Staff from the city’s Risk Management and Community Partnership Office were joined by Loveland Police Sgt. Garrett Osilka and SummitStone Health Partners Program Manager Susannah West to post the notices, which give the encampment residents seven days to prepare for permanent removal.
The interaction between the group and campers lasted about 10 minutes, and, by all accounts, remained calm and cooperative.
Afterward, Loveland’s Environmental Compliance Administrator Tracy Turner-Naranjo, said that the pair didn’t have many questions, but wanted to learn more about the plan for storing their items.
“The city is still in the process of getting the storage worked out, but it will be worked out,” she said. “But the nice thing is we have some storage right now that will accommodate our needs.”
Loveland City Council voted to enact the outdoor camping ban on an emergency basis on May 17, but removals have been delayed until now as city staff work on the logistics of housing the displaced and storing their belongings.
Removal of the two encampments is scheduled to begin on June 24, with help from third-party contractor Ambipar Response.
The city will pay for the displaced campers to stay at the Rosebud Motel as an alternative shelter, until more permanent house options are available.
According to Turner-Naranjo, the residents in the encampments selected for Friday’s enforcement are known by city staff and police to be cooperative, and have expressed interest in alternative sheltering arrangement.
“We tried to make it a positive experience,” she said. “So they can communicate the experience to others and get others on board.”
The next round of notices is scheduled to be posted starting July 8, with removal seven days later.
For now, the efforts will remain limited in scope, as city staff continue to search for an alternative overnight shelter that can accommodate the estimated 100 people who will be displaced by the ban.
According to the city attorney’s office, enforcing the ordinance without an alternative shelter option has been found unconstitutional in other local cases, including Fort Collins and Denver.
Nicole Yost, the city’s Engagement Coordinator and Public Information Officer, said that more notices will start to go out once more alternatives become available.
“It really is dependent for us at this point on that temporary shelter space, and the rooms that we can get,” she said. “That is dictating the pace.”
to a report sent to councilors on June 14 from Deputy City Manager Ron Wensing, the city is close to securing more short-term shelter options in local motels, and also exploring the options at existing facilities, including House of Neighborly Services and 137 Homeless Connection.
However, there has been less progress on efforts to find larger or permanent shelter solutions.
According to Osilka, there are approximately 40 encampments in the King’s Crossing area alone, a number that has grown in the past few months as the weather has warmed.
He said that most residents of the encampments have taken the news of an impending ban well, and recent conversations with them about available resources have been “positive.”
“There are a few who are resistant,” he continued. “But most of them know they can’t stay out here forever.”
Neither Turner-Naranjo or Yost would speculate about when more widespread enforcement of the ban could begin, but both said that the test of their processes will allow them to scale up more quickly.
“It’s new territory for us,” Yost said. “This was our opportunity to see how that does, get feedback, observe, and learn what questions there are. So I’m glad that we’re doing it this way. We want to make sure we’re doing it right.”