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Hey #Boulder, happy Tuesday night. City council is about to start in a few minutes and we'll have the first remote public participation.
I'll be following along via the live online stream, so I've lost the competitive advantage of my tweets being faster than the broadcast.

Guess I'll have to rely on my wit.
Tonight we'll get a COVID update, then have open comment and a public hearing on Boulder's 200th individual landmark. Then an update on the citywide retail strategy and, I hear, more board/commission appointments.
I might be a little distracted for a bit because a moving truck ran into my beloved Roxie, smashed the passenger window and knocked off my side mirror.

He did not leave a note buy my neighbors were all over it!
So I'mma be filling out an online police report and praying Roxie can be saved.
We're getting started
We're having some technical difficulties
Omg the echo is terrible on the video.
Mayor Weaver is reading a statement in support of Asian Americans, who have been subject to harassment due the COVID-19 pandemic. Standing in solidarity with those residents and in opposition to hate.
"Blame breeds a dangerous contagion of more fear and anger," Weaver reads. "This virus with its indiscriminate power reminds us that..." and then the audio cut out.
It sounded like it was a beautiful speech.
Still no audio on my live stream. This is going to be a fun night.
Oh it's back! Weaver still reading.
Young reading the same statement in Spanish
Council OKs that declaration and moves the consent agenda in one.
COVID update now from Jeff Zayach of BoCo Public Health
170 confirmed cases locally
31 probable cases
So 201 in total

Avg age: 49 years old
51 hospitalized
17 of those under 60
97 ppl have recovered
23 pending investigations
5 deaths
1% are 0-9
2.6% 10-19 yo
23.6% 20-29 yo
9.9% 30-39 yo
12% 40-49
15.2% 50-59
16.6% 60-69
9.4% 70-79
9.9% are 80+ years old
"The disease does not discriminate," Zayach says.
We've got by-city numbers for the county
Boulder has the most: 83 cases
"Because we have limited testing throughout the county, we shouldn't take these case counts as exactly what's happening in our community," Zayach says.
"We need to assume there is more ppl in the community positive than what we're seeing tested here."
"There is a lag time in IDing a hospitalized person through the state disease system as being COVID positive," Zayach says. But... "We're starting to see a little bit of a plateau."
"Clearly we've gone through a peak process here. Is this plateau (in hospitalizations) going to continue or are we going to see another peak?" Zayach asks. The only way to know "for sure is to watch our data."
"We're getting a lot of qs: Why are we hearing one thing from experts and then something different," Zayach says.

"This is really difficult to predict. The best experts in the nation get changing info about this virus on a weekly basis."
"The best thing we can do is to look at the data we have vs. trying to do too much projecting."
Reminding council "why this virus is concerning to us."
It affects ppl across the age spectrum, and ppl are spreading it when they are asymptomatic, making it difficult to contain.
"We've learned in the last week that droplets can be spread farther than we thought," which is why CDC is now recommending that the public wear masks or face coverings.
"We do not want ppl to go out and buy medical masks," Zayach says. "It is going to continue to deplete those supplies from ppl in the healthcare system ... and we don't want to create shortages there."

The masks are to protect ppl from you, Zayach reminds us, by preventing the spread of the disease.

"What we can't do is assume that is going to solve the problem." Still important to stay home, wash your hands, etc.
Wash your masks after every use in the hottest water possible.
Zayach: "We think we are beginning to see some successes associated with the stay-at-home order. It's really important that we continue ... not going out unless we absolutely need to." And if you do: Cover your mouth and nose.
"Please stay home as much as you can bc that's going to make the biggest difference."
"Some challenges" with trails in the last couple weeks, Zayach says. "Please try to exercise around your own neighborhoods. Unfortunately we're seeing a lot of trail use in a lot of places."
If the parking lot is full, don't go to that trail, he says.
When orders are lifted, some things have to be in place to keep COVID from re-emerging:
More testing (it's increasing, Zayach says)
Isolating infected patients
Better surveillance and monitoring (state is on that, Zayach says)
Zayach: "Please stick with the orders. Stay home. If you have to go out, make sure you're wearing a mask. Make sure you're washing your hands. Keep your hands away from your face."
Councilwoman Friend says council may be considering trail closures tonight.
Asks Zayach how long social distancing may have to last, even if stay-at-home lifts.
"We are probably in a new normal for quite a while," he says.
"The thing we don't know is if we have any immunity and how long that immunity lasts. Just bc we've had the virus doesn't mean we have long-term immunity. We can't just assume that bc we've had it, ppl can go back to doing their normal things."
What will help the most, Zayach says, is a vaccine. Can't predict when that will be, but that will "help us get back to what I consider a new normal," from a public health standpoint.
In the meantime, "we'll continue to need to social distance."

"Those things are going to have to continue."
Friend: I think I'm hearing you say that it's not that we hunker down for 3 weeks and then social distancing is lifted. I think we need plans that are sustainable if social distancing is more long-term.
Also thanks Boulderites for what they're doing, "the graph clearly shows we are flattening the curve."
Zayach: The purpose for us flattening that curve is to reduce strain on hospitals. "We want to get that curve low enough so it's below 1" that is, each infected person infects fewer than 1 other person, "ideally zero."
"We're going to have to stay focused with this virus, from my perspective, until we have a vaccine in place."
Wallach: how are these numbers tracking against our resources (beds, PPE, ventilators, etc.)?
Dr. Robert Vissers from BCH taking that one. "We're doing well."
"We continue to revise and enhance our contingency plan, includes PPE, ventilators, beds, personnel."

"We think we have the capacity to go up to 171 ICU beds ... if we really had to."
"We've implemented a number of methods to conserve the use" of equipment. Sterilizing N95 masks with UV light so they can be reused.
Young asks (again) about stay-at-home order, which has been extended to April 26.
Zayach has said repeatedly he doesn't want to get in front of the governor.
To be clear, Young hasn't asked before, but other council members have.
Vissers: "We feel pretty good about our contingency planning, our PPE. We continue to seek ventilators."
"BUT we have a number of alternatives we can bring online should we need to do so." That hasn't happened yet.
Vissers: "We are, I believe, seeing the impact. I'm sure the curve has flattened or at least slowed significantly."

That's due to the stay-at-home. Please continue it, Vissers asks, bc "we're not anywhere near out of the woods."
"We're still having to take care of and are there to take care of other medical needs," Vissers says. "We are starting to be concerned" about ppl who are not seeking care but should be.
"The last thing we want" is ppl with chest pains, stroke symptoms, etc. to stay away from the hospital, he says. "We still have significant capacity ... and can route non-COVID patients" in a way that they are not exposed.
"I feel safer walking through my hospital than I do the grocery store," Vissers says, at least b4 we asked everyone to start wearing masks.
Somebody ask about overflow plans!
Nobody did. Vissers and Zayach punted that last week, saying the state was handling it. But the Denver Post story about statewide coordination mentioned Broomfield and Loveland. Boulder was absent from that. Still don't know what the plan is here.
That's all from health experts. City staff is giving their COVID update now. I should probably go out in the parking lot and clean up the shattered remains of Roxie, but I don't want to miss anything.
Yvette Bowden giving an update on what's in the CARES Act. Here's a little summary of what's included in those funds:
Bowden going over how much $$ Boulder might receive from CARES. The short answer: We don't know. Colorado getting $2.2B, but $1B of that could go directly to 4 largest counties (of which Boulder is not one) and state doesn't have to share the rest. (Though it might.)
You can read about that here:…
I asked several questions for that story, including what the city has spent on COVID so far. I initially heard back but then never got those answers.

I will send a followup, but I predict no answers until the April 28 budget study session.
There's a whole slide in here about business resources. Check it out for yourself:…
1,100 responses so far the to biz impact survey sent out by the city, about 21%. That closes April 10.
Hey, the first number I've seen on COVID expenses: "City expenditure of $500k+ to date aiding the small business community - support and application navigation programs, City-owned commercial tenant rent deferral, safe operations outreach"
Mayor Weaver sharing a bit more.
City has put $200K to a small biz relief fund, Weaver says, plus $50K from the Caruso family (Zayo founders)
More details in a news release, apparently. I haven't seen that but I'll find it for you.
Brockett q: Would this fund qualify for reimbursement as a COVID expense?
Bowden: We'll find out, but we're making the case for it to be reimbursed. We didn't expect or budget for this.
Community Foundation Boulder County is going to be administering this. That means I need a disclosure: I've worked for CF (on the TRENDS report) and am currently working for them on their Diary project.
Yates: How do community members make matching contributions?
Bowden: Contact Community Foundation or the Boulder Chamber.
Application period isn't open yet, Bowden says; we're working on that over the next week.
It won't cover personnel expenses, Bowden says, but it will cover recurring COVID-related expenses.

"This is what's needed fast, it's what's needed most, and it's the very beginning."
Young q about disbursement. Bowden says biz with 2-50 employees can get up to $2,500 each; Community Foundation working on criteria

"We're looking for the smallest of businesses," Bowden says. "That's where we're going to start."
Kurt Firnhaber with housing and human services up now. His first slide looks like it's going to be about internet access.
City working close with BVSD to make sure students all have access; hotspots are being given to homes without internet access.
Ditto with the library and Comcast; they have a program that gives 2 free months of internet.
City has done 25 mobile hotspots and the library foundation has 100 hotspots available.
147+ households have been contacted by the city's family outreach coordinators to do COVID check-ins. Biggest needs: Rent, food and technology
Mental Health Partners also providing virtual counseling
City's mediators have handled 43 calls "recently," Firnhaber said
12 for tenants unable to pay rent
8 tenants having to break a lease early
7 around health concerns
5 individuals who had roommate issues (social distancing)
5 for lease extensions, etc.
"In most cases they've been solved through light intervention," Firnhaber says. "Most" landlords have been "reasonable."
City also supporting Louisville, Superior, Nederland and Gunbarrel with those services
All of the mobile home park owners in city limits (which I believe are just 3, bc the city owns one) are waiving April late fees for lot rent, Firnhaber says.
BUT residents will continue to receive notice that payment is due if they are behind, Firnhaber says. "We would encourage any tenants who are having challenges to reach out to landlords and really work on solutions."
This is an interesting graphic about the CARES Act:
Firnhaber: We anticipate the $1,200 stimulus checks to start coming out at the end of April
BHP is seeing 8-10% of tenants who are anticipating challenges to pay rent, according to Firnhaber. Similar reports from other affordable housing operators.
No new vouchers being issued by BHP bc they lack the authority, Firnhaber says: HUD has that power.

CARES Act will shore up vouchers due to lost income
"Housing exits are being hampered" by COVID, Firnhaber says. (That means it's harder to get unhoused ppl into homes right now)
$485,000 is coming to the city of Boulder from the CARES Act, Firnhaber says, by the end of April. It will get 2020 funds ($500,000) by June, he says.
By June, the city will have received just over $1M from community development block grants to use for COVID response, Firnhaber says.
Weaver to Firnhaber: "It is an impressive response from your team."
Asks about the $$ Boulder is getting from CARES.
Here's the slide for that, where Firnhaber got the numbers:
The 2019 funds were already awarded but not allocated anywhere, so it's available for COVID.
There are 16 current residents at the COVID recovery center for unhoused folks; 7 have been discharged so far.
The center has partnered with Clinica and mental health providers, Firnhaber says.
53 community members have volunteered at the center so far. Good on ya, #Boulder!
Firnhaber has some extra slides that aren't in my copy of the presentation. I hate when that happens, and it tends to happen every week.
"It's incredible what our community is stepping up to," Weaver says.
Young asking qs about city work on internet access. The qualifying criteria is lack of access, Firnhaber says, but we're primarily looking at low-income households.
There is some interesting crime info in this presentation: Vandalism has increased YTD city wide, but not in Pearl Street Mall area since shutdown
- Biggest vandalism increase was in January, currently up 40% through March
9% increase in overall reported crime vs 1Q19.
Vandalism is up 40% for 1Q20 vs 1Q19
Burglaries are also up 1Q20 vs 1Q19; 134 vs 87

There was a notable increase in domestic violence cases in March 2020 vs March 2019; 28 vs 15
Total 911 calls were up 1% for the month, but were down notably March 27-31 after the Governor’s stay at home order went into effect

Disturbances and Welfare checks were up in March 28% and 17% respectively vs last March
Wallach q: Can we require the use of masks at grocery stores?
Carr: None under the state law right now. We could do an order; "It would probably be advisory at best. I'm generally not enthusiastic about creating something that would be that difficult to enforce."
Sorry that was a rough jump from the crime stuff but council was talking while I was researching.
Wallach again pushing for enforcement (tickets or arrests) rather than education. "I think we're getting to the point where ppl are doing things that are damaging to our population."
If we're continuing with education, then I hope I don't get a ticket next time I speed down Broadway, Wallach says.
Carr: Education almost always works better. Police will tell you that. And we don't have jail capacity, so writing tickets would undermine compliance. "If we give somebody a ticket we can't enforce, we're not sending any message at all."
Police are working on parties on the Hill, Carr says. The state order only applies to outside of residences.

"We've seen a high level of compliance. There are always going to be exceptions."
Friend: "I have a lot of thoughts."
"I would like to see us do something, if there are more tools we have. Maybe adding back an order of our own... are there any other things we can do? We're hearing a lot from ppl on the Hill."
Carey Weinheimer, interim police chief, fielding that.
In March, we handled 25 noise complaints (primarily what parties are filed under)
This month, we've handled over 60... "and they're not all on the Hill. They're throughout the city."
Parties in general are happening in the city, not jut on the Hill, he says.
Police working with CU officials and the neighborhood association on the Hill to hear concerns and communicate what can and can't be done.
Weinheimer: We're looking at reporting student violators through university conduct office. That's preliminary; we don't know if it's workable with CU. But we're looking at it.
"We're not sure how enforceable it is for citing someone for gathering on their own front lawn," Weinheimer says. But student conduct office would have their own sanctions.
Swetlik: I think that's a strategy that might work.
Swetlik: The 20-29 demographic is being impacted the most. So this isn't anecdotal; the data is bearing that out. That group is clearly not social distancing as they should be.
Weaver: I think there is a "serious concern" about gatherings of 10 or more ppl. Governor has given us clear directives; anything police can do to let ppl know that and disperse any gatherings would be very helpful.
Jane Brautigam: CU is working with us, with police, with landlords on the Hill.
Weaver: It's happening all over the city. I think we need to let ppl know it's unhealthy for them to be gathering in large groups.
Now we're going to talk trails. Dan Burke from OSMP is going to give some info.
Some things that are being considered given high use:
• More direct/targeted messaging at specific locations to discourage use
• At select high visitation trailheads, reduce the parking capacity
• Weekend closures at targeted locations (weather dependent)
• Require dogs to always be on-leash where dogs are allowed
• Increase enforcement of problematic/egregious behavior
• Establish one-way directional travel on several popular trails
OSMP is still experiencing days in our system that resemble peak summertime numbers, Burke says. It's weather dependent; we've seen days that are normal or below normal
"We're seeing very robust visitation throughout the week," not just on weekends, Burke says.

Visitors do seem to be more aware of social distancing, but a "significant number of visitors" are not practicing it.
"Bottom line is: More work needs to be done to increase compliance with distancing."
All picnic areas have been closed, plus areas on Flagstaff. Gates are being left open if there aren't livestock nearby so ppl don't have to touch them. Trailheads being manned every day. Electronic messaging signs being deployed.
36+ static signs placed on busiest trails
Plus more staff to assist rangers in increasing compliance
Boulder OSMP working with neighboring dept, too, RE: closures, bc if they aren't synced up, visitors will just go to wherever is open, Burke says.
"Have we done enough?" Burke asks. No, he answers himself. But some of these measures are new, so we should observe and see if they work.
RE: potential parking restrictions. They would have to be not just at the lots themselves, but nearby neighborhood roads.
"We need to be cognizant we're not transferring a problem from one site to another."
There is precedent for closing some trails on the weekends. It happens in mud season, to protect trail conditions. That could be applied for public health, Burke says.
Requiring dogs to be on-leash could reduce visitation bc it draws ppl from areas where off-lease isn't available, Burke says.
Rangers could step up enforcement, Burke says, "for more egregious behavior."
Burke: "Implementing some of these actions will take additional collaboration, additional materials and infrastructure, and there needs to be enhanced notification. Some of these things we're not going to be able to put in place immediately."
Weaver: "Open space is a gem. Everyone appreciates it. Right now we need to make sure ppl appreciate it in the best way, the most appropriate way."
Friend: I have concerns about reducing parking capacity, bc that creates an equity issue. That would restrict use to ppl who live close to open space, who are likely to be of higher socioeconomic status.
The local Sierra Club has asked OSMP to close trails, according to Friend. She asks for Burke's reaction, and asks how long these OSMP changes might last.
"If we were to do something very abrupt, there would be physical and mental health ramifications and ripple effects," she says. "I'm very sensitive to taking that away from people."
"It's a very stressful time. ... I'm going to be in favor of being gentle with ppl right now."
Last Friend q: How can we increase mask use on trails?
Burke: Rangers estimate 25-30% mask wearing, "so we're not even at the majority point. We have a ways to go."
OSMP staff had to be pulled off trails on Saturday to make sure they all had masks, Burke says.
I wore my mask today on OSMP trails!

I mean, I only put it on when other ppl were around (within 50-100 ft) but I think it counts.
Burke RE: closing all our trails: State parks, nat'l forests, etc. are open. Those entities have closed campgrounds, shelters, picnic areas.
"We have experience in doing that in 2013 with very mixed results. But we have a way we could roll out a closure," Burke says. "It would be very helpful from a regional perspective that all agencies work as one."
"I do have concerns about unilaterally closing our system," Burke says. I want to wait and see if these measures have an effect, but if compliance continues to lack, "there's not many more tools in our toolbox that we could look at that would have a big effect."
RE: closure: "We are putting together plans for how that would work," Burke says.

254 access points onto OSMP system. It would take "a number of days" to close it down.
"But right now, all open space agencies remain open. I would say it would be to our benefit to be in line with regional partners."
Brockett: "You're doing all the right things, thinking all the right thoughts."
Brockett suggests we employ "an old parenting technique of, 'Don't make me take this system away from you!'" on signage to OSMP users.
The most dad thing he has ever said from the dais.
Joseph asks for visual signage to show what 6 ft distance looks like. She brings up something I'd totally forgotten from Fla.: Signs that said "you must be one alligator's length away."
We could use elk or moose.
I also just saw that John Prine died and NOOOO. This is truly a cursed time we live in.
Young asks the rest of council: Where are the twitter photos of council members wearing masks? Send your selfie in, she says.
That was per a community member request.
Swetlik OK with moving forward with additional restriction on open space.
Rest of council didn't really weigh in and now we're moving on.
Back to those crime stats I shared earlier. Not seeing more vandalism on Pearl Street Mall, specifically, Weinheimer says, though it's up 40% citywide.
Apparently the Pearl Street Mall 13th Street restrooms are drawing a lot of unhoused folks. City contemplating port-a-potties instead. Would cost $5,000/month for 3
Bowden says private security has been added to the Mall and on Uni Hill.
Ali Rhodes, park director: Restrooms on Pearl Street are always an issue, not just now. Positive use drives out negative use, but right now there is no positive use bc ppl are staying home.
"We believe anything we do will be a bandaid fix," Rhodes says.
There was $$ this year to study updates to the mall. That will be reallocated to explore changes to restrooms, Rhodes says.
2 portable toilet vendors have declined to work with the city bc of a history of vandalism, Rhodes says.
There are concerns about drug overdoses or medical emergencies with portable toilets. Boulder had one instance in the last 10 yrs where someone died bc they overdosed and no one could see
Weaver: How would portable restrooms be different?
Rhodes: You can't lock Pearl Street bathrooms from inside. And the stalls aren't floor to ceiling, so you can see if someone is inside and needing help.
Yates: Is it your recommendation that we not move to portables?
Rhodes: I think so.
"It would be just a band-aid fix."
Friend: My concern was broader than just Pearl Street Mall. Do we need to be discussing public safety measures? We've had business closed; at least one break-in attempt that I know of. What can we do?
Weinheimer: I think private security is helping.
Burglaries always spike during Spring Break, he says, and this is kind of like an extended spring break for some people.
Friend: Are we offering masks to unhoused residents? Or other education and resources?
Rhodes: I know that's an element our housing and human services is considering.
Firnhaber: We are but I don't have specifics.
Rhodes: There are many ppl making masks; maybe we can connect those folks with this population.
We're still talking about port-a-potties.

Why doesn't the U.S. have the public urinals that are many places in Europe. I may or may not have used one in Amsterdam. (Or was it Rotterdam? Brugges??)
OK this is concerning. Wallach asking qs about crime: What are we doing about the increase (which started in January). Weinheimer's answer: There are things I'd rather not say in a public meeting.
C'mon council members. You gonna let that slide?
This is our chief of police refusing to say what the police dept is doing, during a time when police oversight is a huge community topic.

How is that going to fly??
A bit more about what Weinheimer said RE: The type of crime: It sparked in January, not with COVID. It includes break-ins, not to steal, but for ppl to live in vacant or closed buildings, he said.
The meeting moves on, so must I.
Bill Cowern talking about the transportation dept. "We're very concerned about financial implications" of COVID.

He should be. Transportation is wildly under-funded.
Only 5% in their reserve fund. 20% is the goal; 15% is considered the minimum you should have.

Silver lining of COVID: I'm getting budget info the city normally doesn't highlight.
We're talking about car-share and if it qualifies for COVID reimbursement
Crap, I've lost the feed.
Cowern now talking about Denver closing down streets to cars, for walkers and bikes. Council asked about that last week and staff said it was too hard/expensive.
Cowern saying how different Denver is from Boulder: "They probably needed to do the things they did"
But we should be able to do that pretty quickly and see whether there are any streets in the city system that should be closed to cars.

"Frankly, I think that is unlikely," Cowern says.
Brockett: We could look at it a little bit differently in Boulder, with the point being that we're just hearing about how our open space system is being heavily used. Street closures might help with that.
That's the end of this COVID briefing. Gonna start our first virtual open comment now! New thread for that... should be interesting.

@threadreaderapp please unroll. Thank you!
Oh wait, jk. Some add'l council comments: Brockett wants to add more signage to grocery stores, etc. to stress the need for masks.
Swetlik still concerned about construction crews and social distancing.
Weaver, too.
Brautigam has a broadband update: We have started working on the system. It's going to take 2 yrs for it to be built. First segment will be in NoBo; "close to starting" on that segment.
And a police chief update: Our new chief's first day is April 20.

What a time to start a job.
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