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Colorado Edition: Gone, Not Forgotten

Michael de Yoanna
When mobile home parks are hit by a natural disaster, entire communities may disappear. That happened to several mobile home parks in the state after the 2013 floods, including Lyons.

Today on Colorado Edition: with a large number of states involved in the latest nationwide opioid litigation, we turn to Denver's City Attorney to learn more about how Colorado fits in. We'll also talk to a writer from The Colorado Sun about their statewide reporting collaboration on mobile homes called "Parked: Half the American Dream," and we answer a listener question about the Young Gulch Trail.

News Of The Day:

  • New Senate Challenger - There's a new candidate in the race for Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner's seat. Denise Burgess announced she is entering the race this morning. Burgess is on the board of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the president and CEO of a construction management firm. That brings the number of candidates on the Democratic side back up to 10.  
  • QR Codes - Digital quick response codes – commonly called QR codes – will no long be used on Colorado's ballots. Secretary of State Jena Griswold ordered the change. Griswold said in a statement that it is meant to guard against cyber meddling, including the possibility of interference by Russian operatives in the upcoming presidential election. Griswold claims Colorado is the first state to do away with QR codes in an effort to assure the accuracy of election results. 
  • The Penultimate Kmart - Loveland will soon be the last place in Colorado where people can shop at a Kmart. Sears Holdings announced that it will close the Kmart in Pueblo in mid-December, following a liquidation sale. In a statement, the company said the closure was "difficult but necessary." One of the company's Sears stores – in Littleton – is also expected to be shuttered. More closures could come as Sears Holdings evaluates its profits from stores across the country in the wake of its recent bankruptcy. 

National Opioid Litigation

Colorado legislature passes five opioid bills including one that will limit pain pill prescriptions.

Yesterday, Purdue Pharma, the company behind the painkiller OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy.  This comes after the company – and the Sackler family who owns it -- announced they had reached a national settlement with some states and local governments that could reach $12 billion. 

The state of Colorado has said it would not be taking the settlement. The state's attorney general, Phil Weiser, wrote ,"No current offer adequately addresses the harm that Purdue and the Sacklers have caused to communities and individuals in Colorado by contributing to the opioid crisis."

And although the state has not agreed to that settlement, cities and counties around Colorado are moving towards a unique settlement negotiation called a "negotiation class." The city of Denver says that this is the first one in U.S. history. On Wednesday, the district judge who is presiding over the multidistrict opioid litigation in Ohio, which Denver is a part of, announced that this negotiation class could move forward. 

The city of Denver is helping to lead these talks, and the negotiation isn’t just with Purdue Pharma, but also drug manufacturers Johnson and Johnson, and distributers including Walmart and Walgreens, as well as many others. 

To learn more, we're joined by Renee Goble, the senior litigator managing Denver's role in this national opioid litigation. 

Parked: Part One

Buckley Trailer Park, a tiny community of 16 mobile homes perched on a shelf above Interstate 70 near Georgetown, provides housing in Clear Creek.

Over 100,000 Coloradans live in mobile home parks. For years, mobile home owners had few protections against the people who own the parks where their homes are. But that all changed in May, when HB-1309, also known as "Mobile Home Park Act Oversight" was signed into law in Colorado. 

The Colorado Sun has led a statewide reporting collaboration about mobile home parks, called "Parked: Half the American Dream." The collaboration includes over a dozen newsrooms around the state, including KUNC.

This week, we're featuring some of the reporting from that series: diving into specific examples of parks, looking at the issues residents face... and the larger laws that govern how they operate.  

Today, in the first of these conversations, we’re talking with Kevin Simpson, a writer for The Colorado Sun. He's here to tell us about the new law that offers protection for mobile home owners and what it means for people who live in mobile homes. 

Tune in Tuesday for our second conversation about this statewide reporting collaboration: we'll go to Aurora, to hear about how a city is trying to protect the owners and residents of mobile homes. 

Mobile Homes And The 2013 Floods

Credit Michael de Yoanna / KUNC
It was six years before former mobile home resident Amanda Anderson found a home of her own in the town of Lyons again.

Six years ago this month, flood waters gushed across the northern Front Range. Afterwards, the long process of rebuilding began. Yet for people who had lived in mobile home parks, there was no rebuilding, no return home. That was the story in many places, like the town of Lyons, where the loss triggered an affordable housing crisis. As part of the statewide collaboration about mobile homes with The Colorado Sun and other Colorado news organizations, KUNC's Michael deYoannahas more.

Curious Colorado: Young Gulch Trail

Credit U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Forest Service
Updates to Young Gulch Trail; October 2017.

We received a listener question recently that is also related to the September 2013 floods. The listener wanted to know "why the Young Gulch trail in Poudre Canyon remains closed."

To find the answer, we spoke with Reghan Cloudman of the U.S. Forest Service.

Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music this week by Blue Dot Sessions:

  • "Inessential" by Bayou Birds
  • "Trivial Call" by Bayou Birds
  • "Gaena" by Azalia
  • "Wingspan" by Bayou Birds

Colorado Edition is hosted by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1) and Henry Zimmerman (@HWZimmerman), and produced by Lily Tyson. The web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai. News director Catherine Welch and managing editor Brian Larson contributed to this episode.

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a daily news magazine taking an in-depth look at the issues and culture of Northern Colorado. It's available on our website, as well as on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC's air, Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.