Just days after a Boulder councilman and businesses near the corner of Arapahoe Avenue and Broadway complained about the homeless population there, most of the homeless have apparently moved on from the area.

City Councilman Macon Cowles said Monday the downtown area at the southeast corner of Broadway and Arapahoe had been "taken over" by people, belongings, trash and unleashed dogs.

But at midday Wednesday, only one person, Diane Boatman, was sitting on a blanket on the grass. Boatman said after seeing an article published in the Camera about the complaints from nearby businesses, the rest of the homeless who used to frequent the area "scattered."

"The next morning, everyone migrated," Boatman said.

Diane Boatman works on her art near the corner of Arapahoe Avenue and Broadway on Wednesday. Boatman describes herself as living outdoors in Boulder. The
Diane Boatman works on her art near the corner of Arapahoe Avenue and Broadway on Wednesday. Boatman describes herself as living outdoors in Boulder. The area behind her was recently cited by local businesses and a Boulder city councilman as overrun by homeless. (Paul Aiken / Daily Camera)

Boatman said she believes all it took was someone telling the homeless people that they were affecting their business for them to move.

"We're not hooligans," she said. "We understand the plight of having neighbors. We understand what they are saying. We just needed someone to come and talk to us."

But Madeline Wessel, manager of Massage Specialists at 1640 Broadway, said she doubts simply asking the homeless to move would have worked. As for what did cause the homeless to move, Wessel said she is not sure.

"All I know is it was a surprise to come in the morning and see the area mostly empty," she said.

Shannon Lyles, a manager at South Mouth, 1650 Broadway, said while he is not sure if it was directly related, he felt there was an increased police presence in recent days.


Advertisement

But Patrick von Keyserling, a spokesman for the city of Boulder, said police did not do anything in the area other than routine patrols.

"If people moved on, it was their own decision," von Keyserling said.

Regardless of what led to them vacating the area, Lyles said he was glad to see the homeless had moved on.

"We felt it deterred customers," Lyles said. "We had some customers say they would rather get takeout or delivery. We would have them congregate outside by the phone charger. It just was not a good thing to have right outside a business."

Wessel said she was waiting to see if the homeless would return after a few days but that their absence the past two days was a good sign.

"It is very encouraging," Wessel said.

Boatman said she felt the spot was popular with homeless people because it was relatively hidden from the road, and she said she plans to stay.

"I like it here, and I haven't done anything," she said. "I take full responsibility; I know I'm here because I made mistakes. But what would you like us to do?"

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or byarsm@dailycamera.com.