Temporary head of Census office lived at Horizon Towers, which was overlooked
The tallest residential building in Grand Junction, which inexplicably was passed over when census forms were sent out, also is the home address of the man who was in charge for a time of the western Colorado head count.
Russell Copelan, who temporarily headed the Grand Junction office after the original manager, Bill Hugenberg, was fired, is listed at the building as a resident of Horizon Tower.
Copelan didn’t respond to requests by the Sentinel for an interview, and a phone number for him was disconnected.
Residents of Horizon Towers, 1111 Horizon Drive, said Thursday that they had yet to receive official census forms.
Hugenberg said it was likely Horizon Towers was overlooked because of problems with the bureau’s database of addresses.
Copelan served as regional technician before taking over temporarily as the head of the Grand Junction census office.
The office now is fully staffed and headed by Kathleen DuHamel, a former field operations supervisor for the Census Bureau and an 11-year resident of Fruita, the Denver census office said.
Residents of Horizon Towers, as well as others who might not have received forms, are not forgotten, said Deborah A. Cameron, media specialist for the census.
“We are preparing to send folks into the field to do nonresponse follow-up, whether it be because a moose was in the way or there was six feet of snow” preventing delivery of the forms, Cameron said.
The Grand Junction office will be in charge of sending out a small army of 2,600 people from Western Slope communities to complete the count of people who didn’t respond to the first and second waves of census forms mailed to residences or dropped off by census workers.
“If after all of these efforts, a resident still does not believe their area was included in our forms delivery, we want to hear about it,” Cameron said.
There are several reasons forms might not have been delivered, “as counting more than 5 million Coloradans is no small task,” Cameron said.
Anyone who has been missed is asked to contact the Grand Junction Census Office at 970-361-3690 and then wait for the follow-up visit by a census staff person, Cameron said.