for then-mayor Hancock (currently in the same position for Mayor Johnston)
  • Armando Saldate, Executive Director for Denver’s Department of Safety
  • Sabrina Allie, Communications and Engagement Director for Department of Housing Stability (HOST)
  • Timothy O’Brien, City Auditor
  • State Senator Julie Gonzalez
  • State Senator Bob Rankin
  • State Senator Chris Hansen for Senate District 31 (our district)
  • State Representative Alex Valdez House District 5 (our district)
  • Laura Wachter, Deputy Director of Denver’s Department of Safety
  • Phil Weiser, Colorado Attorney General
  • Carleigh Sailon who runs the STAR (Support Team Assisted Response) van program
  • Denver District Attorney Beth McCann
  • Chris Hinds, Denver City Councilman for District 9, now for District 10 (our district)
  • Lisa Raville who runs the Harm Reduction Action Center
  • Diana DeGette’s office
  • and many others, much too numerous to list here

A Few of UpDoNA’s Accomplishments

  • Developed good working relationships with multiple areas of city & state government.  UpDoNA is now well-known and respected in government circles.
  • Increased police focus on 16th& Champa resulting in the breakup of pervasive drug use there.
  • Convinced the city to install lighting changes, and to make underground improvements at 14th & Stout to prevent the release of steam from the manhole covers.  These changes have discouraged illegal campers from that corner directly across the street from the Convention Center.
  • Worked with city on Aloft contract, which had resulted in significant drug use and drug dealing directly behind the hotel.  Our efforts resulted in interim improvements such as increased security patrols, and improved safety and aesthetics, and ultimately the closing of that shelter on April 30, 2023.
  • Partnered with Step Denver and The Delores Project to provide UpDoNA support to these drug and homelessness-oriented charities.
  • Worked the DPD and Spire management to complete a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) assessment, resulting in a $5,000 grant to Spire for installation of scissor gates
  • Testified before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on the Fentanyl Bill.  Our recommendations were ultimately included in the final bill.
  • Created new committees
    • Scooter Committee to improve safety of scooter/pedestrian interactions.
    • Good Neighbor Committee to help control operation of businesses taking out new liquor licenses.
    • Arts & Beautification Committee
  • Became an Advocacy Partner in Together We Will initiative at the request of the Downtown Denver Partnership.
  • Met with owner of SIP. Meeting was probably instrumental in his decision to sell.  Fortissimo Dueling Pianos replaced SIP and became UpDoNA business member.
  • Facilitated Trespass Agreement at Beirut Grill building
  • Convinced Rick’s Cabaret to install gate in alley
  • Organizing National Night Out in concert with LoDoNA and DDP
  • UpDoNA President was selected for the Police Advisory Board
  • Held social events/membership drives
  • Organized two debates between D10 city council candidates
  • Conducted multiple cleanups including those around Spire, Brooks Towers and One Lincoln Park
  • Have continued a steady growth in membership
  • Scooter Committee chair asked to be a panelist in Councilman Chris Hinds’ Scooter Town Hall
  • Working with members at One Lincoln Park to clean up persistent encampments in that area

And many more accomplishments, too numerous to mention.

Lisa L. Pope and Rob Squire

Thumbnail attribution – UpDoNA

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