AA#3-From Kim Williams Trail To North Hellgate

by Travis Mateer

Date: April 4th, 2023
Time: 2:30pm-5pm
Location: Kim Williams Trail and
          North Hellgate
Business contacts: 1
Government/community contacts: 3
Houseless contacts: 0

The sign above is obviously old, and the grass around it is the brittle remains of last fall’s growth. I took this picture on the south side of Hellgate canyon, where I saw 4 tents and some sporadic clusters of trash, probably from the warmer months last year. Here are some more images:

The sites I ran across seemed mostly inactive, and the trash accumulation was not terrible. Not like the location on the other side of the river.

One of the reasons the Kim Williams trail isn’t bad yet is ease of access, or lack thereof. I found this out the hard way with my bike on a trail where the snow has yet to fully melt on the south side of the canyon, so it’s a slog to get to the more remote spots where camps will blossom like trashy Rhododendrons as the weather warms.

The government/community contacts I logged were TWO pleasant conversations, and one message left with the Clark Fork Coalition. One conversation was with an adjunct professor on campus, and the other conversation was a phone call to Fish Wildlife & Parks. Normally calls with government agencies about homeless camps don’t go that well, but my style of honest, direct talking can be weirdly inspirational.

The business contact was, funnily enough, the WGM Group, a well-known player on the MRA-enabled development scene. I popped in to inquire about camps along the riverbank because this nasty camp is close to their location on East Broadway.

Will volunteers, during an Earth Day cleanup, really be able to address this monstrosity? That’s what I’m hoping to talk to the Clark Fork Coalition about. I’m also going to tell them about my TIF, like how an outing like this one only cost my fund a mere $72.65 for 2.5 hours of outreach, 1 hour of report-writing, and $2.65 to park my van on campus for 90 minutes.

Here is the video of my outing:

As a reminder, the main reason I’m doing this is to promote REAL public safety by assessing what’s actually happening in our community before April 10th, including the revolving door of the criminal justice system. A recent example of this dangerous revolving door that puts dangerous people back on the streets occurred recently with a houseless man by the name of Michael Sorlie.

Here is the jail roster showing Sorlie AND another dangerous man, Todd Spence, getting released from jail in a short amount of time.

How can Sorlie already be out of jail after a FELONY assault with a weapon charge?

For additional proof that this person is NOT someone who should be immediately released from jail, here is what Michael Sorlie was up to in 2015. From the link:

A Missoula transient who allegedly threatened to “gut” a woman who was reading in her car near the Northside pedestrian bridge has been deemed incompetent to proceed by a psychologist and will undergo another independent psychological evaluation at the Montana State Hospital. 

Michael Sorlie was slated to enter a plea Thursday in Missoula County District Court before Standing Master Brenda Desmond, but instead state prosecutors and his defense counsel, Neil Leitch, discussed the man’s mental health.

Leitch said Sorlie has been in isolation for the nearly 50 days since his arrest and he is concerned about the amount of time it will take the state to place him in the mental hospital. The waiting time is currently three to eight months, he said. 

If you appreciate the work I’m doing to promote public safety in Missoula, consider supporting Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF). You can also make a donation at my about page.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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2 Responses to AA#3-From Kim Williams Trail To North Hellgate

  1. John Kevin Hunt says:

    There is no fixing the revolving door problem without major increases in funding for mental health services including at our state’s embarrasingly awful and understaffed state hospital. I oppose additional jail.space because the jail populatuon will always increase to fill available space, like a gas. (Unusual exception: the Wapato Jail in Portkand that never saw an inmate after being built and that is now being used for homeless and drug yrrstment services after sittimg vacant for years).

    Since you’re very interested in this serious problem, I suggest that you start casting a critical eye on the Republican legislative majority that refuses to appropriate even whst Giangorte requested to beef up the criminal justice apparatus, while we have a billion dollar surplus. They may be allies on some issues such as TIF abuse, but they are acting contrary to the important public safety interests you document quite well.

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