Aurora, CO

Aurora considers plan to remove homeless encampments from CDOT property

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Although Aurora hasn't adopted an urban camping ban, it may get a trial run on encampment cleanups anyway.

At Monday's City Council study session, the city will consider providing encampment cleanup services for the state's transportation facilities. State law does not allow encampments on Colorado Department of Transportation property.

Urban camping has been a red-hot subject in Aurora. It has become a partisan issue with council members taking swipes at one another during meetings.

Aurora, unlike Denver, currently does not have a ban.

KUSA 9 News reported in November that the outcome of the election likely would determine the future of the camping ban.

The city council's makeup recently changed from mostly Democrats to primarily Republicans. The new majority appears to be in favor of a camping ban.

"City Council may, by resolution, enter into agreements with other governmental units or special districts for the joint use of buildings, equipment or facilities, and for furnishing or receiving commodities or services," according to the city charter.

City might sign $75,000 contract

The city would receive $75,000 from the state for the work. "The City will bill CDOT for any and all encampment removals and associated cleanups on a monthly basis," according to the contract. "Each encampment and associated cleanup will be listed on the bill with the approximate location and total cost."

The contract specifies that it can be cleared right away if nobody inhabits an abandoned encampment. If an area is inhabited, encampment dwellers must receive seven days' advance notice.

After the cleanup is complete, the city must post signs about where the confiscated belongings are stored.

But the city will store only items "with apparent value."

"Any unattended, uncontaminated, usable personal property with apparent value that does not pose a threat to the public health or safety will be collected, bagged, and stored near the cleaned illegal encampment," according to the contract. "Any such property remaining after seven days after the cleanup will be considered abandoned and discarded as trash."

The contract likely will be a hot topic during Monday's City Council study session, which begins at 6:30 p.m.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

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