DU law students file lawsuit to stop closure of Wayward Wind mobile home park in Fort Morgan

Mobile home park residents want more time to move

FORT MORGAN, Colo. - More than 30 tenants of the Wayward Wind mobile home park in Fort Morgan are being evicted just weeks before Christmas.

Signs posted on the windows of the office say the trailer park is closing December 13.

Several tenants who own mobile homes there say they will likely lose all the money they've invested in their humble homes.

Those tenants are now getting help from a group of students at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law.

The students are part of the Environmental Law Clinic, working under the guidance of Professor Michael Harris.

They filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Larimer County District Court seeking to block the closure of the park and to force operators to provide clean, safe drinking water.

"When we moved out there (in 2000) it was nice," said Rebeca Marquez. "They had a swimming pool and a playground for the kids."

Marquez said that over time the park deteriorated.

"They shut down the pool and removed the playground," she said. "And they had water problems."

DU law student Jessica Morales told 7NEWS that park operators had been notified several times that their drinking water didn't meet state or federal standards.

"It was contaminated with uranium, nitrates and nitrites," Morales said.

"We worried about the kids," Marquez said. "They told us to boil the water and then later sent a letter saying not to boil the water because it could increase the concentration of some contaminants. It was scary." 

Court documents state that residents have had to use bottled water for more than two years.

"Instead of complying with the law, the defendants, and now the receiver, have chosen to forgo fixing the problem and instead to evict these people," the lawsuit states. "After multiple changes in management, the park has slipped into foreclosure."

Morales said the result is a hardship for families who own their mobile homes, but can't afford to move them or find parks in the region to relocate.

Marquez said her parents spent $12,000 to purchase their mobile home and another $10,000 to upgrade it.

She said the landowners will now likely end up with it.

"They're taking what we've worked so hard for," Marquez said. "It may not have been much, but it was a place that we could call home.  A place that covered us in the winter time.  And they're trying to take all of that away from us."

"Ideally we would want for the park to be cleaned up and for them to have access to clean water," Morales told 7NEWS. "But we also want to intervene in the foreclosure so they're not closed on during the holiday season."

7NEWS was unable to make contact with Wayward Wind representatives on Thanksgiving Day.  Once we hear back from them, we will update this story.

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