Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sudden Activity At 915 22nd Ave. N.

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

A couple days ago I was lucky to run into City Council Member Don Samuels walking around at Hawthorn (sic) Crossings strip mall, a location which has been notorious for loitering and drug activity in the parking lot. But Samuels was just ambulating around in the middle of this tough location in his three-piece suit, talking to various individuals such as store owners and a group of youth picking up litter as part of a summer program.

I had an opportunity to speak to Don Samuels and tell him about an issue I had with a house only a short distance from my own residence. The house at 915 22nd Ave. N. had been torched in an arson and, recently, there has been drug activity as reported by Hawthorne Housing Director Jeff Skrenes on the Hawthorne Voices blog, click here.

There is the possibility this particular house could be saved by the agency which has somehow come into possession, but I have to wonder if saving the house is even feasible, given the extensive fire damage. And it has been sitting vacant like that for a long, long time since the night of the fire, click here for one of my previous blog reports on the house.

I don't know what Don Samuels did, exactly, but days after he made some phone calls the overflowing dumpster went away (after it sat there a long time) and a workman in a white truck showed up, poking through the charred timbers on the second story.

My attitude about the house is: whatever is going to happen, let's move it forward while there is nice weather. The house has been sitting with a hole in its roof since the night of the arson. And while I've been known to put a nail in a board now and then to secure something which desperately needs to be secured, my particular brand of volunteerism has not yet extended to getting on top of the roof of a vacant house and patching the hole.

But, hey, you never know...

(Do not click "Read More")


Johnny Northside! said...

Jeff Skrenes emailed the following comment on his Blackberry from the Detroit airport, where he is en route to Tanzania.
John, please publish the message below as a JNS comment attributed to me. Due to technical reasons, it's far easier to do it this way and
ensure that I'm recognized as the author.

I'm not sure how much action was related to the calls and how much was going to happen anyway. That shouldn't discourage anyone from taking
such action though.

I spoke with the guy heading up the cleanout and he said the owner of the property (Minnesota Housing Finance Agency) wants to save it. I
informed him of the neighborhood's desire to see the place demolished and the land re-platted with the two properties on Dupont so that
there are continuous lots extending to the alley.

We also got several pictures of needles and drug paraphrenalia that I'll be either posting somewhere or sending along to authorities, or both.

Finally, he said he's snuck up on drug users in the back when he's entered the house from a different door and yelled at them from the second floor. I advised him that if he sees trespassers and they
aren't alerted to HIS presence, that's when he should call 911 and have the police catch the vagrants in the act.

Johnny Northside! said...

They want to save it?

I'm not necessarily in favor of having it demolished, but I sure want to know more about the plan.

Anonymous said...


Please get those photos of needles to the authorities as quickly as possible. Immideate action needs to be taken.

Perhaps they can even be sent to the crime lab to be DNA tested so that those no account thugs can be brought down (along with the house)

Anonymous said...

If the owner wants to preserve the property to ensure affordable homes are available who are you to demand their property be demolished and re-platted? Are you going to pay them for the new plots? Just be glad they are cleaning out the place.

Johnny Northside! said...

Oh, yeah, I'm SO GLAD that after leaving the place sit for, like, a YEAR with a hole in the roof they are finally cleaning it out, leaving the dumpster sit there full day after day until they FINALLY got rid of the dumpster, though it takes a CITY COUNCIL MEMBER to have enough juice to move stuff forward with that property.

(Sarcasm font)

Glad. So glad. Happy dance.

(Sarcasm font)

Too bad when the place burned, it didn't burn ALL THE WAY DOWN. I am on pins and needles to see what kind of no-accounts will get moved in there as neighbors, considering the pattern of the property so far.

Johnny Northside! said...


Sorry, but I doubt the crime lab is going to test junkie needles for DNA, UNLESS there were a murder and a junkie needle were the only clue.

Seriously. The crime labs are already months behind.

Anonymous said...

You know, you guys over in the 3rd Ward need to elect someone to the city council who can get stuff done. Just sayin.

Persephone said...

anon7:04 -