DENVER — People living in an encampment along Sand Creek in Denver will need to pack up and move along as the city begins to clear the area of trash and human waste, according to a news release from Denver Public Health & Environment.
Officials have deemed the homeless encampment northwest of the Interstate 70, Interstate 270 interchange in the Stapleton neighborhood a public and environmental health risk, and have restricted public access to the area.
Pest activity, harborage conditions, human waste, and trash accumulation prompted the move by city health officials, according to the news release.
Crews were out Wednesday, beginning the cleanup process. Several bikes and other belongings were strewn across the encampment as large camping tents dot the embankment.
Unattended personal items that don’t pose a public health risk will be removed and stored for up to 60 days, the city said.
The city said during the closure, it will continue to connect people to services. They said more than 200 vacant beds are open at shelters each night.
Since 2016, the city has conducted sweeps in multiple areas around the city. Officials said that the camps block the right-of-way and pose a public health issue in some cases.
Denver is currently appealing a lower court decision from last month that ruled the city’s urban camping ban unconstitutional. The judge determined that the ban enacted in 2012 constitutes cruel and unusual punishment against the homeless.