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5280 Magazine July 2021

Founded in 1993, 5280 is the largest local magazine in Colorado. The magazine's stories often make national headlines, and since 2005 5280 has been nominated for four National Magazine Awards. Get 5280 Magazine digital subscription today.

United States
5280 Publishing, Inc
12 Issues

in this issue

4 min
a league of her own

You wouldn’t know it by looking at her, but Buttercup the miniature donkey is a fire-breathing dragon. At least that’s how Brad Wann, media relations director for the Western Pack Burro Association, described her in 2019 as she toed the usually crowded starting line at Fairplay’s annual pack burro race, the sport’s first Triple Crown event of the season. At home, she has the easygoing disposition of a therapy animal, but that day, she bounced on her hooves, held back by her owner and racing partner, Marvin Sandoval. The competitive energy was enough that her full-size, four-legged rivals gave her a wide berth. “Marvin had his own little corner to himself,” Wann says, “and we were all like, ‘Come on! She’s 250 pounds soaking wet and taking these 900-pound donkeys to…

2 min
mr. mayor

2011 June After placing a close second in a 10-way race, then City Councilman Hancock cruises to a runoff victory against Chris Romer with 58 percent of the vote. July Hancock launches the Peak Performance program on his first day in office to make city government more efficient. The initiative—which uses techniques from the manufacturing industry to eliminate waste and optimize output—will go on to save Denver more than $25 million by 2017. 2012 May The City Council passes a Hancock-backed ban on unauthorized urban camping, which critics say effectively criminalizes homelessness. In 2019, a county judge will rule it unconstitutional, sparking an ongoing legal battle. 2015 May After a four-way race with a former punk rocker, a dancer and arts activist, and a retired Black Panther and florist, Hancock avoids a runoff and is re-elected with a whopping 80.2…

2 min
vive la france

The Alliance Française de Denver, a Paris-based nonprofit that’s been teaching Denverites the French language since 1897, was finally set to resume regular operations at its Baker headquarters when, in early June, disaster struck: The building’s north-facing wall collapsed, delaying the organization’s return to inperson classes. The Alliance is working to find alternative spaces to celebrate the French culture (check in with the group on Facebook for updates and ways to help). In the meantime, executive director Zoé Hess gave us a tour of local French fun to help ease the pain. Cue the accordion music. LA VIE EN ROSE Sure, jazz and blues are American inventions, but some Francophone musicians in Denver have meshed those gritty and pliable art forms with French traditions. Nicolas Busquet, whose influences include Georges Brassens—think Bob…

3 min
in the line of fire

Faulty power lines ignited the Camp fire on November 8, 2018, but high winds, drought-dried foliage, and an unreliable warning system all caused the inferno to erupt into California’s deadliest wildfire. Eighty-five civilians died, 13,900 houses burned, and nearly all residents of Paradise, a town in California’s Butte County, lost their homes. Between 2018 and 2019, county homelessness increased by 16 percent. No U.S. wildfire since has reaped such a death toll, but the incineration of entire communities continued this past fall in Oregon, California, and Washington. Given the similarities between those towns and some in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, where homes abut dry forests thick with foliage, experts say the Centennial State could be next. “There’s every reason to believe that in the next five years, a town in Colorado will…

3 min
on yesterday’s path

UPPER PINEY RIVER From Piney Lake just outside the Eagles Nest Wilderness, the established Upper Piney Trail heads northeast along the Piney River until it makes a sharp bend southeast. Not ready to end your quest north? A single 2013 U.S. Forest Service map shows the trail heading all the way up the valley. A web of bushwhacked trails, including this route, leads to views of the Spider, an impressive 12,692-foot peak at the head of the valley. You can hike about half a mile all the way to its base. WEEHAWKEN EXTENSION Today’s maps show the switchback-laden Weehawken Trail, an out-and-back starting at the Weehawken trailhead near Ouray, petering out after 3.6 miles. According to USGS maps from 1948, though, an unmaintained trail continues for nearly another mile, revealing views into a…

1 min

Brasserie Brixton is finally operating as the bustling neighborhood hangout it was destined to be—just nearly a year later than expected. Owners Justin Morse, Amy Keil, and Matt Daniels and chef Nick Dalton debuted the restaurant in July 2020, aiming to bring the charm of an intimate and affordable Parisian bistro to the Cole neighborhood. Then indoor seating limits squashed their visions of patrons packing around the sleek marble-topped bar and gathering around the chef’s counter for steak frites and glasses of wine. The team pivoted to a takeout-only concept called Le Brix Pizza and Wine for the winter, but as vaccines were administered and the weather warmed, Brasserie Brixton triumphantly relaunched Dalton’s dinner menu of small plates and made-for-sharing dishes, such as crispy-skinned roast chicken accompanied by a tangy…