Trash on the ground in Glenwood Springs

Trash, shelters removed from Glenwood Springs homeless camp

July 23, 2021

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – The Garfield County Environmental Health Department recently oversaw the cleanup of a Glenwood Springs property on the mountainside on the east side of Glenwood Springs that has long been the location of a homeless camp. Nearly 60,000 pounds of trash, as deep as eight feet in places, was removed, along with numerous shelters from the property.

The county took bids on the project, which was awarded to ECOS Environmental & Disaster Restoration, Inc. The contract, which was for no more than $87,250.40, gave ECOS 30 days to complete the cleanup.

Garfield County Environmental Health Manager Josh Williams told the Board of County Commissioners that the magnitude of trash and steep terrain made the cleanup very difficult, and at times dangerous, but thankfully nobody was injured in the process.

“In some parts of this area there was eight feet of debris; there was trash strewn about everywhere,” Williams said. “We managed to get some heavy equipment up in the initial ravine to help break some of the trash up. The campsites and tarp structures have been removed, and halfway up the mountain there were mattresses and furniture that are now gone.”

He added that some of the structures were designed to be more permanent, including one with drywall and plywood walls inside. Hundreds of small camping propane tanks and 34 five-gallon refillable propane tanks also littered the area, and it’s suspected that people who didn’t live at the camp were also driving to the site to dump trash.

“Some of these structures were for year-around usage,” Williams added. “There was a lot of trash and debris, but ECOS fielded an excellent crew.”

Kris Miller, ECOS general manager, told the board that it took more than 1,000 hours of work in the cleanup effort, which filled 10 30-yard roll-off trash receptacles with close to 60,000 pounds of garbage. He added that his crew filled a five-gallon bucket with used hypodermic needles found at the site.

“It was definitely a long and hot project,” he said. “We switched up the time people worked from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., to take advantage of the cooler morning hours. Nobody was hostile toward our staff, but there were people up there nearly every single day.”

“It was a challenge, for sure,” added Commissioner John Martin. “They did a fantastic job, and we appreciate it.”

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