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What readers had to say this week about local stories, June 17-23

People weigh in on Purple Cliffs’ closure, a new apartment complex in Durango and the Missionary Ridge Fire

Each week we highlight some of the most insightful, passionate and witty comments shared on Facebook in response to stories in The Durango Herald.

This week, readers weighed in on La Plata County’s plan to close Purple Cliffs and new “above-market price” housing coming to Mercury Village, and they reminisced about the 2002 Missionary Ridge Fire.

We enjoy readers’ input and reactions to local stories: People can weigh in by writing a letter to the editor, via our Facebook page or at the bottom of local news stories at www.durangoherald.com.

Here are a few comments that stood out this week:

Story: Durango wants answers ASAP about county’s plan to close Purple Cliffs
Durango city councilors said they were caught off guard and disappointed by La Plata County’s sudden announcement to close the Purple Cliffs managed homeless camp without a plan for a new campsite. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

“There is a simple solution: house them. That there is vacant housing while folks live in the streets is an indictment of our values as a society who hold the sanctity of private property and profit over human life and community safety. Homelessness is a reflection of our values as a community.” – Natán Rebelde

“Natán Rebelde, I truly don’t believe it’s that simple. Many of these folks have severe mental health issues and simply housing them is not the solution. What do you think would happen to that housing? Do you really think these folks would ‘turn their life around’ and become functional members of society? One must spend time with people like this to understand that their issues run so much deeper than just housing.” – Darcy Vivolo

“They absolutely need services too, but without stable housing, the services won’t be nearly as effective. It’s not an either/or, and you’re still making highly stigmatizing characterizations. I’ve been homeless in Durango and elsewhere and have worked extensively with homeless people. Have you?” – Natán Rebelde

“While I believe that people deserve to sleep where they want, I draw the line at it being my responsibility to take care of them if they are not going to contribute. Meet me halfway or not, but I will not be shamed for not wanting to be the only contributor to their well-being. Create a list of people that are working and/or doing their best to contribute to Durango, and I will be the first to house/support/sponsor them, and I know for a fact that there’s a good percentage of locals that would do the same if it was organized and presented in a way we could personally or financially participate in. But do not expect me to contribute to the demise of our town or being able to safely walk in it. And if our representatives are willing to sacrifice the citizens here all in the name of looking like they’re ‘doing something’… vote them out. Doing something looks like identifying the people that actually need help, and stop bending over backwards to help the people that are hell-bent on victimizing our citizens in order to survive here outside of the system built to support them. It is not compassionate to foster, facilitate or enable addiction or mental health issues, especially in a climate where they can freeze to death as we look the other way, having ‘done our part.’ Pointing fingers at the county seems like just wanting another agency to share the failure of a no win situation. At least in PC (Purple Cliffs) the fires (and there will be fires) will burn upwards and potentially not endanger the neighborhoods of the local citizens you have promised to represent.” – Chris Buck

Story: Durango approves plans for 71 apartments, eight townhomes
A rendering of Building No. 1 for the River Trail Apartments being planned for development at Mercury Village by Reynolds Ash + Associates. Durango City Council approved preliminary plans Monday. (Courtesy of city of Durango)

“It really boils down to Supply & Demand people. When you have a lot of people who want to live in a relatively small town, and there’s a shortage of housing, the cost goes up, the only way to bring the cost(s) of housing down is to have more supply of homes/apartments than there is a demand for. You cannot expect any developer to spend an outrageous amount of money to build low-cost housing! I have no problem at all with what the city approved in this one.” – Bob N Zela

“Insane and irresponsible to build these at all. And saying it’s a high end rental until you can afford to buy is just another slap in the face to many struggling to buy homes in this lopsided market.” – V’laria Autumn Greenleaf

“This is capitalism! Which I have no problem with if it’s sufficiently regulated to ensure positive outcomes for all participants. But it’s not. As long as there are buyers willing to pay for high end housing in Durango it will continue to be the priority.” – Matt Yoder

Story: 20 years later: Missionary Ridge Fire torched homes, devastated lives and taught us lessons
The Missionary Ridge Fire started north of Durango on June 9, 2002. Over 39 days, it burned 73,000 acres, destroyed 47 homes and cabins, and caused large areas to be evacuated. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photos)

“The fire department called a meeting of Aspen Trails and Los Ranchitos residents to give us an update on the fire that had turned around and came roaring back on our area. As my neighbor, Jackie, and I sat on steps with ashes raining down on us, the fire chief said the worst case scenario would be we had three days, or best case maybe five days, before the fire reached us. Within the hour it was here and we were evacuated. I was headed to Bayfield and when I paused to look back, I was sure my whole neighborhood was gone. One of our neighbors worked for the fire department and since the fire threatened three homes uphill and closest to the blaze he and others camped for three days on my deck and called in three helicopter drops! I had left the house unlocked as (we) were advised to do so, and after I got back into my home one of the firemen who was a woman came by to thank me for the use of the bathroom!” – Mary Lou Liles

“We thought that we would not be returning to an intact house when we were evacuated from the Aspen Trails subdivision. A traumatic experience I don’t want to repeat. I am sure there are a lot of stories both sad and funny out there with regard to this, or any forest fire for that matter, that could shed light on our shared vulnerability and strength. Thanks for a thoughtful reminiscence of that disaster and the powerful images captured by Jerry McBride.” – David Kozak

“My son and I were at our cabin in Wilderness Lake Mountain Estates along Upper McCoy Creek when the smoke became thick enough that we grabbed a few items and self evacuated ourselves down to Lemon Dam. We sat in our vehicle and watched the Missionary Ridge Fire light up the sky and flow over the ridge top and continue down the slope on Kelly's Ranch like an advancing army with streams of fire ahead of the body like scouts fast moving and in seconds climbing up a tree and blowing out the tops. Absolutely amazingly powerful. Thank you firefighters.” – Joseph La Mantia

“I remember sitting in a classroom at the high school with other Vallecito Lake residents watching some folks crying because they lost their home, and others crying because their home was intact. Scary times. What an amazing supportive community Durango and Bayfield are though. That made it so much easier to go through. Firefighters are a special breed.” – Sue Mills

Reader Comments