From Protest To Eyesore: 2 Months Of Occupy Denver

Protest May Have Long-Term, Negative Impact On Park

Occupy Denver is looking less and less like a protest and more like a homeless camp, two months after it began.

Sidewalks are littered with junk, and people are sleeping under tarps. What started as a movement has attracted Denver's seedy side.

"Everywhere you go, you find them drinking, drunk, smoking pot. I mean, they're using it as a party place, " said Dave Antencio, who is homeless.

It's a hard sight to see for Civic Center Conservancy Director, Lindy Eichenbaum-Lent. This past summer, crews finished $9.5 million in bond improvements. They widened sidewalks, put in benches and planted grass.

"Unfortunately, Civic Center's Broadway Terrace is a completely different place than it was just a few months ago. The city had to stop irrigating it sooner than they would've liked because of this habitation," said Eichenbaum-Lent.

She said they wouldn't know exactly how much damage has been done until protesters leave.

"Free speech should be synonymous with Civic Center, but urban parks are not built for long-term habitation. The Denver taxpayers are going to be the ones left with the bill," she said.

Occupy Denver protester Dwayne Hudson didn't have much sympathy for the burden this could put on taxpayers, but he admitted some of the people causing most problems aren't really behind the Occupy movement.

"They can have that noble sentiment about the grass, but there are lives at stake. However, any action that hinders growing this body concerns me because I don't want people alienated from here," he said.

For now, shantytown will stay put, unless someone has a change of heart. It's unclear whether the city will go in and clean up the clutter.

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