Posted inHousing

‘Landlord of last resort’: Boulder’s largest shelter is buying homes for people often shunned by property owners

The city’s largest homeless shelter, the nonprofit Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, is having trouble finding landlords willing to rent to people who have certain criminal records.

So it’s buying up properties to rent out itself.

“For those individuals who find it very difficult to secure a landlord, the shelter will endeavor to become a low-level landlord of last resort,” Spencer Downing, the interim director of the shelter, told Boulder Reporting Lab.

Such property investments are a pillar of the city’s strategy for addressing homelessness. According to a presentation from city staff to the Boulder City Council on Sept. 1, 2022, the city expects to spend about $8 million on homelessness in 2022. That is more than double the $3.6 million it spent in 2021. Most of that money is for buying properties or building housing. 

Efforts to find housing for people with criminal records and drug addiction are part of an ongoing evolution of the city and county’s “housing first” program, which was launched in 2017.

Posted inArts & Community

The end of an era: After more than 35 years in business, Boulder’s beloved Albums on the Hill will slowly close its doors after Labor Day 2022

Albums on the Hill at 1128 13th Street in Boulder will be open Sept. 1-5 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. At Boulder’s iconic record store Albums on the Hill — one of the oldest businesses on 13th Street — there is little evidence of the looming closure that awaits the neighborhood.  The same primary-colored […]

Posted inHousing

Group seeking to block CU South development threatens to take City of Boulder to court over ballot language

In an 11th-hour effort — presumably to increase its chances of ultimately passing — the group is asking the Boulder City Council to change and clarify the title of the referendum. The current title is, “Should Ordinance 8483 regarding the annexation of CU South, be repealed.” It wants to change it to, “Should Ordinance 8483, which annexes the land known as CU South and sets the terms thereof, be repealed?”

The Boulder City Council has so far declined to make the relatively minor tweak. According to city staff, the ballot title was based on language that Repeal CU South Annexation advocates used in their petition to collect signatures for the referendum. The city worries changing the language now would make the city vulnerable to litigation.

“You’re making it far less risky [by using] that same language” from the petition, Kathy Haddock, a city attorney, told city councilmembers on Aug. 18, 2022.

Not changing the language, however, could prompt the very outcome the city has sought to avoid.

Posted inFood & Drink

Chautauqua Colorado’s historic porch cafe in Boulder reopens after more than a century

For a brief period in the early 1900s, a bustling grab-and-go café served locals and visitors on a small patch of land sandwiched between the historic Chautauqua Dining Hall and the General Store in West Boulder.

Now, that freestanding porch café is back for the first time, and modeled after the original.

Following six months of construction, the nonprofit Colorado Chautauqua Association (CCA) opened the café in its original location on July 3, 2022. The following day, Colorado Chautauqua — part of the historic nationwide movement of educational camps — turned 124 years old.

Posted inClimate Change

To curb wildfire risk, some Boulder residents are taking burying power lines into their own hands

In the Flagstaff neighborhood just north of the Flatirons, residents are collaborating to bury their utility lines. With the goal of preventing wildfires started by power lines, the undertaking could be seen as a test case for the rest of the city.

Giles Troughton and Karen Ramsey moved to Boulder from Boston two years ago. Retired from a job in insurance, Troughton was wary of the wildfire risk lurking in the surrounding landscape.

“I told Karen one of my criteria was I didn’t want to live in a wildfire zone,” Troughton said. “You can see I lost that argument.”

Posted inLocal Government

The Boulder County Jail is full for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic

The Boulder County jail has reached full capacity for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

About 412 people are currently incarcerated or detained in the 543-bed facility off Airport Road, according to the most recently available state data. That’s the most since Jan. 1, 2020.

The numbers are rising in part because police are arresting people again for more minor charges. For much of the pandemic, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle prohibited police from jailing people for low-level crimes in order to drive down the jail population and prevent coronavirus outbreaks.

On July 4, 2022, with cases trending down in the county and a growing acceptance that Covid is here to stay, Pelle signed off on new incarceration standards that removed restrictions on detaining people.

People who were issued multiple summons in the past two years, but who never showed up to court, are now being arrested and booked into jail.

“Because of the backlog in the system, we’re going to be catching up for a while,” Pelle said in an interview.

Posted inLocal Government

‘The hottest products in Boulder’: Mapping bike thefts across the city

Boulder Reporting Lab analyzed the Boulder Police Department’s stolen bike data to better understand the amount and location of bike thefts amid the recent surge in reported crime. While reported thefts have remained steady in recent years, thefts are happening all over the city. And the police are recovering fewer bikes. They have some tips for what you can do before your bike is stolen to help you get it back.

Posted inLocal Government

Boulder Councilmember Junie Joseph is poised to make history with election to state Capitol

On Monday, Aug. 15, Councilmember Junie Joseph was elected by members of the Boulder County Democratic Party to be their nominee for House District 10 in the November 2022 election. Joseph is all but certain to win the Nov. 8 election, given that the district leans solidly Democratic. House District 10 includes the City of Boulder mostly east of Broadway.