Hundreds at town hall say no to Felix Rivera’s homeless shelter at Arctic Recreation Center


Over 350 Anchorage residents came out to take a stand against Assemblyman Felix Rivera’s proposed homeless shelter in a midtown Anchorage neighborhood. Only one person spoke in favor of it.

The public spent their Friday night at the Arctic Recreation Center, attending a town hall meeting called by Mayor Dave Bronson, and said that their neighborhoods and children living there were not ready to take on the assault of a homeless industrial complex envisioned by Rivera.

Rivera has called the pushback against his homeless plan “reactionary.”

Rivera, who is running for reelection for the Anchorage Assembly’s midtown seat, is the chair of the Assembly’s homelessness committee and has advanced the idea of buying the Arctic Recreation Center from a church. The gymnasium is south of Tudor Road and West of C Street.

Rivera’s idea has been to permanently shelter up to 200 people there, while also purchasing nine adjacent acres and building low-income housing. The shelter itself would be “low barrier,” which means it would have the least amount of standards of any shelter in town, to take the most aggressively difficult vagrants who won’t adhere to shelter rules elsewhere.

Currently those individuals have shelter at the Sullivan Arena, where they sleep on cots in an area that once was a venue for sports and concerts.

The initial cost of purchasing the Arctic Recreation Center would hit taxpayers with a $13 million bill, but that would just be the beginning of the costs. Anchorage is spending tens of millions on homelessness issues each year.

Both Rivera, who delivers for Door Dash to augment his salary on the Assembly, and Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel, who has a lavishly paid day job of running the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, attended the town hall.

Rivera and Zaletel have been leading the opposition to the mayor’s solution, which had included a “navigation center” at Elmore and Tudor Roads, where people could start their journey back to sobriety, work, and stable housing.

Rivera and Zaletel blocked the mayor’s navigation center effort, even after approving it initially. Now, they and their comrades on the Assembly will not authorize the pay for the site work done for the navigation center, stiffing the contractor who did the dirt work, while attempting to spend $13 million to buy a building near a residential neighborhood that apparently opposes their efforts.

Felix Rivera, promoter of the Arctic Rec. Center, sits and listens to the public who is opposed to it.

Rivera, who started his political life working for former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, has said he wants to relaunch the homeless plans with a clean slate. He has begun to realize the extent of the opposition to his plans for the Arctic Recreation Center, as he has seen the pushback at the same time he is up for reelection. Travis Szanto has challenged him for the midtown seat.

Already, the radical Assembly has purchased the Golden Lion hotel at 36th Avenue and Seward Highway for $9 million for a drug rehab homeless center, but it sits vacant because the neighborhood, a nearby Jewish preschool, and Mayor Dave Bronson don’t think it is a good site to treat drug addicts.

Last week, Rivera called the pushback against the Arctic Recreation Center a “reactionary response.”

“This division and reactionary response are impeding my laser-focused work to stand up a shelter by November, before winter arrives,” Rivera said in a statement.

Rivera and the Assembly majority, which opposes nearly everything proposed by the mayor, blocked the mayor’s efforts to get a navigation center stood up before winter hit. That disagreement is still ongoing, as the Assembly is now refusing to pay the contractor who did the site preparation work for the navigation center.

Rivera says now he wants to start over. He will present a new “clean slate” proposal to the Assembly for consideration at a work session on March 31, 2023. The meeting is titled, “Discussion on Permanent Year-Round Low-Barrier Shelter” and will be held from 11 am to 12:30 pm at the Assembly Chambers in the Loussac Library, at 36th Avenue and Denali Street.


      • Because voters were duped by nonstop lies running up to the election and were dumb enough to believe them. The assembly majority is nothing more than a bunch of control freaks.

        • Did they vote against these people? Did they bother to vote at all?

          Until you accept the reality Anchorage has turned blue, you’re not gonna make any headway in changing things.

      • Correction, Maureen: a combination of heavy out-of-state, Soros-funded political spending, and known corruption in the intermediate and untransparent mail-in voting system in Anchorage, allowed these radical leftist clowns to be selected, not elected, to office.

      • Only a very small minority of the people voted this assembly in, check the voter turnout before you claim any type of majority did anything

      • Folks voted in the assembly. Correct, but why/how did they do it?
        When Anchorage went with 100% vote by mail, it all but assured the candidate that was already in the seat got re-elected and/or the candidate with the most advertising got elected.
        It is pretty simple really, more people voting gets poor government. More informed people voting gets good government. And, when a ballot shows up at your house, when you did not ask for one, and when you could care less about local politics, you vote. And, who does a person that is not following local politics vote for? The person who has the most signs and ads.
        Net result, people from outside of Anchorage/Alaska are really selecting the winners. Return to in person voting and I bet the make up of the Assembly changes within an election or two.

    • Concur. They blew right on by Socialism and went straight for CCP style authoritarian rule. This group is full on mob rule totally ignoring the will of the people. Hopefully people did their civic duty and voted to end this strangle hold of authoritarianism and we can get some sanity back into the governance of the municipality.

  1. It’s still cheapest to just buy a plane ticket and fly these street people back to their home towns and families.
    We used to do that but some Woke idiots said it was discriminatory to repatriate people to their communities.
    Time to get back to common sense!

      • How about we repatriate them back to their villages instead of parts unknown south. WHY is there no dialogue with Native Alaskan villages to take back their villagers? Oh! Would it happen to be The Homeless Industrial Complex at play?

      • They aren’t from Seattle. They are from anchorage. Yes anchorage has a problem and Alaska can’t ask “down south to fix it for them” there is homeless in every city in the nation. Why would you think that just cause anchorage has it that they are from somewhere else?

    • Oregon is about to start paying 1000 dollars a month to the “homeless”. Charter a plane and send off the 150 most egregious “clients” of the detox facilities and ERs.

      • No, Maureen.

        While the slim majority of the homeless propagating the streets of Anchorage are not from Alaskan villages, neither are they from Anchorage, itself, or the surrounding population centers, within that context.

        They are not even ‘from’ Alaska at all, most of them, so the majority of actual ‘Alaskan’ homeless within Anchorage, are, within fact, from locations within Alaska that are from ‘outside’ Anchorage or the Valley, which leaves the bush.

        Be honest.

    • Haha, I was thinking: “Of course it’s a reaction, Felix. Slap somebody in the face, you get a reaction. Threaten somebody’s peace and the quiet use of their property, you get a reaction. Put threats to your children in your neighborhood, you get a reaction. Of course it’s reactionary, Mr. Rivera, what else would it be.

  2. this is kinda where this is heading- ‘

      • Since we’re in an information age, “a little birdy told me” doesn’t fly anymore. Election history is easily accessible via the web. In 2017, Rivera was elected with 47 percent in a four-candidate race. His opponents in that race are all familiar names: Ron Alleva, Marcus Sanders and Don Smith.

  3. From the beginning of this problem (so probably three years ago), I repeatedly recommended the vacant Northway Mall as the perfect place for a low-barrier homeless shelter in Anchorage. There is lots of space inside that structure for temporary housing, job search work and employment referrals, medical facilities, mental health treatment options, addiction treatment, ample parking, land for “laser focused” Felix’s low-income housing construction, existing People Mover services, and other needed resources. It could be a “one stop shop” or complete navigation center.

    Everybody I spoke with about this said the Northway Mall was not an option. When I asked about their reasoning for this decision, they told me it would cost too much to replace the roof there. Apparently Felix Rivera, Chris Constant, and Meg Zaletel believe a less expensive response to homelessness, and a better use of our money, is to purchase and renovate several hotels across town and now the Arctic Recreation Center.

    For the money they have wasted on their solutions to the homeless problem (and now with no tangible, measurable success), MOA tax dollars could have replaced the roof on the Northway Mall twenty times over!

    • “From the beginning of this problem (so probably three years ago)…….”
      This problem goes back a whole lot more than three years ago. This is a repeat from 1983 with the creation of the Brother Francis Shelter, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. The problem doesn’t go away by giving a man a fish. It only grows.

    • Barb, Felix, Meg, Chris, etc. want these people in THEIR voting district. These homeless will likely vote. Felix has no skills outside door dash so he needs the money.

    • Respectfully, this ‘problem’ is so much longer lived than 3 years, Barbara.

      I attended a meeting in the mid 80’s to address the growing problem of ‘vagrants’ within downtown Anchorage at the fairly new Brother Francis Center, along with various other representatives from affected agencies, inclusive of APD, AFD, an Assembly member or two, and the downtown partnership, although they were not called that at the time, as well as members of the Brother Francis Shelter and a few of those that utilized the BFC at that time.

      The conclusion drawn, as always, was to address the issue further at a future date.

      Always a future date.

      And here we are at that future date.

      What has changed from that time unto this time?

      Simply an exponentially increased problem.

      Believe the powers that be, and profit from, the homeless ‘problem’, when they utilize the verbiage of ‘homeless funding’ that it is exactly what it means.

      NOT homeless solution funding.

      NOT homeless lessening funding.

      But homeless funding, that is, funding homelessness so as to INCREASE it, at the benefit of those that gain monetarily from its funding governmentally from the taxpayer and allow the supposed homeless to also benefit by doing nothing but gaining more support without actually supporting themselves.

      I suggest that all governmental and supposed non-profit proponents of full supportive ‘homeless’ services at the taxpayer expense should voluntarily devolve themselves of all material goods and income whilst donating all said material goods and income so as to live amongst those whom they so ardently support at the expense of the general populace so as to show their ‘true’ support.

      Tent up, Rivera!

      Tent up, Zaletel!

      Tent up, Assembly members!

      Show your TRUE mettle and support of the so hard fought for and monetized population you so ardently defend at funding other than your own!

      Otherwise, shut the hell up, as you all are nothing but self-aggrandizing grifters, which is fully apparent to the rest of us lowly citizens.

  4. I was at the town hall meeting last night. Thank you Mayor Bronson for putting it on. The neighbors who will be impacted by this proposed shelter spoke from the heart about what the consequences will be for them, their children and their neighborhood. Some of the testimony brought tears to my eyes. Everyone was very respectful and I appreciated that. Please vote this coming election. It seems to be the only way to get the assembly to listen to us.

  5. They’ll do it anyway. Probably at 4:55 on a Friday before a holiday.

    The citizens don’t count. The homeless (and the funding they bring) are more important.

    • Respectfully suggest including “the votes they bring” in the last sentence.
      Nothing appears to prevent special interests from using “shelter” street addresses for registering bums to vote, helping bums vote, and mailing bums’ ballots for them thus assuring incumbents’ job security and the passage of bonds and propositions by acceptable margins.

  6. I like Catarina’s plan! The homeless population has soared since Berky and his cohorts have been pandering to the homeless with all the freebies. Food shelter and babysitting using the Emergency Responders to pick them up off the streets after they plummet themselves downward with alcohol and ANY kind of drug they can injest using the handouts from panhandling and whatever they can steal trade for sex or just plain beg. Those on the assembly opposing the Mayors transition center are afraid their money making opportunities will go away if the homeless decrease in numbers(Meg Zaletel). There are people living in the villages who refuse to work and prefer to use drugs and alcohol which is much more expensive there so they just prefer to live on the streets here where it is so much easier with the free handouts. The village corporations need to step up to the plate and take care of those that make poor choices especially now since they are receiving massive federal ARPA funding.(America Rescue plan act) which taxpayers have already forked over trillions to pay for. My daughter works for a village corp receiving the funds and it is very upsetting to see how completely bogus how the money is being used. No oversight whatsoever. But they still refuse to use any of it to support the few who make poor choices so off to Anchorage they go!

  7. These Assembly members are Evil and Satanic. They need to be voted out of their offices, next week if possible….or this will not end well for any of us..!!

  8. Any money spent on the “homeless” should be spent on inpatient mental health treatment. Any person homeless due to mental illness is by definition, unable to take care of themselves. Mandatory, gentle housing, nutrition and medication. The public inebriates should only be housed after 30 day inpatient treatment.

  9. How is it “reactionary” to object to subsidizing addicts’ bad choices and support them while they trash our city and neighborhoods? Felix, you really don’t have anyone’s best interest at heart, so knock off the “laser-focus” nonsense. The only thing you are laser-focused on in your next meal.

    • Tamra, I find it ironic that Felix is a Door Dasher, as the only thing I can see him dashing for (or struggling to dash for, in his case) is a plate of ribs.

      • I shall now NEVER order ANYTHING utilizing Door Dash at the off chance that Rivera has touched ANYTHING that I may EVER ingest.

        He just appears so….umm, how to put this politely…unhygienic.

  10. Oh.. Probably not be THAT horrible if it is a faith-based non profit homeless shelter not taking a dime from governments. Face it communities are stuck with its sick, blind, and demon-possessed; there no family who wants them nor capable setting them free except Jesus.

  11. Arctic rec center is on Arctic road between Tudor and international airport road about 130 yards north of international airport road
    This this is a easier explanation
    Coached my volleyball basketball and softball teams in that center. It’s beautiful. I wonder what’s going on, why don’t they have enough funds?

  12. I attended both the recent AMAC Meeting and the Meeting last night at the Arctic Recreation center. Of course Felix Rivera speaks out of both sides of his mouth as he is up for reelection. After hearing the testimony last night, if the Assembly votes to buy this center, in my opinion, they should be run out of this city.They do not care about taxpayers and furthermore when people testified neither Zalatel, nor Rivera could look them in the eye. They sat and took notes, I would like to see the notes, wouldn’t you.My main concern is putting the children of this neighborhood at high risk and they have no qualms but to do it. Vote them out neighbors.

  13. Headline is incorrect.
    It should say “hundreds talk uselessly to a brick wall at Arctic Rec Center”
    Because the public will have more likelihood of getting the brick wall to change their minds, than anyone on the Assembly.

  14. Ya , in my opinion the sympathy meter has long since dried up for the vast majority these people, 95 percent of these clowns are working the system anyways and are homeless only by personally choice. Just consider this, If you have energy enough to sit on a cold / hot concrete slab ( depending on the weather) for several hours a day /and then days /weeks /months on end and hold up a bogus signs posted
    With lies asking for money, then I would say you certainly have enough energy to go out and get a dam job . But Until all the stupid people wake the hell up and understand this is not a real life homeless problem , this is basicly a bunch of activist nation wide who are using government to live off the backs of the working people , it is a lifestyle choice in a attempt to fleece the working people and the tax payers. And many of these so called organizations that have just formed recently to supposedly help the homeless people are just creating more public sector positions for this endless game.. So really how is it we spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on homeless issues, well that’s easy , you just hire thousands of people who are not homeless to go out a count all the camps and people who basicly self identify as homeless people. Millions for people can count homeless people , and what else, no results lol, total scam!
    Seriously now, think about it, When you see grown ass men and women who are packing 60-80 lb packs all over the country, piling up debri piles of stolen and rummaged merchandise several blocks long , and their endless efforts to pan handle with zero self shame, yet they can walk for miles and miles like nomads, and build little huts to live iin Places a rat wouldn’t even live in, and yet they can still manage a severe drug or alcohol problem which requires endless calls of destress or help from our police and fire departments, the endless theft and vandalism many of these people partake in on a daily basis, that should to tell anyone with a clear head they are being played and bamboozled! 95 percent of These people are very smart and know exactly what they are doing! They should start fining these stupid people who your occasionally see reaching out their window handing these people money, I would say 50O dollar fine for encouraging this asinine behavior , and these people caught should be put on work crews inorder to clean up all the trash these activist hoarders accumulate all over our City’s. yip anyone who really believes this homeless problem is real, it’s really just activism and drug laws that don’t get addressed anymore. These people live this life by personal choice, the sympathy meter has gone empty for most people I’ve talked with, you reward stupid stuff, you just get more stupid stuff. it’s Clear as day now!

  15. Would it not be wise for Mayor Bronson to start regularly scheduled townhall meetings for us common folks since the assembly restricts our input. Expect a packed attendance at each gathering. God bless the Mayor.

    • This is an excellent suggestion! I, for one, would show up for regular Town Hall meetings organized by the administration. I was very disappointed (but not surprised) when the assembly majority did away with in-person testimony at the start of each meeting.

  16. Great observation DM. It is not rocket science but the ASSembly thinks we are too stupid to see all this crap in plain sight every single day. Day and night! It never ceases.

  17. Who is dumb enough to think there is a solution to the homeless problem? People have been trying to solve it for hundreds of years with no success whatsoever. What makes anyone think the idiots on the Anchorage assembly can do any better?

  18. There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t thank God for giving me the sense to leave the 3rd world craphole known as Anchorage.

  19. I remember Anchorage in the 80s. One of the best places to live and work in America.

    Today only the street names remain.

  20. Why aren’t the native corporations coming forward with the billions of dollars the federal government gives them and taking care of their own?

    • because the monies are used to line the pockets of the folks who run those corporations as “salaries” and other perks.

    • It’s cultural. A ticket to Anchorage is a modern day surrogate for an ice flow. Many of these people are shunned and not allowed to return to their ‘home village.’

  21. His constituents should remember this on Election Day. Get rid of the toxic matter that’s sitting in an assembly seat.

    • Because the town hall showed how wrong Zaletel and Rivera are with their homeless industry tactics.

  22. Finding a solution for the homeless population is like finding the solution for the common cold. Ain’t gonna happen!!

  23. Numbers revealed at the townhall. These come from Zelatel’s Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness.

    Homeless – STATEWIDE
    2020 – 1,949
    2022 – 2,098

    Housing Inventory – STATEWIDE
    2020 – 1,781
    2022 – 2,768

    Homeless – ANCHORAGE
    2020 – 1,058
    2022 – 1.494

    Housing Inventory – ANCHORAGE
    2020 – 904
    2022 – 1,880

    Homeless – Rest of State minus Anchorage
    2020 – 891
    2022 – 604

    Housing Inventory – Rest of State minus Anchorage
    2020 – 877
    2022 – 888

    This Assembly’s housing first model is simple a build it and they will come method of growing the homeless industrial complex and then profiting from it.

    • Curious, thanks for the numbers.
      While Meg and Felix think that these numbers represent an increased need for more funds, in reality they are a direct and indisputable indictment of their approach. Not only do the numbers demonstrate that while the city spent $161+ million on the 1000 homeless since 2020, there has been NO improvement and instead their number has grown to 1500 individuals. So the obvious conclusion is that their plan is making it worse. As an aside where is the accounting for all those funds?? It is further interesting that apparently there are no statistics on how many homeless individuals have left that life, are now productive members of society all thanks to the homeless coalition. During the Berky administration, when he declared a “homeless emergency” a member of the public ask his homeless czar how many individuals had successfully made the transition back to regular life with the city’s help, she could not answer that question.

    • The more, and better services you provide to the homeless, the more homeless you will get.
      Stop putting the wants of the homeless before the needs of the taxpayers, and I bet the numbers start dropping.

  24. As long as Rivera, Zaletel (and people similar to Constant, Dunbar, Quinn-Davidson and LaFrance) continue to shovel taxpayer money into the local public employee unions’ pockets, they will be re-elected.

    The election turnout for these unions, their families and their friends, dwarfs the turnout for the rest of the citizens.

    Deal with it.

    • You forgot John Weddleton. I read he started a “non profit “. The others you mentioned also poured money into non profits that a couple of them make a big salary from.

  25. With all the benefits and open ended hand outs that are now offered and being suggested for all these self described homeless people, and yes free reign open drug use, drug legalization , no laws being enforced for litter, illegal camping, theft , and making places look like a 3rd world hell hole, why are the rest of us Paying rent and buying homes, Hell this doesn’t sound half bad, just dress up like a loser, don’t shower for a week, and walk on down town or elsewhere and join in on this organized extortion pyramid scheme, and yes the people who are lined up with all these latest programs claiming to have the secret cure to the problem , they are the same lunatics who are running this extortion pyramid scheme. So if your all tired of paying your own way in society, and you would rather shoot your rent and house payments into your veins with drugs, and No longer flush your own toilet , and just Sh—t on the ground in front of one of them small business’s that some evil capitalist spent their entire life building, just come on down and join in. There’s no incentives not to take or get off drugs, no rent, no rules , Equaling Zero personal Responsibility, its the ultimate deal any dis functional teenager would dream about.And Now we even have dis functional teenagers running the show all over the country, a bye product of either your failing schools and or your thriving indoctrination mills(schools and universities) . Yet we still have these Drones who still think we have a real homeless problem. This is a organized attempt Nationally to fundamentally transform America people, remember What Barry Obama told you all for years that he was going to do, Yes the old community Organizer and his minions are working the plan he promised that he would do 15 years ago.. Open your eyes!

  26. The answer to lorenandrews question “why arent the native corporations receiving billions from the feds taking care of their own”? They ARE taking care of their own. Every single village corporation/council who qualifies receives ARPA funds which are being used for everything from paying utility bills to buying expensive top of the line appliances ($2500 range) as well as materials for major home remodeling. The problem with that is the recipients of the gifting grants have six figure incomes living lavish lifestyles. They are the first to sign up and since the people who should benefit dont have the educational background or the motivation to improve their living conditions. The funding should be used locally to house and treat the severe mental illness that is rampant in the villages due to extreme sexual and mental abuse that NO one likes to talk about. Instead the victims rely on drugs and alcohol to mask the horrors of being raped by family members and others as well. Eventually the victims cant function in the village due to the guilt they share as victims and end up in Anchorage homeless camps. I have witnessed it personally and know many. Unfortunately it is an endless cycle that haunts generations to come. Therefore the members of the Assembly can “laser focus” on this issue and throw as much tax dollars at it till we put a stop to them!

  27. Spend money on a large mental institution and a large jail/drunk tank. They go to jail or get mental treatment. Then housing only if they hold a job until they pay for their own housing. There is the Northway mall or Point Makenzie jail.

    the more housing built, the more money “nonprofits” make and continue to grow businesses like Zelatal profits from.

  28. Next up:
    Special restrooms and meals for LGBTQ homeless. How many ways can we divide them up, Rivera? Do you want the homeless kiddos too?

  29. Alas, there IS a solution unto this manufactured homelessness ‘problem’, and always has been.

    It is a very simple solution, and always has been so.

    Simply stop funding it.

    Let the chosen homeless exist as they wish to, under the conscription of laws based upon what they wish to exist under, and should they break said laws of conscription, let them suffer the consequences, as that is their individual choice, and they can join the jailed convicts that refuse to abide by societies laws and constructs within forced cleanup and other civilities driven duties, otherwise known as chain gangs, which shall at least contribute unto their 3 hots and a cot within recompense of their City, or State paid existence.

    Let them earn their keep, as well as their existence at the taxpayers’ expense, by partaking within a positive work versus an existentially promoted environment.

    Shovel snow from sidewalks and driveways within the winter, clean trash from sidewalks and ditches, as well as their own encampments all year long.

    Allow them supportive housing within supportive Assembly members homes and yards so as to affirm their self-worth based upon their standing as those experiencing homelessness through no fault of their own.

    Enforce that Assembly members that take from the taxpayers to enforce the payment of the homeless industrial complex to give up their compensation completely so as to support what they endorse and demand from others.

    Looking at you, Meg.

  30. “The man without a purpose is a man who drifts at the mercy of random feelings or unidentified urges and is capable of any evil, because he is totally out of control of his own life. In order to be in control of your life, you have to have a purpose-a productive purpose”. – A. Rand

  31. Has anyone come up with a number for the amount of money spent in the name of homelessness in the last 3 years? It is several hundred million dollars but I have never seen the actual number.

    • A commenter above: ” Not only do the numbers demonstrate that while the city spent $161+ million on the 1000 homeless since 2020, there has been NO improvement and instead their number has grown to 1500 individuals. So the obvious conclusion is that their plan is making it worse.”

  32. Is it true that as a home owner in Anchorage I am obligated to pay for breakfast, lunch and dinner and housing accommodations for people who do not want to work or take responsibility for their lives?

    • I believe that if the funds that have been taken by the homeless industry ever reached these “homeless “ people, that they would be independently wealthy. Unfortunately, 80% of the funds given to a nonprofit can be used for “administrative” purposes. The remaining 20% is filtered as well.

  33. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but…didn’t y’all try that “low-barrier” housing (using a different descriptor) a few years back, with the Hardluck Motel (Karluck Motel)? If I recall correctly, that didn’t work out very well. So who is holding up the payment to the contractor who did the dirt work? Does the assembly WANT the contractor to sue the city, for even more money than it would take to pay the bill?

    • The ANC Assembly is holding up the payment to the contractor, Roger Hickel because they say that they did not authorize the funding for the project. At the last Assembly meeting they voted and voted against authorizing the payment to the contractor even though the Assembly is aware that the contractor will likely sue the city and it will end up costing more.

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