Purple Cliffs Updates

2020 Steps to Improve Safety & Hygiene for the Residents

Community Shelter:

A large canvas tarp provided by _______ will serve as a new community center for residents.   All wood was provided by NINA and all labor is being provided by the residents of Purple Cliffs.  Currently the ground is being leveled,  the timbers are being cut and framing commencing.  Special thanks to the residents who leveled the hillside on Tuesday, May 19th.  This structure will essentially be the same design as the kitchen.  

More to follow upon completion…

Recreation: Basketball Pole:

We utilized a donated backboard and installed a 3.5” x 13’ steel pole (donated by Nick Sherman) for socially distanced recreational basketball shooting.  Installation took place on Sunday May 17th with the help of Purple Cliffs residents shown below:

Food Donation Box:  

We built a box with lid for donated food items to improve the health and safety of donation.  The box was built mainly with free wood pallets and wood donated by Michael Conway. Installation was completed on Saturday, May 2nd

 The way it was:   Placing food on the ground

The way it is now:  Dignity and Improved food quality

Information/Bulletin Board:

Communication is the key for success of any group or team.  Therefore, it was suggested to build an information board at the central camp area to keep all residents of Purple Cliffs informed.  Some announcements and information planned for the board include COVID-19 health updates, resources, and announcements.  Richard Dilworth suggested the team look at the board outside Mutu’s in downtown Durango, and the design was adopted for the sign at Purple Cliffs.  Materials were once again donated by Michael Conway and Pat Brown.   It was constructed on-site and installed on Saturday May 2nd with the help of several Purple Cliffs residents.  Thank You all!!!

The Vision
The Reality

Astro, a resident at Purple Cliffs, burns the letters into the information sign with the aid of only a simple magnifying glass. Amazing!

Solar Cell Phone Charger:  

The residents of Purple Cliffs had no way to charge their cell phones which is especially important to access emergency services.  The charger provides 2 USB ports providing 7W/port for the charging 2 cell phones.   Two lock boxes are provided for security of their cell phones while charging.  The solar cells are protected under plexiglass to discourage theft and damage.  The new charger was donated by Adventure Christian Church and the building materials were donated by Pat Brown and NINA.  The installation date was May 2nd.

The Concept
The End Product
Usage started within minutes of installation and is being used continuously.  The demand is so high a second system is currently being built with material donated by Nina.  


        Where to start?  With Manna closed to the residents there was a need for a local place to cook some meals and most importantly make coffee!

  • It all started with a donation of 4 large 16’ x 20’ heavy duty canvas tarps to provide the cover.  
  • From there a camp stove was installed on cinder blocks, fueled by a large propane tank.  
  • Shelves were built with wood from pallets and more cinder blocks.   The shelves provide a space for storage of donated canned food.  
  • NINA purchased 2 heavy duty water & pest proof totes to store perishable food.  The totes were then placed on small wooden shelves.
  • Residents of purple cliffs did a beautiful job installing a rock floor and stairs to access to the kitchen area.  
  • Residents requested and a station to clean dishes.  A station was built to rinse, wash, and sanitize cookware.  Bleach is provided to use for sanitation.  
  • They then realized there was no place to dry the cookware, so a drying rack was constructed and installed to allow air drying of utensils, cookware, and dishes.  
  • The residents planted vegetables in pots with soil provided by the Vineyard Church.  This church also provides propane and computer aid among other things on Saturday mornings.  Thank you Vineyard Church for all you do!
  • These improvements are designed to provide residents with a clean and safe kitchen area.  
  • Additional improvements will be considered upon resident request.  

Potable Water:  

Volunteer, Richard Dilworth, was making several trips a day to fill containers with potable water and deliver them to the encampment.    To eliminate this ongoing effort, NINA purchased a new 350-gallon potable water tote.  A base was constructed and installed at the center camp area.  Well on Wheels has been contracted to fill the tank weekly with funds from NINA.  Well on Wheels claims the water has a residual chlorine level for added protection.  The water will be periodically tested.  The tank was then covered with a camouflaged tarp to conceal the tank and reduce bacterial growth.  Hand sanitizer is available at the tank site to prevent transmission of germs.  

Since the weather is getting warmer and an increase in campers is anticipated an additional 110-gallon tank was installed alongside the 350-gallon tank.  NINA is paying $63 per week for the potable water delivery.  The total water capacity is now 560 gallons, but keep in mind, Americans on the high side consume 110 gallons of water per day per person (per Well on Wheels).  There are currently approximately 50 residents at Purple Cliffs.  


With Manna Soup Kitchen being closed due to COVID-19, along with the distance Purple Cliffs is from the nearest shower facility, the residents requested a shower on-site.  A simple shower was constructed with a wooden pallet and 1” PVC pipe.  A 4-gallon hand pump garden sprayer provides the pressure for showering and residents can heat water at the kitchen and fill the tank with the warmed water.  One of the residents, Amy, took the first shower within minutes of installation – she was so happy!  All materials and labor were donated by Michael Conway and Jim Micikas.

The Bones
The Completed Shower On-Site

Hand Wash Station:  

With cases of COVID-19 already spreading throughout La Plata County, Michael Conway identified the need for hand washing during food delivery.  The first station worked great, but Michael improved upon the design that is now used daily at the “kitchen” area.  Hand soap is provided alongside the wash station.  Thanks Mike!

The 1st Design being utilized
The Improved, Resident Preferred Design