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Pueblo families upset over roadside memorials being taken down

Memorials limited to 45 days

Pueblo families upset over roadside memorials taken down

PUEBLO, Colo. - Roadside memorials will no longer sit at Pueblo street corners for months at a time. 

Last week city employees began enforcing a city ordinance that limits roadside memorials to 45 days. Pueblo City Council unanimously voted in January to have memorials taken down after a month and a half. 

"We had memorials that had beer bottles, dead flowers, crosses. They just seemed to kind of multiply overnight and they were becoming a nuisance for some folks," said Pueblo City Council President Sandy Daff.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 spoke with several families that had roadside memorials in honor of their loved ones, including the family of Taustin Chavez. Chavez was 19 when he was killed in a car in 2006. His family erected a roadside memorial off of Pueblo Boulevard to honor Chavez.

"To some, it's just a cross and flowers on the side of the road but for my mom and dad and to my sister and all our family," said Cassy Gibbons, Chavez's sister. "To us, it's my brother in a sense."

Every time Gibbons drives by with her children, they blow a kiss toward the memorial in honor of her late brother. "That's where he lost his life."

Chavez's memorial was taken down last week. The city gave mourning families other options to remember their loved ones, including buying a sign to place at the scene of the crash. Chavez's family paid $200 for a sign to honor their brother.

"Not everybody can afford $200 for a sign and I mean what happens to those people that can't get those signs," Gibbons said. 

Like the family of Joe Sisneros. Sisneros was killed by a hit-and-run driver last year on Pueblo's east side. His family can't afford to buy any kind of memorial plaque. They say the new ordinance places a countdown on their heartache.

"I don't think that's right because that's like trying to give me a time limit on how long I can mourn for my brother," said Corrine Martinez, Sisneros' sister.

"I can't ever see my mom and dad or my sister and I ever getting over it and if us putting out flowers on a fence is helping us to get through it than I don't think that's hurting anybody," Gibbons said.

Several families affected by the city's decision plan to speak to city council at next week's meeting. They've created a Facebook page titled Restore Our Pueblo Roadside Memorials. 

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