Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins: “It’s Like the Zombie Apocalypse Out There”

Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins said although the community looks like a "zombie apocalypse" now, workers are doing their best to clear the streets.

Annaliese Wiederspahn

March 16, 20213 min read

Patrick collins mayor headshot
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

It’s going to take awhile for the City of Cheyenne to open up again.

Still reeling from the blizzard that dumped more than 30 inches of snow on its streets over the weekend, Wyoming’s capital city, for the most part, is still closed and the mayor of Cheyenne is urging patience.

“I know that a lot are restless today,” Collins said via videoconference. “We’ve been stuck for three days now and we all want to get out. But our police department would ask you not to get out in your cars and become part of the problem.”

City officials announced city offices would be closed for a third consecutive day Wednesday as crews continue their work to clear the streets. Residents were asked to remain in their homes to leave the streets clear for snowplows.

Collins said Interim Fire Chief John Kopper compared the community to a zombie apocalypse, with people walking to supermarkets in the middle of the street because there’s no other place to walk.

Because the temperatures have hovered around the freezing point during the day, there’s been very little melting. So the 30-plus inches of snow has stayed put. And that’s a lot of snow.

The problem, Collins said, is not so much the plowing of the snow — it’s where to put the snow. Everything is full of — snow.

So the plan, the mayor said, is to bulldoze an 8-foot wide path down every residential street. The rest is up to the community.

“That means you’re going to have to dig out to get to it, but with the 2 or 3 feet of snow that’s there, we’re not going to be able to do much more than that,” Collins said.

The emphasis will continue to be public safety, he said.

Collins thanked Janine West, the director of Laramie County Emergency Management Office, who set up agreements with more than 25 Cheyenne snowmobilers who have been taking police and fire department workers back and forth to work.

“They’ve been really heroic in helping us get people where they need to go. So I just wanted to say thank you to Janine and her crew for helping coordinate everything,” he said.

Collins didn’t have a timeline as to when residential streets would be open but he did say every street was eventually going to be plowed.

“Please be patient,” Collins said. “We’re doing our best and we’re gonna get there, I promise. We’re using everything and every available asset that we have to get the streets cleared, and try to get the city back to normal.”

Don’t expect a lot of melting over the next 7 to 10 days as the high temperatures will mostly be in the mid- to upper 30s, although 47 degrees is the predicted high for Saturday.

The cooler temperatures are probably best as flooding, hopefully, will be kept to a minimum.

The harsh conditions won’t be stopping the Wyoming State Legislature from going back in session.

Committee meetings will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday and lawmakers will be gaveled for proceedings in the House and Seante chambers at 10 am. Zoom will be an option.

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Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter