News release posted for City of Ouray, Colorado and County of Ouray, Colorado.Contact: Glenn Boyd, Ouray County Emergency Manager and City Council Member City of Ouray
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEOuray, Colo - Pamela Larson, the Mayor of Ouray, Colorado, has sent a declaration of economic disaster and emergency to Governor Hickenlooper, requesting assistance on behalf of the City’s business community. The Mayor made the declaration on Monday May 12, 2014 at 6:00pm. The City Council will ratify the adopted the emergency declaration at its meeting on May 19, 2014 at 7:00pm. The Board of County Commissioners for Ouray County also passed a resolution in support of the City’s declaration at its meeting on May 13, 2014.
An economic emergency arises when conditions beyond the control of the community result in economic hardship. Such a declaration paves the way for federal and state assistance, including loans from the federal Small Business Administration. The emergency declaration results from a massive landslide earlier in 2014 that has closed Highway 550 through Red Mountain Pass for extended periods of time. The road is currently under construction by Colorado Department of Highways to repair damage and to place chain covers over areas most susceptible to rock movement. While the construction is appreciated, and necessary to prevent future disastrous slides, closure of the road in the beginning of tourist season, after having also been closed for extended periods over the winter, has had a very detrimental impact on local businesses.
Red Mountain Pass connects the City of Ouray to the Town of Silverton and is the main route between southern Ouray County and San Juan County. The road is heavily traveled by both locals and visitors during the summer. Those visitors often spend time in the City of Ouray and elsewhere in Ouray County, en-route to Durango or other destinations to the south, including Mesa Verde. Businesses count on these visitors for business during the relatively short summer season.
The City also hopes to heighten awareness that the highway us open to the City of Ouray. Various signage along the highway has been limited and somewhat confusing on that point.
“We are open for business and looking forward to a strong summer visitor season. Most jeep trails, hiking areas, fishing access and other recreational opportunities are available during the highway construction. We encourage the public to come and visit us,” said Mayor Larson.
Any questions regarding highway closures should be directed to CDOT. Any question regarding access to businesses and recreation sites should be directed to Glenn Boyd.