District 1 Councilman Rafael Espinoza is a neighborhood advocate and architect who has championed community input and collaboration for over a decade. Rafael took office with nearly 70 percent of the vote and a public mandate to provide meaningful representation to Northwest Denver by amplifying resident voice and ensuring residents had a say in the preservation and growth of their neighborhoods.
As a champion of community voice, Rafael has created an open Neighborhood Council for residents of Northwest Denver to help advise the councilman and take action on issues concerning them. Responding to resident concerns, he is working with communities to ensure growth is appropriate and conforms to neighborhood plans and existing character; improve safety through police and civilian relations; enhance primary education; enhance District 1 infrastructure, ensure housing is available for working families; improve parks, recreation and walkability; and champion community voice to bring about win-win solutions for all Northwest Denver stakeholders.
Rafael’s success as a community advocate led residents to encourage his decision to run and eventually take office. Working in tandem with neighbors, Rafael helped negotiate community supported solutions to development in Jefferson Park, stopped excessive signage on Sports Authority Field; steered the committee to draft a 20-year vision for Jefferson Park; chaired a land-use committee that incorporated community input into a high-density apartment complex on Speer and 28th; and helped encourage small-business growth in his community while continuously protecting the interests of residents.
Rafael’s ability to drive solution-based advocacy is shaped by his profession. With dual degrees in building science and architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, Rafael has worked for Fentress Bradburn Architects; the Colorado Department of Transportation; and Northeast Denver Housing Center on projects such as the State Capitol, Mile High Stadium, airports, affordable housing and numerous public and private designs. Using his past experience, Rafael considers the relationships between design, project budgets, regulatory compliance, development goals, neighborhood consensus and what does and does not improve the quality of life as he works with neighbors to grow and preserve Northwest Denver communities.
Rafael and his wife Kari, also an architect, live in a home they designed and built in Jefferson Park where they spend much of their free time cheering on the Colorado Rapids and trying to stop slugs from eating their garden. If you see them around town, please stop and say "Hi".