‘My first thought was I was going to die,’ Barber says

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‘My first thought was I was going to die,’ Barber says

After thinking his life nearly was finished, bear attack victim fought back to survive
July 2 meeting will look at homelessness in town

The issues of homelessness, illegal camping and an increase in the number of panhandlers have loomed large in the news in the Durango area recently.
The Collaboration of Caring Communities is facilitating a July 2 meeting with law enforcement agencies to discuss the issues and work on solutions, said Eve Presler, chairwoman of the group.
The collaboration, which formed in 2003, includes members of local churches, government agencies and nonprofits, and it works to optimize services and resources for people in need.
An increase in panhandlers downtown has alarmed many residents and business owners. And law enforcement agencies have struggled for decades with the issue of whether to evict homeless people from campgrounds set up around town.
La Plata County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dan Bender said Tuesday that the sheriff’s office for the last two years has posted “no trespassing” signs in the area north of the Durango Tech Center. It’s also given trash bags to help people clean the sites. He said the sheriff’s office has evicted some illegal campers, mainly in the Tech Center and Horse Gulch areas.
“We’re holding off taking any actions at this point unless we receive complaints or criminal activity until this July 2nd meeting, so we can have a more coordinated approach on how to deal with the issues,” Bender said.
He also mentioned that during fire season, it can be a safety concern, both for the general public and the campers.
johnp@durangoherald.com

‘My first thought was I was going to die,’ Barber says

Bear attack victim Joshua Barber speaks from his room Tuesday at Mercy Regional Medical Center about the injuries he suffered Sunday night during a bear attack at his camp west of downtown Durango.
Joshua Barber shows the chest wounds he suffered Sunday evening while fighting off a bear at his campsite west of downtown Durango.
Joshua Barber suffered a scalp wound from a bear bite on Sunday evening when a bear attacked him at his campsite west of downtown Durango.
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