Using GOCOS! to report tree issues and damage helps improve the city's response

After May storm it took four months to work through more than 2,000 voicemails
Using GOCOS! to report tree issues and damage helps improve the city's response
Posted at 5:00 AM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 08:10:50-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — News5 is following up on the challenges for the City of Colorado Springs in responding to tree issues. City officials say there are some ways homeowners can help speed up and improve the process.

At the Colorado Springs Forestry Department, you don’t have to look very far to see what these crews are up against. You’ll find piling up tree limbs and the trunks of down trees, especially in the wake of a major weather event.

For almost two decades, Dennis Will has worked to maintain and respond to issues with the city’s roughly 150,000 trees and in the wake of a storm like the one in May. The job for his team gets even more challenging.

”Well, that was a woody and vegetation nightmare,” said Will. “May 20th was probably one of the most serious storms that I’ve been involved with in my time with the city. We had literally hundreds of trees that were blown down and also snow damage.”

The job quickly became even more challenging, with what seemed like endless calls coming in from homeowners needing help after the storm.

”Literally, we had over 2,000 phone calls within about a week and a half,” said Will. ”We had four staff members that spent four months getting information out of voicemails. Those four people could’ve been better suited out in the community actually making inspections and assessing the damage.”

City officials are urging people to try a different way to report tree issues and damage by using the GOCOS! website and app.

”It’s instantly available to us and we know exactly where to go and what sort of problem exists at that site,” said Will.

Jacob Anderson manages the GOCOS! website and app. Since 2019, more than 2,500 tree-related issues have been reported, but many of these reports are still missing a helpful element.

”It looks like about 2/3 of requests are coming in without a photo. We could be so much more prepared if community members could just add that photo. As they are reporting the issue on their phone, they just snap that extra photo and let us know what that looks like. You can even add a photo after you submit the request,” said Anderson.

If you haven’t used “GOCOS!” the city crews responding to damage and other issues citywide hope you’ll give it a try.

”It’s really just about reporting your first issue. Whether it’s your favorite pothole, or a bench that’s graffitied and messed up, or if it’s a swing set that doesn’t work for your kid who uses a wheelchair. We need to know what our community needs," said Anderson.

Visit the GOCOS! app and website here.

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