Community conversation addresses “unlawful behavior” in downtown Helena

Posted at 4:00 PM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 18:07:12-04

HELENA – Helena city leaders, local nonprofits and members of the public gathered at the Helena Civic Center Monday night to address bad behavior downtown.

Mayor Wilmot Collins and the Helena City Commission called the meeting after business owners in the area expressed concerns about everything from loud noise, public drunkenness, drug use to concerns about employee safety after hours.

At the community conversation, a moderator split up the participants into small groups who then expressed and wrote down their concerns about Helena’s downtown area. Many of the concerns were similar to those expressed in a letter to the city earlier this year signed by downtown businesses.

The second half of the night was dedicated to defining expectations, possible solutions and resources for people downtown.

Some participants said the meeting was constructive and were glad to see it didn’t target homeless or transient people in particular. ​

“I was somewhat encouraged that there has been a lot of discussion here that there’s a lack of services. So we need to somehow deal with that. While I don’t think we’re going to find the solutions tonight, at least people are somewhat moving in the right direction,” Jordon Dyrdahl-Roberts, a Helena resident, said.

Mayor Collins said he expects Monday’s meeting to be just one in a series of meetings to address the problems in downtown Helena.