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Community group in Superior begins meeting 30 days after Marshall Fire

Superior Rising hopes to create dialogue and strategies
Superior Rising
Posted at 6:47 AM, Jan 31, 2022

SUPERIOR, Colo. — For its first meeting, Superior Rising had a showing of dozens of residents, and many of them had concerns over the local government response to the Marshall Fire.

"We’ve wasted 30 days here in Superior and the Town of Superior can’t say that they’ve made any progress at all. My private property is there, and I have not been able to work on it this last week," said one man during the meeting.

He also said the Town of Superior has made it difficult to obtain a permit in order to remove debris from his land.

Superior Board of Trustee member Neal Shah is equally frustrated.

"Unfortunately, really right now where we're stuck after 30 days in is debris removal," Shah said.

Shah said the timeline is unknown for people who want Boulder County to manage debris removal, but it shouldn’t be for someone who wants to do it on their own.

"They want to start removing the debris on their own, and we as government should be doing everything we can to help them with that," Shah said. "Unfortunately, that's where we're falling short."

Shah says the permitting process for debris removal has been changed by the county throughout this process, making it harder for homeowners to know exactly what they need. That’s where Superior Rising comes in.

"This specific gathering is to bring people together and start to sort out really what concrete avenues we need to go in. There's some obvious things like debris cleanup and rebuilding," said Jenn Kaaoush, co-director of Superior Rising.

The hope is their voices will be heard through sharing strategies with each other.

"Ten people create a loud voice, but 400 people really create change," Kaaoush said.

Superior Rising was inspired by a community group in Colorado Springs that was created after the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012. By looking at the similarities between both fires, these groups also form an example of the work that can be done at the government level.

"Colorado Springs put together a great model. We've learned from that. Superior Rising is following that model. The county needs to be following models from other communities to go faster," Shah said.

Because for many, debris removal is the first step of many on the road to recovery.