Friday, September 11, 2009

"Desolation Row" Is Now "Paths Of Victory"

Photos By Jeff Skrenes

This blog previously reported about problem tenants being evicted from 619 26th Ave. N., which had been dubbed "Desolation Row" by one neighborhood mover and shaker, click here for details.

Now Hawthorne Housing Director Jeff Skrenes has suggested a new nickname for that area and provides some new details about the situation with 619 26th Ave. N., as follows...


I'm thrilled to announce that the problem tenants at 619 26th Ave N have been evicted as of last week. They were the centerpiece of what your blog called "Desolation Row," after a Bob Dylan song. I've got a new name for that stretch, from another Dylan song: "Paths of Victory."

I've been driving past this house for over two years now, and for much of that time there has been blatant criminal activity taking place at and around this address. The structure (as well as the two to the west) has so much character that to see this kind of behavior was always a downer. To make matters worse, the house is right across the street from Farview Park, and the park gets tainted with misperceptions when properties like this are at its borders. Adding threats of injury to insult, the occupants or their partners in crime were threatening the good residents along this stretch to the point where folks were afraid of calling 911 and then being retaliated against.

That last item led some of these residents to ask that I not send information to you to be blogged about, by the way.

I am now passing along some of the stories that have been told at public meetings in Hawthorne.

Because threats led to limited 911 calls, at one point the only 911 call regarding this property over a significant period of time was a domestic call. That's right - they terrorized neighbors into not calling and then called 911 on THEMSELVES.

(JNS says: Oh, I'm sure even in THAT instance there was still "retaliation for calling 911")

Also, that closed-in porch was not always like that (obviously), and it's only a recent addition. Hawthornites tell me it was two years ago when it was changed, but I've been here two and a half, and I don't remember it being any different. Regardless, the landlord should have never let his tenants make such a change, and it clearly led to the ability to conduct all sorts of bad business on that porch. They have a TV sitting inside that porch, and I wonder if they've ever watched "Deal or No Deal" on it.

We had long suspected that the house was full of code violations - the garage doors were in an almost constant state of disrepair, for one thing, and if you don't keep the visible stuff looking even halfway decent, then what are things like where they can't be seen? I'm told that city inspectors were inside the property recently and found so many violations that there is speculation of whether the landlord will simply walk away from the place.

For the record, here is the link to the city's website with property information:

There is no laundry list of assessments or violations--YET. There is, however, a note that states the rental license is "under review."

I am truly worried about what will happen to this structure in the meantime. The houses along this stretch were clearly once grand homes that were a shining gateway to our community. Now two of the three are vacant, and the house on the corner appears to have been converted into a triplex. (I can't say if the owner or the occupants are good or bad, but the structure could stand some restoration and preservation.)

(JNS says: When I first came to North Minneapolis, that garage had the initials of a gang painted on the side. In fact, I can still see the mark from the "paint over." That garage is one of the first 311 calls I ever made. Seeing how 311 actually worked and produced results led me down the path to severe 311 addiction)

(Jeff concludes...)

Getting these problem tenants out and putting the problem landlord on notice are the beginnings of major progress. Let's hope we continue down that path and preserve good houses for good residents in NoMi.


Anonymous said...

Now boxelder children are not a product of slumlordism (as per photo), Even us with the best homes still have to douse them with pesticides everyday :)

Literally everyday... sang nasty bugs.

Johnny Northside said...

I agree with you about the box elder bugs. It's not an indicator of ANYTHING except maybe a warm garage wall. But it was a compelling image of 619 26th so I put it up to illustrate.