Denver District 5 | June 2020
Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer | District 5
720-337-5555 |   DenverCouncil5@denvergov.org
Chief of Staff: JoyAnn Ruscha | Senior Aide: Logan Fry | Aide: Sara Visser
Dear Neighbors, 

I hope this email finds you and your family healthy and safe. Although we aren’t able to celebrate some of our favorite June traditions, like Denver’s famous Pride Parade, this year, I hope you are getting the opportunity to enjoy a different kind of summer in Colorado. And if you are celebrating, we wish you a very Happy Pride month!

It has been a very tough few weeks in Denver, and emotions are running high. I want to thank each of you who has reached out to our office with your thoughts on the many issues that are facing our community right now. We are working hard to respond to you and ask for your patience as we have received over 4000 emails in the last ten days alone. These are difficult conversations, but they are important, and they are overdue. 

As we embark on these discussions about accountability and transparency in our government, I invite you to speak at City Council on Monday, June 22nd. We will be holding a public hearing regarding my Charter change proposal which would require Council approval of 14 Mayoral appointees, including the Chief of Police, Fire Chief, Sheriff, Manager of Safety, and the City Attorney. You can find out more about signing up to speak here.

In the meantime, please remember that we continue to be in the middle of an international pandemic. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our office if there is anything we can do to support you. For COVID-19 resources and information, please click on the City's   COVID-19 Relief Support and Resources website . Please read on for more information about some of the other, non-COVID-related things that are happening in our community right now.

Gratefully,

Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer 
Denver City Councilwoman, District 5  

Community Office Hours with Councilwoman Sawyer
Speak with Amanda to discuss the issues that are on your mind!

Out of an abundance of caution, the Councilwoman will not be holding in-person community office hours in the months of June and July. She will instead offer 20-minute, private phone or Zoom appointments from 10am-noon on Thursdays. Please contact the office at denvercouncil5@denvergov.org or 720-337-5555 to reserve a time. If you're unable to make any of these times, please contact our office to schedule an appointment at another time.
  • June 18
  • June 25
  • (cancelled July 2nd - Happy 4th of July Weekend!)
  • July 9
  • July 16
Missed the East Area Plan Open House? See an Summary and Sign Up for Virtual Office Hours
More than 150 people tuned in to review the East Area plan draft on M ay 12. To catch up with what you may have missed, click here to download:
  • A recording of the virtual event in several languages - password is East2020
  • Updated FAQs
  • Answers to all questions and comments submitted through the virtual open house

You'll also see the project timeline as well as an overview and archive of the project's history. Want to to ask your questions and submit feedback? Click here for a sign up to speak with city planners during virtual office hours.
Colorado's State Primary Election: Mail Ballots by June 22 or Drop-Off Ballots by 7pm on June 30
Your Vote is Your Voice!
Colorado’s June 30 State Primary will include party primary races for U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and state legislative seats. Denver voters have the opportunity to nominate candidates to compete in the November General Election for those seats.

For information on deadlines, how to vote, researching issues and candidates, sample ballots, tracking your ballot and for voting and ballot drop-off sites, click here or call 303-653-9668 . For information on overseas/military voting, acceptable IDs and more, click here .

Important things to note:
  • Ballots began mailing on June 8.

  • Unaffiliated voters without a preference will receive both major party ballots but may only return one. If both ballots are cast, neither will count.

  • 17 year-olds may be eligible to participate. Voters who are 18 years of age by the November 3, 2020 General Election can vote in the State Primary.

  • Beginning June 23, voters can schedule curbside ballot pick up. Call 720-913-8683, option 8, to learn more and submit a request to pick up a ballot.

  • If you don’t receive a ballot in the mail, you can schedule a time to pick up a ballot at most Voter Service and Polling Centers (VSPCs) to avoid the need to go into a site.

  • Voters with disabilities can vote from home, too. Click here to mark your accessible vote-at-home ballot.

  • Return your ballot by 7pm on June 30 to any of the 37 drop box locations across the city which are open 24-hours a day beginning June 8. See a map of locations.
Share your Garden Bounty and Help Food-Insecure Neighbors
Fresh Food Connect is a Colorado non-profit that links home gardeners with food rescue organizations. FFC, in partnership with Denver Food Rescue, will pick up extra garden produce from your doorstep and bring it to people in need.

 Click here for more information and download the app to start donating today.
High Line Canal Conservancy Summer Projects Are in Full-Swing
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Highline Canal has been essential to the community, immeasurably supporting our health and well-being.

Canal projects you’ll see moving forward this summer: 
  • signage, including new mile markers
  • stormwater transformation in four locations
  • safer crossings and access, including underpasses at Hampden Ave. and Colorado Blvd.
  • connected open space, including Long’s Pine Grove Open Space
  • new trail connections, including I-70 to Green Valley Ranch
  • neighborhood trail enhancements, including improvements in Aurora with support from the Colorado Health Foundation

Click here for up-to-date trail and project information, volunteer clean-up days, donation instructions, social media handles, monthly email updates and more.
Virtual Neighborhood Watch Training on June 18 at 6pm
If you would like to learn how you and your neighbors can effectively observe and report suspicious behavior, join this Virtual Neighborhood Watch Action and Awareness Training. This video conference is a great opportunity for all neighbors who have been unable to attend an in-person training to get involved with Neighborhood Watch. 

Data shows that neighborhoods that have active neighborhood watch groups have lower crime rates. Please get involved! Click here to RSVP and a link with instructions on how to participate will be sent to you.
Attend Virtual Meetings About Denver Water's Lead Reduction Program in Your Neighborhood
Denver Water is hosting a series of virtual community meetings now through July to engage with and inform the community about their  Lead Reduction Program . M eetings are neighborhood-specific and include a variety of public participation options to ensure questions and nconcerns are addressed in real time. People who do not have reliable internet can join by phone-only and interpretation in Spanish is also available. All meetings will take place from 5:00-6:00 PM. 
 
Click here for more information, including meeting dates for each neighborhood and details for how to connect.
District 5's Census Response Rate is Inching Up - Rerturn Your Census Form and Be Counted!
Census data is confidential and is key to having adequate resources to respond to emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Information gathered also helps determine how more than $675 billion dollars of federal funding annually is spent on infrastructure and services in our communities. Because U.S. House of Representatives seats are redistributed based on population, 2020 Census data will likely help Colorado gain an additional House seat, so please fill out your 2020 Census today! 

To respond online, by phone or mail in 13 languages, click here or call  1.844.330.20 20. Here's how District 5 Census responses looks as of June 11. We're getting there!
Access the Denver Public Schools Budget Simulator for Revenue and Spending Info
DPS is funded by money from two sources: property taxes and sales taxes. To help us understand how that revenue is budgeted and how spending in one area affects another, DPS has developed a budget simulator where we can learn about both spending and revenue, and also provide input.

To see how one element affects another, the spending section allows us to increase or decrease the amount of money that is spent on certain items and the revenue section allows us to increase or decrease the amount of money coming from different sources.

Click here to access the DPS budget simulator. The HELP icon in the upper right corner provides an overview of how to use the tool.
Did You Know....?
Have you ever wondered about the little flags that landscapers put in the ground where they're working? Per the The American Public Works Association uniform code, underground facilities must be marked in accordance with the following designated color codes:
RTD Update: Fares Reinstated on July 1 and Scheduling Changes to Help Keep Distance While Commuting
If you’ve been apprehensive about boarding the bus, click here to see how RTD is adjusting service  to provide more space on vehicles to promote social distancing . For example, weekday service for the 15L on Colfax will increase from every 15 minutes to every 7.5 minutes, 6:00am - 6:00pm. Watch this video to see how RTD is also  taking extra steps to clean their vehicles . For more information on RTD’s policies through the COVID-19 pandemic, click here. On July 1, fare collection and front door bus boarding will resume. For more information on bus fares, click here .
Take the Denver Public Library Reopening Survey by June 19
Denver Public Library is asking for community feedback to help develop a phased approach to a safe reopening to the public that will safely meet customer needs.

Click here to take The Reopening Survey, which is available in English, Spanish, Amharic, Arabic, and Vietnamese.  
Current City of Denver Public Comment Opportunities
If you are interested in making a public comment during a hearing , please click here for guidelines and FAQs, and click here to sign up. Sign-up begins 45 minutes prior to the committee’s scheduled start time and ends 15 minutes before the meeting begins.

There are no open re-zoning requests in District 5 at this time. Upcoming re-zoning requests in other Districts are listed below. For more information on proposed rezonings and their public hearings visit the Denver Community Planning and Development website .

Upcoming City Council Hearings
June 29
  • Councilwoman Sawyer re: Proposed City Charter Amendment - City Council Approval on Mayoral Appointments of Public Safety Heads

July 13
  • 4120 N. Jason St.
  • 28 S. Garfield St.
  • 711 E. Yale & 2525 S. Downing St.
Upcoming Virtual Events
Through August 30
Queer City of the P+-lains: An Artistic Look at Denver’s LGBTQ+ History 
Lavender Mist: Gay Men in Contemporary Art in Colorado 
Click here for more information and to visit website galleries. Click here to make an appointment for an in-person visit.
Denver's Central, East Central & Southeast Elected Officials Biweekly Town Hall Thursday, June 25
If you're south of Colfax and east of Broadway, we've got you covered! Your elected officials have been partnering to ensure the best possible advocacy and representation for you! Join us on May 28 at 4pm on Zoom or Facebook Live to hear updates on what each of us has been doing. . Find out more here or here .
My Colorado Exhibit at DEN Goes Virtual
Visitors and residents can now go on a 35-image journey through our beautiful state by viewing the My Colorado Exhibit virtual tour, created by DEN last year. Click here to experience the exhibit.
Susan McClanahan, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist of Lowry’s Eating Recovery Center/Insight will discuss anxiety, depression and related conditions of adolescents and young adults, and what we can do to help them.
Tuesday, June 16 at 7pm
Visit here for more information and here for the Zoom event link.
Denver Public Library Free Children's
Summer Program
The Denver Public Library’s Summer of Adventure program encourages youth from birth to 12th grade to grow, learn and have fun. For more information, to register, and learn about prizes for completing the program, click here.
Free B2B Mixer
Thursday, June 18, 2:00 PM
Hosted on Zoom

Quarterly Networking Meeting with business owners from a variety of Denver neighborhoods to create lasting referral relationships. Click here to RSVP. Use this link to join the Zoom meeting. 
District 5 Neighborhood Organizations
Denver is a unique city in promoting greater citizen involvement through organized neighborhood associations. Currently, there are 78 statistical areas represented by more than 200 registered neighborhood organizations (RNOs), Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Homeowner Associations (HOAs).

In its defined geographic area, an RNO will normally address neighborhood quality of life issues - such as traffic, development and zoning, crime, communication and licensing - and promote social activities to enhance residential spirit, developing a sense of community, and encourage resident participation. RNOs meet regularly and many send out newsletters to keep residents informed on neighborhood issues and events.

Get more involved in your community by joining your Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO). Below are a list of Council District 5 community community organizations. You can also find out which RNO you belong to by clicking HERE and entering your address or selecting a location on the map.