NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Saturday February 23rd 2019

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Alley Communications* and its ‘Alley cat’ landing on its feet!

Tesha M. Christensen Meet The Alley newspaper Interim Board members. These volunteers are working to shape the future of The Alley. Back, left to right: Sunshine Sevigny, Steve Dreyer, Thorbjorn Adam, and Gabriel Pass. Front: Lee Leichentritt, Cathy Strobel-Ayres (president), Lindsey Fenner, and Francis Mendenhall. Not pictured: Steve Sundberg and Harvey Winje. Want to join? Email copydesk@alleynews.org.



  • Optimism and enthusiasm of the Interim Board, Editorial Leadership Committee, and new Coordinator are striving to with good energy to assume productive roles.
  • Planning will begin for a public Gathering of Alley readers and stakeholders.
  • Editorial Leadership Committee is being formed to assure the many voices and cultural ways of knowing are represented within The Alley Newspaper.

*Alley Communications is the 501C3 non-profit. There are plenty of ways the organization can grow and learn to be an effective communication tool of the community. Send us an email with your ideas: copydesk@alleynews.org org or call Harvey, 612-990-4022.

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Cartoon February 2019

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The Rand Report: Who is really listening?

By Rand Retterath

Rand Retterrath

I know, let’s put in a bike lane!  AFTER we approve the construction of five new parking ramps to join the existing five — and all within a mile of each other!

Makes sense to me!

Oh, wait, we already did that!  Silly me! And still we have cars parking all over residential streets!

RAMP TALLY

1) Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Blue/26th St. Ramp:  477 vehicle spaces

2) Abbott Northwestern Piper Building, 60 vehicle spaces

3) Childrens’ MN Hospital and Clinics, 26th St. Ramp: 700 vehicle spaces

4) Midtown Doctors Building: 19 vehicle spaces

5) Midtown Exchange: 1,000 vehicle spaces + 400 Surface Lot spaces

6) Wells Fargo: 2,239 vehicle spaces

7) Wells Fargo new ramp: 696 vehicle spaces

At time of press, specific number of vehicle spaces was unknown at these following ramps:

8) Abbott Northwestern Hospital Main Ramp, 2800 Medical Building: 1 Ramp

9) Phillips Eye Institute: 1 Ramp

10) Sheraton Hotel: 1 surface lot

11) Wells Fargo: 5th St. Ramp

According to MnDOT, approximately 14,000 vehicles traverse 28th/Chicago as well as the 26th/Chicago intersections daily, often EMS vehicles.

The city master bike plans were adopted in 2011, with a revisit in 2014.

The initial planning phase for Global Market/Village and Allina included promises of a traffic flow analysis because of the anticipated influx of vehicles coming into Midtown from the freeway to work at Allina. It was again promised with the redevelopment of Honeywell to Wells Fargo, its former step building and the new construction. Both have yet to be performed.

Andersen United Elementary School is still looking for 100 stalls after being evicted from Abbott Northwestern ramp as the hospital had reached capacity with the addition of the Minneapolis Heart Institute and the expansion on 10th. Look for the teaching staff on residential streets. Then the Islamic Community Center went in on 13th. Good neighbors, but everyone has a car. Of cours,e no one likes to pay for ramps when you can park on streets for free.

Finally, all those poor desperate visitors to loved ones in the hospital — they have never been in the city before and think 10th is a one way, the way they are going. And those others who choose the wrong ramp and have to back up. When contacted, one city urban planner responded, “We can’t legislate for stupid people,” and that was just to get some traffic directional signage.

One last point, Andersen United Elementary School and the A/N Hospital have same time shift change/start. Tenth Ave. becomes a major obstruction; so, daily, 40-60 parents use adjoining alleys to circumnavigate the traffic jams. That tally was from a recent school safety officer who was shocked at this quantification.

Likewise, the bike Master Plan has not been updated to correct for actions taken on these commercial development projects.

All appropriate leaders within these companies were polled on thoughts regarding bike lanes and their feedback universally ignored.

AND there is talk of and plans for another bike lane on 10th!

Now, how about maintenance of those stellar bike lanes and the bollards, 1/2 block from the Midtown Greenway wherein half of the trench is unused, because we are saving it for the magical “Mr. Rogers Trolley.”  I have more than one bollard in my garage that I have found lying in the gutter!

And it only took me nine months to get the safe kids lane cleaned up after construction was completed! How about all those meaningless road construction signs, sandbags and barriers littering our streets?

Keep in mind, as a community we support new business in our communities, to that end we acknowledge the importance of flow of and access to goods and services predicated on easy accessible transportation. We see that 28th and 26th are major commuter routes. We acknowledge the future and importance of bike lanes. What seems to be missing in all of this is that age old Minneapolis value of “Community Engagement! How best to serve the most people in a democratic process that involves negotiation and compromise.

In that regard, the lesson here beyond urban planning, future modeling and population/business forecasting is how “do we talk to each other?” In what ways is the current Minneapolis model of conducting business more similar to that of Washington D.C. than we care to admit.  Who is really listening and to what?

Rand has been a Phillips resident since 1992. Hobbies include reading, dogs, home, running, and playing the bagpipes. He is currently the marketing director for a non-profit with a background in market research. He participated in consituent research and business development on the Navajo reservation in Arizona and Mille Lacs Reservation.Under Mayor Sa yles-Belton, he served on the substance abuse task force combating the use of native and chronic inebriate as synonyms. Rand has focused on attempts to revise policies regarding the treatment of vulnerable adults at 1800 Chicago, and raising awareness of toxicity and homeless on the Greenway. Rand has partnered to identify needs on Lake Street related to Sabri Properties, sex and drug trade to expand the conversation to include the multiple trans and gay sex workers as well as female and lesbian pimps.

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Omissions and distortions abound in libraries, too

To the Editor:

by SANFORD BERMAN

Much recent reporting and editorializing has concerned the removal of racist public monuments, changing objectionable names (like Lake Calhoun and Lindbergh Terminal in the Twin Cities), and the enshrinement of colonialism in galleries and museums.  Never mentioned is the alarming and pervasive fact that libraries, too, often misrepresent, overlook, and even defame marginalized, exploited, indigenous, and ostracized communities.

Try searching almost any school, public, or academic library catalog under the subject ”Native American Holocaust” (or “Native American Genocide”).  You’ll find nothing.  It will seem as if the library either owns nothing on that topic or that such an event or experience never happened.  Why?  Because nearly all libraries rely totally on the Library of Congress (LC) to create subject headings.  And LC has thus far failed to recognize the 1492-1900 Indian tragedy by establishing a heading to denote it.  If LC won’t do it, neither will anyone else.  (The nearest LC comes to such a descriptor is “Indians, Treatment of.” This would be tantamount to cataloging materials on the Jewish Holocaust under “Jews, Treatment of”!)

Similarly, LC refuses to replace “Armenian Massacres” with “Armenian Genocide,” although scholars and historians overwhelmingly endorse such a change, which better reflects what some million and a half Armenians in Turkey underwent between 1915 and 1923.  Likewise, Indian nations were undeniably victims of “ethnic cleansing,” but that history is euphemistically masked, hidden, under subjects like “Choctaw Indians—Relocation” and “Cherokee Indians—Forced Removal.”  Also, resources on the World War II confinement of some 150,000 Japanese-Americans are listed in library catalogs under “Japanese-Americans—Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945,” grotesquely suggesting that what happened to them was essentially benign and charitable.  A better heading would be “Japanese-Americans—Mass internment, 1942-1945.”

Right now, despite the American Library Association having denounced the heading “Illegal aliens” as pejorative and inaccurate, that hurtful anachronistic and embarrassing rubric remains alive in library catalogs.  (ALA had suggested replacing it with “Undocumented immigrants.)  And both “Leprosy” and “Leprosy patients” continue as active headings, although affected persons and the U.S. Public Health Service prefer the non-stigmatizing “Hansen’s disease” and “Hansen’s disease patients.”

Finally, many bona fide themes and topics relating to disdained and oppressed peoples simply don’t appear in catalogs, again because LC hasn’t sanctified them.  “Native American Holocaust” is one example.  Here are more: “Mass incarceration,” “White privilege,” “Male privilege,” “Broken windows policing,” “Anti-Arabism,” “Historical trauma,” “Universal basic income,” “Affordable housing,” “Wage theft,” “Democratic socialism,” “Gender queers,” and “Drag queens.”  Also: “Middle passage Atlantic slave trade” and “Afro futurism.”  Plus: White Supremacy.”   Local librarians can correct these omissions and distortions, but lamentably won’t do it unless users demand it.  It would also be helpful for people who value both libraries and justice to ask LC itself to do the Right Thing.  Their address: Policy and Standards Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540-4305

The presence of “Illegal aliens” in nearly all library catalogs, as well as the absence of a heading that represents over 500 years of Indian subjugation and near extinction, may not be as prominently obvious as public statues of Confederate generals, but they are no less reprehensible.  And Fixable.

Sanford Berman is an Honorary Member of the American Library Association (ALA); Head Cataloger of Hennepin County Library, 1973-1999; Founder, ALA Task Force on Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty; Co-Author, ALA Policy on Library Services to Poor People; Contributing Editor, of Unabashed Librarian;  Editorial Advisor for the Journal of Information Ethics; and his latest book is Not In My Library! (McFarland, 2013)

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Raise Your Voice: Contradictions within the popular front

By PETER MOLENAAR

Peter Molenaar

Readers will recall that, owing to internal contradictions, everything exists in motion, both coming and going; changing under the influence of external factors. Our “popular front” form of resistance is no exception to the rule. Yes, indeed: “the lesser of two evils sometimes rises to the level of a necessity.” But, given the opposing camps within the Democratic Party, we must reckon with certain consequences of our actions.

Positively speaking, though, we of the fifth district should feel very proud for having elected Ilhan Omar to the U.S. Congress. Already, Ilhan has achieved a degree of planetary fame, for having slapped the face of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (and all Trump supporters) who are hell-bent to destroy our country by dividing us. And now, from within the Progressive Caucus, Ilhan has joined hands with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in support of a Green New Deal.

Should we all join hands to preserve our planet for future generations?

However, as a member of the Minneapolis Regional Retirees Council under AFL-CIO direction, my own electoral activity was focused on supporting Dean Phillips in the 3rd district. From the standpoint of the Popular Front, my energy was well invested (Erik Paulsen, the Republican, had supported the $trillion-plus tax break for the billionaire bunch). But, Mother Earth has her own perspective on the man I helped to elect.

Actually, Dean Phillips is a straight-up bourgeois type who finds Trump to be an embarrassment to his social class – okay, well and good. However, he has joined the “business friendly” caucus of the Democratic Party and he stands opposed to a Green New Deal. Why? Because he opposes mandates! Meaning: He will support a degree of market tinkering to entice private capital investment, but he will oppose a massive federal investment in public renewable energy utilities.
Hey, Xcel Energy only recently converted to natural gas from coal (under the bogus “Clean Power Plan”… sorry). Consequently, Xcel is more than a little disinclined to now make the required investment in wind and solar, an investment which must occur within a 12 year time frame, lest we face disaster.
Moreover, what productive role might profit-suckers play in the production and distribution of electricity? Answer: none. Would our nation actually be more competitive in world markets without these profit-suckers? Answer: yes.
So, evidently, bourgeois democrats are more loyal to their class than to their nation; more loyal to capitalism than to the preservation of our planet. Therefore, the people’s democratic movement must multiply, expand, and impose its will with deep socialist reforms in mind.

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December 2018-January 2019 The Alley Newspaper

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Residents storm city hall to protest

Phillips community not given a voice at meetings on public works expansion

BRAD PASS
As part of a protest by Phillips residents who have been ignored by city staff and council members, a Native American Drum group performed a prayer and request for understanding prior to the Transportation and Public Works Committee meeting on Dec. 4, 2018. Throughout this process, the city has ignored its own principals and civic engagement, and sought to railroad its own plans for the neighborhood.

by Carol Pass, EPIC Board president

Neighborhood residents continue to oppose the city’s plans to expand its public works facility into the Roof Depot/Sears site in Phillips neighborhood (1860 E. 28th St.) that would further increase pollution and illness in the area. 

Instead, they support a plan fashioned by local residents themselves that bring jobs, affordable housing, an indoor aquaponics urban farm, solar energy, and a bike repair shop to the location along the Midtown Greenway.

Under pressure, probably from Public Works staff, to make something happen, the city scheduled meetings with the Ways & Means Committee, Transportation & Public Works Committee (T&PW), the Committee of the Whole, and the Full City Council and then rescheduled some, making notification of Urban Farm supporters difficult at best. 

Nevertheless, Urban Farm supporters filled the council chambers and overflowed in the hall at the T&PW Committee meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4, as a Native American Drum group performed a prayer and a request for understanding in the pre-meeting chamber. Citizens were not allowed to speak but carried signs to express their support of the Urban Farm concept.

Chair Abdi Warsame (Ward 6) passed a motion that would provide no space for the Urban Farm and permit demolition of the incredible Sears warehouse through T&PW without recommendation to the full council, with the stated hope that it could be modified to meet the needs of public works and the community. 

On Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, the full council passed the bill, modified by Ward 9 Council Member Alondra Cano, which requires the formation of another committee, this time called HAC, which will provide “feedback” on what will be allowed in the Roof Depot site such as Voter Services, but apparently not be the Urban Farm. 

Cano did include a statement prohibiting the demolition of the building without “input” from HAC. 

The bill also provides an extra $950,000 for RSP, the public works architect, for “additional architectural and engineering design services” bringing their total fees to $2,700,000 to date. The Urban Farm architect was not granted extra fees. 

The HAC will take us back a year and a half to the beginning of the GAC. 

History and local solution: 

In 2014 East Phillips residents looked again at solving our serious air pollution problems. More scientific evidence had become available relating the dire consequences of air pollution to our children. We were making a major effort to remove the two biggest sources of this pollution, the asphalt plant and the foundry, from the neighborhood when we heard that the owners of the Roof Depot indicated a desire to sell.  

East Phillips Improvement Coalition (EPIC), along with neighbors and other organizations, sought to gain control of the 7 ½-acre site to prevent its sale to another polluting industry. 

Residents and local organizations had already been pursuing the goal of green jobs and an economic future for people here with limited education. We had been lobbying the state Department of Employment and Economic Development for months for funding to try to produce a “job creator” for our low-income residents. 

Suddenly all the things that we were most concerned about seemed to come together. 

The community saw that the Roof Depot site could provide a pollution-free source for jobs and we would also continue to work to remove the asphalt plant and foundry. 

Many community meetings were held as the residents and members of local organizations came together, hired a professional consultant and developed a plan to re-use the building and the whole 7 ½-acres for a community-driven sustainable low-impact industry to provide an economic future for people in Phillips, something dramatically needed and never attempted before. 

2015 Community Plan: 

The plan that emerged from countless meetings through 2015 and 16, the East Phillips Indoor Urban Farm project, gained traction with strong support from the Native American, Somali and Hispanic communities and other interested neighbors. 

The community sought and found investors, presented and received unanimous endorsement of the plan from the 150 residents at the 2015 East Phillips Annual Meeting. 

At this time, EPIC contacted and began negotiating with the owners of the Roof Depot site for purchase. Also, during this time, we learned of the city’s interest in this property… and we also learned that this interest and their plans went back over a decade without ever informing and including us. 

In 2016, our years of lobbying with the state began to pay off. With the help of legislation sponsored by Rep. Karen Clark and senators Jeff Hayden and Patricia Torres Ray, EPIC received a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) grant to plan and help develop the East Phillips Neighborhood Indoor Urban Farm project. 

As indicated in the grant, EPIC and others helped form an inclusive non-profit corporation with the name East Phillips Neighborhood Institute Inc. (EPNI) to be responsible for the creation of the indoor Urban Farm. The plan initially involved repurposing and reusing the entire building, adding at least 28 units of affordable family housing and creating the largest solar array in the state to power it. 

City’s response – Collision Course: 

In 2015, the city threatened the use of eminent domain and the Roof Depot owners quit talking to us. 

The City Council voted 9-4 to allow public works to purchase the building, which they did, and to convert the site to more industry – the City Water and Sewer Maintenance facility. 

Council members Cam Gordon, Jacob Frey and Andrew Johnson joined Council Member Alondra Cano in opposition. 

As a condition of the council vote, Public Works appointed the GAC committee to determine community use should there be any un-needed space at the site. 

As the meetings proceeded, we struggled to get the community voice heard while the city’s space needs at the site ballooned well beyond water yard needs, even including early voting space, guaranteeing that there would be no excess space for the community. 

In mid-2017, at the 4th GAC meeting, Staff Chair Friddle erupted angrily and threateningly to prohibited State Rep. Karen Clark from explaining how the Cumulative Pollution Legislation she wrote would affect this project. His angry fist-waving-rush across the room shocked us all. 

Rep. Clark, saying she would not tolerate such disrespect, left the building. The Native Americans, also claiming disrespect, left followed by most of the remaining GAC members, thus terminating the GAC charade. 

Since then, the community has been trying with no success to have meaningful negotiations with the city staff decision makers to save a 3-acre parcel with a necessary portion of the building. The community recently, to facilitate the possibility of negotiation and to meet the needs of the city and the community, reduced this to as little as 2 acres of the site – 12% of their 16+ acres. Still no response from the decision makers. 

Negotiation requires a two-sided relationship. Where is the city?

EPIC hosted two huge community meetings at East Phillips Park in November 2017 and September 2018 with approximately 250 community members at each. 

Votes were taken at both as to those favoring the city’s Water Works plan or the community’s Indoor Urban Farm Project. 

No one at either meeting voted in favor of any of the city plans. 

They nearly unanimously favored the 3-acre community plan (two votes at the 2017 meeting went for increasing the size of the community plan to include the entire 7 ½ acres). 

It must be noted that a presentation of the community plan was not included on the city’s agenda or permitted at the 2018 meeting nor was it permitted at the subsequent city council meetings listed below. So much for community engagement!

The current situation:  

After the demise of GAC, in direct contradiction of their own principals of Community Engagement, the city has never allowed the community to present or speak at any of these meetings or decision-making sessions. The number one principal of community engagement states:

“Right to be involved – Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process”. (Passed by Mpls. City Council in 2007 – updated in 2014) 

There has been absolutely no effort by the city to understand, honor or even hear of the hard work of the community or abide by the principals of the Blueprint of Equitable Engagement endorsed by the city of Minneapolis.

The East Phillips Community has a reputation for not taking “NO” as an answer.

Ethical Imperative: 

The Roof Depot site has become the focal point of a struggle in East Phillips over the community’s self-determination and its right to protect its children from harm. 

This is not some abstract “feel-good” concept as some have suggested. 

It is based on the belief that residents should have the right to protect their children and themselves from the very serious health-challenging and life-destroying effects of asthma, ADHD and cancer, caused by hazardous air pollution from the heavily polluting industries already in the Roof Depot area. 

The many additional huge diesel trucks coming with the proposed City Water Yard project along with hundreds of employee vehicles will add to the cumulative pollution already emanating from adjacent asphalt plant, foundry and roadways.  

These major industries are only a fence or an alleyway’s distance from family housing and apartments with many small children and their playground as well as a major daycare center, and it is less than a block from the largest urban Native American population in the United States, Little Earth of United Tribes’ with their large population of children and many vulnerable adults. 

That parents and friends of the neighborhood should fight against this pollution and try to mitigate it as well as the dangerous traffic congestion should surprise no one. Frankly, it is a duty incumbent on all of us, especially city leaders, to try to mitigate negative impacts on low-income families and children with few resources. 

The objections of the neighborhood should be responded to by the city with generosity and a clear effort to assist those who are trying to better a situation that has pulled down the lives of the people of East Phillips for generations. 

The community is saying, “Enough is enough.” 

The neighborhood families have hosted this life-damaging situation long enough. They wonder why city leaders will not listen, understand and respond.

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ANALYSIS: Environmental racism, degradation not new to Phillips

Residents disregarded by city for decades and, perhaps, more is yet to come

by HARVEY WINJE

The Mpls. City Council’s recent denial of any use of the Roof Depot site by East Phillips Neighborhood Institute is a continuation of the institutionalized environmental racism that has plagued local residents for decades.  The continuing prejudicial treatment ensures that the same devastation to the neighborhood will keep happening in years ahead.

In 1939, an incinerator was built adjacent to Pioneer and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery in spite of broad disagreement and protest by the South Minneapolis Association (a large coalition of many sub-groups), the area’s City Council Alderman, and the Mayor. Organizing meetings at the old South High School (current site of Little Earth of United Tribes) had 3,000 people attending and 300 people protesting at a city council meeting.

At the time of the building of this incinerator in the 20th century, large tracts of land east of the Cemetery were occupied by railroad yards and large industries. Also nearby, at the intersection of 28th St. and Hiawatha, there was a large Sears Roebucks Warehouse, an oil and fuel distributor, an arsenic distribution center (arsenic was used as pesticide to wipe out the grasshopper infestation), and other businesses.

There were three dozen houses in the immediate area and many more between there and Cedar Ave.  In the early decades of Minneapolis, it was convenient for worker housing to be near the industry.  As the impact of industrial pollution became apparent, this closeness of industry and residential living became an obvious contradiction and harmful to thousands of people.

The pattern was set as government then proceeded to allow more facilities around that incinerator. With the incinerator’s existence, it was more convenient and was the path of least resistance in an area where residents were perceived to not have the same clout as wealthier residents in other parts of the city.

More environmental degradations attempted in name of ‘Public Good’ 

The pollution increased but the houses remained for a time. Additional land was cleared nearby when the original South High School was demolished to build housing (now Little Earth of United Tribes).  Then, three decades ago, 35 houses and 8 commercial were purchased and demolished to clear land for a large garbage transfer station by Hennepin County for 750 city garbage trucks to dump their loads each day.

Neighbors fought that intrusion for over a decade and finally succeeded in convincing county authorities that, in fact, this garbage transfer station wasn’t needed anywhere in the Minneapolis.  The county had been using outdated garbage and recycling statistics to justify the need for this facility.  The city disagreed but lost the battle. There were other victories such as the defeat of the Midtown Eco-burner (Cogenerating Plant) proposal in 2007 and the campaign to force Xcel Energy to bury high voltage power lines in 2009 along the Midtown Greenway in Phillips rather than having them overhead.

Further colonization and city

Today, the city is still after more land and the environmental degradations continue. The city again runs rampant against local opposition in their intent to demolish the Sears Warehouse (now called Roof Depot) to expand the city’s adjacent public works facility (including asphalt production).

At a recent meeting in the neighborhood, a city official said, privately after the meeting, that testimony during the meeting declaring that other neighborhoods didn’t want such a facility wasn’t true.  He said that there were other areas where it could be located successfully.  He then added that no other site had the advantage of having a current facility such as Public Works like that between the Sears/Roof Depot site and 26th St.

This declaration was a forewarning in disguise that this whole area is doomed.  With this mindset, the city will cross 28th St., Longfellow Ave., and 26th St., demolish existing houses and buildings, and amass more city facilities and add to the environmental degradation to a part of the city they deem dispensable. The current 9-acre proposal will be increased to who knows how many acres. This, in turn, can add to broader community destabilization.

It is a “domino effect” – as one domino falls, it knocks down another.  As one house is demolished,then another will be demolished.  As one block is demolished, then another will be lost. 

The current city council and city staff are repeating and promoting the strategies employed through environmental racism that began decades ago and has been repeated again and again. 

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Navigation Center built

Franklin/Hiawatha Encampment respite ready

TESHA M. CHRISTENEN
Workers put the finishing touches on the Navigation Center in mid December 2018 so that those experiencing homelessness will have safe and secure, low-barrier housing at 2109 S. Cedar Ave.

by CAMLLE GAGE and MARGARET KING, COURTESY OF METROPOLITAN URBAN INDIAN DIRECTORS

If you’ve been following the situation at the Franklin Hiawatha homeless encampment, you’ve probably heard of the new “Navigation Center” being created by the city of Minneapolis and a variety of government and other partners. 

After months of waiting, information about the center is now available to share. Here is a list of frequently asked questions about the center, which will provide safe and secure shelter for the homeless residents of the Franklin Hiawatha encampment. 

Thanks to Margaret King, the city of Minneapolis Navigation Center project coordinator, for helping to compile these answers.

What is the Navigation Center and when will it open?

The center is a low barrier 24/7 access shelter designed for people living in the Franklin Hiawatha encampment. It will provide a calm, clean, safe environment with access to intensive support services. The center is scheduled to open in mid-December.

Who came up with the idea?

The Navigation Center concept is being used in a variety of cities across the country who are experiencing large numbers of homeless residents. It is often considered an emergency or transitional solution – to house people as they wait for more traditional shelter, GRH or Section 8 housing, or other affordable housing options.

What does ‘low barrier’ mean?

It means that many of the barriers people face going to traditional shelters are eliminated or minimized. 

People can come with their pets, partners and (adult) family members, and can opt to sleep near one another. There will be ample storage for personal belongings. There will be a strong harm reduction orientation. 

The center will be open 24/7 and will not have a curfew. 

People do not have to be sober. People who use drugs or alcohol will be welcome and will have access to different kinds of practical supports designed to help them stabilize and reduce the harms associated with substance use. Medication assisted treatment will be available on-site. 

Violence and highly disruptive behavior will not be tolerated, but other than that there are as few rules as possible. 

Families with minor children will not be housed at the Navigation Center, but other options are available for those with children.

What are the sleeping areas like?

TeshA M. Christensen
Information about the Navigation Center is available in the warming tent accross Franklin Ave. from the encampment.

The center will have three large heated tents that each have approximately 40 beds. Each bed will have a locking storage locker that fits underneath it. The tents will have a mixture of sleeping cots and gathering spaces with tables and chairs. 

The guests staying in the center will have some freedom to design the placement of beds to create a livable and personalized space.

What services will be there?

The center will be open 24/7 and have spaces for gathering in large and small groups, meals, showers, and close access to services. Livio, a mobile health care services provider, will be on-site providing health care. Native American Community Clinic will be on-site with a suboxone clinic, Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors group and other agencies will have staff on-site on a regular basis and Native healing practitioners will be available. 

Various other housing and service agencies will also be on-site regularly to serve the center’s guests. 

The intention is to provide intensive support to people so they can stabilize, set self-determined goals for the future, and gain access to the  warmkind of long term housing that best serves their needs.

What will happen to the current encampment when the Navigation Center opens?

Out of concern for the well being of the residents of the encampment, city and state officials have allowed the current camp to remain in place and have provided various supports to minimize public health and safety risks while the Navigation Center is being built. 

However the intention to close the current encampment once the center opens has always been clear. 

How and when the closure will happen is still under consideration, but at some point the current encampment will close.

How does a camp resident learn more about the Navigation Center and sign up for a bed there?

There will be an information table for the Navigation Center at the warming tent across Franklin Ave. from the encampment. The Navigation Center will be able to shelter 120 individuals and current camp residents are encouraged to visit the HSA tent and learn more.

The center is located on land temporarily provided for this purpose by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa on site that previously was Ambles Hardware and Machinery. It is across from Cedar Box Company and adjacent to the Franklin Light Rail Station and Takoda Institute – American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center at 2109 Cedar Ave. S.

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Karen Clark honored

Tesha M. Christensen

As she retires after 38 years of service as the District 62A Representative, Karen Clark was honored by various community members, including Indigenous Peoples Task Force Executive Director Sharon Day (above) and several members of the Somali community (below) on Dec. 6, 2018. She was the first openly gay representative in America and worked on social justice issues. Clark quoted Dr. Dorothy Cotton, former Associate to MLK, Jr., “I’m here to tell you God gave my torch to me and I am still using it! I’ll be glad to light your torch so that together we may light the way and fight the fight!”  She added, “I’m not going away.”

Karen Clark Tribute upon Retirement from Pam Colby Productions on Vimeo.

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