A Durango man with broad blue collar working experience is running for Durango City Council to make a difference and give back to the community.
Douglas Snow, 45, said he is a born and raised resident of Durango and the city could do more to help the homeless population and improve services for the disabled community. He joins the ranks of Carter Rogers, Harrison Wendt, David Woodruff and Gilda Yazzie in the City Council election scheduled for April 4.
The candidates are competing for the support of voters to fill two council vacancies that will be left by Mayor Barbara Noseworthy and Councilor Kim Baxter, who each announced they will not pursue a second term after serving on City Council for four years.
Snow said he is currently unemployed and has been trying to get Social Security because of medical issues that he declined to describe. But he has experience in a number of fields and occupations, having worked in kitchens, gas stations and hotels; security at Purgatory; giving jeep tours; and more.
He said his strongest characteristic is his ability to keep an open mind, listen to varying viewpoints and approach problems from multiple angles.
“I can sympathize with people,” he said. “I understand the different viewpoints. I can look at situations from different angles. ... I like to try to get a broad view of stuff because a lot of times it makes it easier for me to see different solutions to things that people don’t see.”
Homelessness and strong public transportation are high priorities for Snow, he said.
He said when it comes to addressing homelessness, access to shelter – even something as simple as tents – would go far to assist the homeless community in Durango. The unhoused disperse all over when they are given nowhere to go, which heightens the risk for people already prone to medical issues. Establishing a warm, safe place to rest can ensure support is around for those who need it most.
“If you have them in an area where they’re being treated more humanely, if they have a residence, there are going to be other people around that can help,” he said.
He said he doesn’t want homeless people to be so desperate they are sleeping in dumpsters for the sake of having some kind of shelter.
Snow said there could also be more done to aid families with young children and people with disabilities in navigating the streets and sidewalks of the city, particularly during the winter months.
“You have places that aren’t on top of getting shoveling done. Some people, it doesn’t affect them, but people who are in wheelchairs or people who have strollers ... it makes it hard for them to navigate,” he said.
And, he thinks more sidewalks are needed on Escalante Drive between Home Depot and Walmart.
“That’s one of the things I feel uncomfortable with,” he said. “Just because one of these days, (the Herald) will write an article about so-and-so got hit and there was no sidewalk for them to walk on.”
He has mixed thoughts about the city’s housing crisis, particularly about how involved the city should be in directing or regulating development. He said real estate developers pursue profits – “they tend to look to where the money is” – which means they are building more expensive housing.
“How far should the government reach on telling these developers what they should be building and what they shouldn’t be building?” he said. “Or should the city take an approach to where they kind of put their hand into the situation and start developing some areas (with) the intent of affordable housing?”
He said a balance between regulating developments and giving developers freedom to build what they want needs to be struck, which is challenging. He suggested that more mobile home parks could be built in addition to other affordable housing projects.
What he is sure of is that having more construction would help blue collar workers in the construction industry, such as electricians and carpenters.
And, Snow would press the city to organize more large events in Durango – think Snowdown, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic and the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally – to help the city’s economy.
On the economy, he said the city could mitigate high egg prices by changing its ordinance to allow residents to raise more than six hens in their backyards.