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Northeast Denver businesses concerned with homeless encampment affecting their bottom line

Posted at 5:50 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 19:50:04-05

DENVER — A large homeless encampment has taken over a frontage road near Smith Road and Quebec in northeast Denver. A business owner, who chose to hide his identity to avoid retaliation, tells Denver7 the conditions are so bad that it's directly affecting his business.

"We have a heart for various situations for people, but it is becoming overwhelming," he said. "Being a local business owner over here for the last seven years, I've come to see the transition and what's going on."

Drone video shows just how large the encampment is. From the ground, trash is all over the ground. RVs line the street. One RV recently caught fire.

"Constantly seeing individuals undressed, unclothed, walking up and down," said the business owner. "We see different types of drugs and paraphernalia."

A manager of another nearby business spoke to Denver7 anonymously, saying his company has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up their property to make it presentable for customers.

Nancy Kuhn with Denver's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a statement:

"We are aware of this location. We'll first outreach them to services and shelter, and if necessary after that, we'll post notice of our intent to do a large scale encampment cleanup."

Denver7 has learned the same encampment was cleaned up before. For the business owner who spoke on camera with Denver7, he's asking for more transparency from the city of Denver.

"Maybe we can have a little better understanding of what's going on and why the situation is getting out of hand," he said.

Denver7 has reported extensively on long-term parking of campers in the city of Denver.

Next year, the city will be spending $150,000 on a pilot safe outdoor parking program. The city has not released specifics on when or where that will happen.