As a temporary solution for those experiencing homelessness, La Plata County created a camp in Purple Cliffs on La Posta Road in Durango in September 2019. Durango tried to find another location, but the county won the battle in August. According to the county, the goal is to establish a managed camp at a more suitable spot.
Some campers are becoming increasingly frustrated after waiting more than a decade to find a new site.
About 84 tents were set up on the hillside of Purple Cliffs in early August, west from the Animas River and near the Durango Walmart.
It has a shower, toilet, and hand-washing stations. Other amenities have been added over time. This is a central location that allows people to connect with local services, such as the Neighbors in Need Alliance.
According to the county, the Purple Cliffs campsite is not suitable due to issues with wastewater and pedestrian safety on the two-lane road without shoulders. There are also issues with trash, bear activity, and wildfire risk.
Clyde Church, County Commissioner, stated that there are some issues that can be addressed. He said that improvements such as widening roads or making trash collection easier would cost millions of taxpayer dollars.
Additionally, the camp is not compliant with the state camping regulations and the county’s land-use code.
The 200-acre site could be closed in May 2022.