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Natasha Gardner, Articles Editor

Natasha Gardner writes and edits longform journalism and multimedia projects for 5280 and is a regular columnist for She was named a finalist for a 2012 National Magazine Award in the public interest category for “Direct Fail,” an expose of Colorado’s “direct file” policy of sending juveniles to adult prison. Since that story was published, the state has dramatically changed the direct file law. Her investigation of the Colorado foster care system (“Unwanted”) received multiple awards, including a prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2010, she was also a National Magazine Awards finalist for “Low on O2,” a service package that explores the impact of altitude on day-to-day life in Colorado (co-written with Lindsey B. Koehler). She also won The Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism for “Dry Times,” an investigation of Colorado’s water crisis that she co-wrote with Patrick Doyle. Gardner has appeared on Colorado Public Television to discuss her work and current affairs. She was a Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma Ochberg Fellow in 2011. Before settling in Colorado, she worked in book publishing in New York. She has a BA from Smith College and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado. She lives in Denver with her husband and son.

Author Article Archive

Colorado’s 2020 Senate Candidates: Alice Madden

From serving in the legislature to working for President Obama’s administration and private sector work, Madden believes her experience makes her uniquely prepared to become Colorado’s next senator.

Denver’s 2019 Mayoral Runoff: A Q&A with Challenger Jamie Giellis

A new name in politics, Giellis wants to use her urban planning experience (she was president of the RiNo Art District) to “reimagine” the city, but is facing criticism from her opponent about the way her campaign has navigated racial issues.

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates on the Issues: Education

While the mayor doesn’t have a lot of control over Denver Public Schools, education—especially after the recent teachers’ strike—has been at the forefront of the candidates' minds.

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates on the Issues: Public Safety

There’s a new police chief in town, violent crime in Denver is increasing, the sheriff’s department is under scrutiny—and that’s just the start of the discussion about criminal justice, safety, and reform.

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates on the Issues: Immigration

While not technically a “sanctuary city” (Denver doesn’t have laws on the books saying we won’t comply with federal immigration laws), current leaders have made it clear the city won't comply with certain federal policies targeting undocumented immigrants.

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates on the Issues: Environment

Voters are asking questions about the national Green New Deal, the recent approval of plans for the Green Roof Initiative (or rewriting of, depending on whom you ask), and the return of the Brown Cloud.

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates on the Issues: Infrastructure

Denver residents spend a lot about time thinking electric scooters, potholes, mass transit options, bike lanes, broken sidewalks, and, of course, stalled traffic. Here's what the candidates had to say about the path forward when it comes to mobility.

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates on the Issues: Initiative 300

If passed, Initiative 300, also known as the “Right to Survive Initiative,” would end Denver’s urban camping ban and change the way the city addresses homelessness. We asked the candidates to weigh in.

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates on the Issues: Housing

Yes, Denver’s real estate market isn’t as red-hot as it once was, but increases in housing prices in recent years have left renters, owners, sellers, and buyers reeling.

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates 2019: Penfield Tate III

The longtime attorney and legislator is taking aim at development and advocating for responsible growth. A vocal critic of Mayor Hancock, Tate says he'll be quick to address homelessness in Denver and will bring harmony back to a city that's losing a grip on its cultural past.

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates 2019: Kalyn Rose Heffernan

The activist, musician, and artist started her campaign a year ago as a joke. But she's taken a serious turn. Now, she's "rolling for office" to help people experiencing homelessness and make the city more accessible to those with disabilities.

Denver’s Mayoral Candidates 2019: Michael B. Hancock

Touting a record of stability and success, the incumbent is looking to secure his third term as Denver's chief executive. Though he faces loud critics and experienced opponents, Hancock doesn't think it's time for the city to change course.

Summer Guide

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