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Loitering, filth are concerns at Butte's Uptown parking garage

Uptown Butte Parking Lot sign
Posted at 5:16 PM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-28 12:05:06-04

BUTTE — Some say the elevator and stairwell smell like urine, some people claim they’ve seen vomit and even drug paraphernalia in Butte’s Uptown parking garage. It’s only been in Butte for four years, but some believe it’s going downhill, and they don’t feel safe in it.

“I came back from Oro Fino Coffee and there was a gentleman standing right there urinating on the wall. And then he quickly zipped up and grabbed the bus,” said Butte Public Defender James Dolan.

The multilevel, 240-space facility located in the heart of West Park Street has been the subject of recent complaints of filth and vagrancy problems. Dolan, who works next to the facility, said he’s even found discarded hypodermic needles.

“We’ve had several staff complain of feeling unsafe given the circumstances, given the overall general condition of the sanitation and now nobody wants to use it because it’s in such disarray,” he said.

There are complaints of people loitering inside the parking garage. One person was blasting loud music from a radio on the top level.

As for doing drugs and drinking in the garage: “I had seen that before, yeah,” said a man hanging out at the garage who identified himself as Craig Parham.

“Yeah, I don’t do that, but I have seen that quite a few times,” he said.

Butte police have stepped up patrols of the garage and also have staff from the Butte’s community enrichment department and Parks and Recreation patrol the garage throughout the day.

“So all of those employees coming through the building should be able to keep on eye on who’s there and who isn’t and, so if there’s folks in there who aren’t legitimately using the garage for what it’s meant for, we’ll ask them to leave,” said Butte Sheriff Ed Lester.

Dolan said he’s seen some improvements since bringing his complaint to the council of commissioners in early September, but more needs to be done.