Councilwoman Ortega was elected to an at-large seat in 2011. She has focused on listening to the community and making sure Denver works for all its residents. She has worked to establish reasonable regulation of the marijuana industry to implement the intent of the voters while protecting our children - especially from access to marijuana edibles. She will continue to monitor implementation and make necessary changes in our ordinances as unintended consequences arise.
She has worked diligently to:
- Protect Park Lands
- Protect the Environment and Promote Sustainability
- Address Transportation of Hazardous Materials
- Support the Creative Industries including film/video, performing and visual arts.
Prior to be elected in 2011Councilwoman Ortega served as Executive Director of the Denver Commission to End Homelessness. She represented District 9 on Denver City Council from 1987 to 2003 and served two consecutive terms as City Council President. In these capacities she has worked on a broad range of issues from community revitalization to economic development to assisting our homeless and others in need.
The Downtown Denver Partnership recognized her role in the adoption of Lower Downtown’s Historic District and spearheading the establishment of a revolving loan fund that supported the redevelopment in lower downtown. The fund resulted in $8.1 million in private investment that renovated 149,500 square feet of previously vacant space creating 42 residences and providing space of 11 businesses creating 50 jobs. She is currently working with representatives of the creative industries which in 2013 employed 10,205 and generated $1.8 billion in economic activity to identify how Denver can grow this sector of our economy.
She is bringing her expertise gained as a member of the Negotiation Committee for construction of the Pepsi Center and with the Downtown Baseball Development Committee working to identify and mitigate impacts to adjacent neighborhoods to the table in discussion about the proposed redevelopment of I-70 and the National Western Complex. She is working with local residents and businesses to identify issues and necessary capital improvements to assist the communities.
Councilwoman Ortega has been a champion for our environment. From the cleanup of the pollution in the Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods from ASARCO and other industrial users to protecting our environment and our pocketbooks from the damage caused by disposable plastic bags, she is committed to protecting the environment for future generations. She is a member of the Colorado Hydrogen Coalition exploring hydrogen fuel for public vehicles.
Councilwoman Ortega understands the vital need for affordable housing in our community. She has championed housing and services for the least fortunate in our community as head of the Denver Homeless Commission and long-time board member of the Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation. She is committed to home ownership opportunities for working families and supported recent revisions to the inclusionary housing ordinance which she originally authored.
Councilwoman Ortega supports the recent changes to provide the Office of the Independent Monitor with the proper tools and authority to investigate allegations against Denver public safety employees. The City must reform the operations of the departments to prevent large payouts resulting from excessive force complaints while protecting the men and women who protect us. She will be carefully scrutinizing the findings from the current reviews of the Department of Safety.