Occupy Denver: John Hickenlooper and Michael Hancock have a stinky mess on their hands

Gitmo on the Platte.
Even as the last chapter of the three-year-old protests during the Democratic National Convention was closed in federal court, Mayor Michael Hancock and Governor John Hickenlooper were grappling with the challenge of dealing with the the Occupy Denver protesters they can see out their office windows. And yesterday, they issued a joint -- but brief -- statement.

The statement reads:

The Occupy Denver protesters are on State property. The State and City are working together to find a solution that balances Occupy Denver's First Amendment rights with growing concerns around public safety and public health in violation of city ordinance and state law.

This corner of Denver, between the Capitol and City Hall, with Civic Center Park stretching between, has always been a community gathering place -- although often attracting the kind of community that the city and state's image-boosters aren't looking for. Dealing with the homeless who hang out around the park, and the people who prey on the homeless who hang out around the park, has been one of Occupy Denver's major challenges.

So has the lack of facilities: There are no public bathrooms in Civic Center, for safety reasons, and the Porta-potties of the summer festivals are long gone (although I did spy one by the McNichols building yesterday). Occupy Denver has come up with its own security system, its own kitchen, its own crews for trash. But so far, it has not come up with its own bathrooms -- and although I asked both the governor's office and mayor's offices about the possibilities of bringing in a couple of Porta-potties while they work the rest of this out, I have yet to hear back on that.

Sanitation problems have the potential for turning this critical mass of protesters into a critical mess.

And if the camp is broken up, where do the protesters go? As documented in a video from yesterday (to watch it, click here) , law enforcement officers -- both with the Colorado State Patrol, which oversees this patch of ground, and the Denver Police Department -- have been very circumspect. But if that changes?

Yesterday, the protesters delivered a letter to the governor, asking permission to stay. Hickenlooper has said there's no jail to hold these protesters. That reminded us to also ask about the status of "Gitmo on the Platte," a holding area set up to contain DNC protesters, which included bathroom facilities. We outed that location back in August 2008; here's our report and a slide show.

In the meantime, as Representative Wes McKinley, who's camped out with the protesters, reminds us: Democracy is not tidy.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Occupy Denver endorses Colorado American Indian Movement's indigenous proposal."

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Ronda Myers
Ronda Myers

Hickenlooper shouldn't have listened to Brophy

Arunas Rudy Avizius
Arunas Rudy Avizius

I guess the mayor and the governor found their solution: forget the First Amendment rights.

Samuel Stray
Samuel Stray

Year after year anarchists vandalized Westword newspaper boxes Downtown.They taged every Westword newspaper box on Broadway from Downtown to Englewood.They taged Westword newspaper boxes with:



In 97 I watched anarchists blow up a Westword Newspaper Box with an M-80 in the middle of the night Downtown.

They never know when to leave well enough alone.

I watched anarchists tip over porta-potties at the Taste of Colorado.

Anarchists would drop M-80's down the toilets if the city supplied porta-potties to the protest.

You know they would.

A 99% Downtown Worker
A 99% Downtown Worker

Westword's parking lot could easily hold six or eight "Porta-potties". It's a short walk from all the action. Where's the solidarity?


Get rid of the fleabaggers, pronto! Look at the huge, expensive disruption they've caused in The Peoples Republic of Massachusetts:

$2M in costs and it cancelled a FOOD FEST!! That should really raise Westword's Cafe Society's ire!


Why not send them to the Stock Show?  If its not fit for animals, perhaps its fit for protestors?  As witnessed at the Circus last week, the shut down all the indoor bathrooms and had about 30 porta-potties located on one side of the facility.  Real pain in the arse for those of us with kids.  But, the point remains....plenty of crappers for the complainers.

Ronda Myers
Ronda Myers

I do not get that either, but from what I have learned as in every group a few limit pushers ruin it for everybody


Great idea!!

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