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"I moved in here because you get left alone, kind of a live-and-let-live situation," Morrow says of RiNo. But the smell, he says, "is completely unacceptable, in my opinion. Those people are reducing property values and negatively impacting people's lives."

Kramer-Wine, who now lives in Ohio but still owns her condo in RiNo, says she and her husband didn't notice the smell before they moved in. They had just relocated to Denver from New York City and were amazed that they could live in a 1,200-square-foot loft with hardwood floors and modern appliances in an up-and-coming neighborhood for $1,000 a month — peanuts compared to what they would have paid in New York. But it didn't take long before they realized their new home had a hidden cost. "When you start to smell it, you're like, 'What the hell is that?'" Kramer-Wine says. She made use of 311 as well, and while hers was one of the five complaints on March 19, she never intentionally got involved in neighborhood-wide efforts. "If I knew they were producing food for people, I would have raised much more of a stink," she says.

The first time Lauren Alesso caught a whiff of the factory, she was hosting a housewarming barbecue to celebrate her new Silver Square condo. "I was like, 'What is that horrible smell?'" she remembers. "It was kind of embarrassing, having all those people over."

Alesso eventually opened a modern-furniture showroom in RiNo, which has since moved to South Broadway, and moved in with her boyfriend at the Fire Clay Lofts next door. But she still owns her condo at Silver Square and loves the neighborhood. The smell isn't enough to drive her out, but, she says, "it would have deterred me from buying, possibly, if I knew ahead of time."

Noah Price isn't bothered enough to complain. The owner of two of RiNo's hippest eateries, the Populist and Crema, where the breakfast burrito comes with Muenster and the PB&J includes date-balsamic jam, Price says the smell is "part of opening up shop in the ghetto." It doesn't affect his business at Crema, which is five blocks from the factory, but he suspects it'll be a problem come patio season at the Populist, which opened last month just two blocks away. "If there was a way they could make it so it didn't stink, that'd be awesome," Price says, "but it's not something I'm going to push for. I'll support the people who are pushing for it."

The guys at Shit Bird Customs, a motorcycle shop in an old marijuana grow house on Blake Street that shares an alley with Kasel, aren't willing to go that far. They think the complainers should shut up and move out. "People who have the money to live somewhere nice should live somewhere nice," says Rick Corage.

It's a warm Friday afternoon, and Corage is outside, drinking cans of Coors Light with his co-proprietors. A faint grease smell hangs in the air. Corage identifies the source as a stack of what look like large animal cages without tops, or big McDonald's fry baskets, lined up next to Shit Bird's driveway; he says they belong to Kasel. He walks over to them and points to a shriveled orange-ish triangle stuck in the bottom corner of one of the otherwise empty cages. He nudges it with the toe of his sneaker and says his dog goes crazy for the scraps.

As for him, he doesn't mind the smell. "I've gotten used to it," he says.

***********

In September, the same month Ray Kasel was fighting the odor violation and filing suit against his neighbors, batches of his products were being recalled. An inspection of Kasel's factory by the Colorado Department of Agriculture found that some of his American Beef Bully Stick dog treats were contaminated with salmonella. The treats had been sold under the Boots & Barkley label at Target stores starting in April, and three lots already in stores were contaminated, too.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration posted a notice that Kasel was voluntarily recalling the treats. The FDA warned owners to watch their pets for fever, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. They cautioned that humans could be poisoned, too, especially if they didn't wash their hands after handling the treats, but said no illnesses had been reported.

Follow-up testing by the FDA and the state found more contaminated products, including batches of pig-ear and chicken-jerky dog treats, as well as a Kasel-made Boots & Barkley American Variety Pack, whose ingredients include pork femur bones, cow hooves and beef trachea. The FDA issued voluntary recall notices for each.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Kasel stopped production and made efforts to clean up the factory. He resumed production on October 8, and inspectors visited the next day to test the products being made, which included chicken jerky and pig-ear dog treats. No salmonella was detected, says Steve Bornmann, the director of the inspection division.

But Kasel still has battles to fight. The city and his neighbors have asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit against them, saying his factory "has not been harmed or diminished" by receiving a single odor violation and therefore has no claim.

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17 comments
tkmsn
tkmsn

I am really angered by this article! A bunch of yuppy hipsters move into a "hip" new development and suddenly think they run the place! 

My one objection that I'm not too incensed over to put into words is these reports of the smell of human decomp. Really? I remain unconvinced these new residents have ever in their lives smelled a rotting body. Nevertheless, look around you! Do you not see the nearby neighborhoods? If you REALLY think that smell is a corpse, IT PROBABLY IS! I used to frequent an artist gathering at 35th and Walnut, only to stand at 36th and Downing later in the evening, awaiting the bus. At just the one bus stop, I have been both propositioned and threatened, and have seen drug deals going down. Imagine what could be happening at bus stops and back alleys across the neighborhood! Want to be an artist? Before you can portray life the way you can imagine it, you need to see it for what it is. You can give your little corner of town all the cutesy names you want, it doesn't change that it is a hard part of town, meant for industry, not young suburbanites.

I absolutely agree with Rick Corage: "People who have the money to live somewhere nice should live somewhere nice." (emphasis mine). Buying a loft gives you control of the loft, not control of the neighbors who were in their proper place before you edged in.

purplepomeranian
purplepomeranian

Gee you move into an area zoned nearby as heavy industrial what do you expect it to smell like roses.  This is the same reason why the industrial area of commerce city stinks its an industrial area.  Deal with it or move on out & go find a bed of roses to move into.

patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator editor

I'd love to publish some of these comments in our print edition -- ideally with the author's full name. If that's okay, e-mail me at patricia.calhoun@westword.com. And if you'd rather submit a different letter, that's fine, too!

globevilleneighbor
globevilleneighbor

I live nearby, in Globeville.  Our neighborhood is full of houses and is definitely zoned residential.  The smell is pretty awful there too.  I've always wondered where it came from.  

Petra7
Petra7

This is the reason that originally the zoning did not allow residential. The factory employs people in the area and zoning in other areas should avoid and restrict development like this to prevent further impacts like this one. Maybe they should move on and out. In addition, communities have been against developments for this very reason. They move into a community to push out what is already there,

suethebastards
suethebastards

As the Silver-Square dwellers set up their Christmas gear
Ray Kassel’s across the street, cooking a batch of fresh ear

Christmas is near and gifts require imagination
This year’s been rough, cause the lofts smell like bacon

Denver has an appetite and hungry for some tax
The developments approved, oh-yes…fresh green-backs

Historic factories built into lofts like new
With rail-yards nearby, what an impressive view

With the upcoming lawsuit and all that worry
The evidence smells good but not to the jury

And what about that clever gift fit for a friend?
Perhaps a wind sock located way downwind

A little something special for those RiNo tweeters
The hottest new gadget this year, “scentometers”

With the notion of Santa, and all his reindeer
Undergo a whiff, of flame broiled ear?

sandoze
sandoze

The Purina Plant is a welcome smell compared to the pig ear plant. My first experience with the stench I had considered calling 911 and reporting a dead body in one of the empty ruins of the 'hood. Needless to say it's affected where I patron. I can no longer go to the Walnut Room on days when the stench is in full bloom, it literally comes in through the air filters. I have a feeling the Populist will be the next victim.

As for the comments saying it's the fault of the people who moved there should realize that these areas of Denver are no longer 'out of town' just as LoDo is no longer a downtown ghetto, Brighton Ave is no longer home to a landfill and Stapleton is no longer far enough away to justify an airport that close to the city. Residential and commercial space in that area has been approved and some of it has been there before the pig ears began to roast. There's something to be said about being a good neighbor. Kasel should consider spending less money on lawsuits and more money on retrofitting his filtration system.

milleralexjames
milleralexjames

Instead of reading the entire 6-page article, let me sum it up for
everyone: douchebags moved into an industrial neighborhood, complained
about it's side effects from being an industrial neighborhood, and
doucebag industry owner is vindictive.

jennikoa
jennikoa

This is so reminiscent of when all those people moved out to the new housing developments by the airport and then bitched about the noise.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

I am thrilled to discover that scentometers exist. If they were available to the general public, I would purchase one.

robertpcollins
robertpcollins

I've never smelled a stench in that neighborhood!

admin174
admin174

I was on site for two and a half hours during business and didn't smell one thing. 

RiNoRes
RiNoRes

@tkmsnYou are grossly misinformed.  Silver Square residents bought for cheap years ago and before Kasel Factory was making "dog treats" that have been found to be contaminated with salmonella (google that). They were manufacturing non-odor producing industry when residents moved in then switched manufacturing later on. Doubtful you would enjoy a factory spewing out vile odors of dead animal parts after you had already been living in your residence.

tkmsn
tkmsn

@patricia.calhoun just posted a comment - still feeling pretty turbulent about the whole mess! so it may not be much good, but if you want to use it in print, go ahead. I'd rather not use my full name, but you can print it as T. Mason.

maryloudesign
maryloudesign

@globevilleneighbor 

The odors in Globeville used smell much worse, sickening really, with meat packing, tanneries and (gag) rendering plants. The meat packing industry began in 1882 and was viewed as an asset, attracting people to the area for the jobs and affordable housing. By the 1980s, most of those industries had disappeared with consolidation in meat packing and standards of what was acceptable from industry had changed as well. Although there is a city ordinance that deals with odors (in 1970 it was Denver City Ordinance No 760.12) there doesn't seem to be an effective way to measure odors. Decisions about enforcement depend on the kind of businesses already in the area.


Tally
Tally

@jenna-furrr Can't WW get one for you?  I am sure the cost could be justified as a business expense.  Just think of all the places you could use it.

tkmsn
tkmsn

@RiNoRes @tkmsn So... I googled salmonella. I'm not really sure what you were hoping to prove to me by having me do so. As my original post is concerned mainly with my doubt that the residents of the RiNo neighborhood know what a corpse smells like, I had supposed you hoped there was an article in existence to link the smell of salmonella poisoning to the smell of human decomp. If there is such an article in existence, I didn't find it. Go ahead. Call me misinformed.

I admit... I'm not all up-to-date on industry law. It may well be that manufacturing industries are legally prohibited from making any changes in manufacturing procedures when the consequence will be devastating to the highly-attuned senses of nearby entitled-to-the-world-on-a-silver-platter residents. It seems unlikely, but I do hear rumor of unlikely laws all the time.

Doubtful you know me at all, RiNoRes. Doubtful you know that I am all-too-familiar with general industry and the unpleasantness surrounding it. Perhaps you are right, though. Perhaps I wouldn't enjoy a factory spewing out vile odors of dead animal parts. Or, perhaps I would understand that buying "for cheap" always comes with hidden caveats, and that buying near an industrial zone is not bound to produce pleasant results. This all seems rather circumspect, but here's what I know:    Had I bought "for cheap" anywhere in town and been disappointed in the consequences, I would take responsibility for my poor-decision making and leave; I would not TAKE IT PERSONALLY and BULLY THE LOCAL BUSINESSES.

 
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