Monday, January 24, 2011

MLK Celebration, Volunteer Interior Demolition At 620 23rd Ave. N., More Images...

Photos by Megan Goodmundson, blog post by John Hoff

I wrote a few days ago about the MLK Day weekend activity coordinated through MCTC, and how I was a volunteer at the interior demolition at 620 23rd Ave. N., an apartment building which has been vacant for, well, a while.

Urban Homeworks has purchased the property and neighbors are excited to see their progress. This used to be a really tough block but ever since the demise of the Wafanas "inconvenience store," it's been fairly peaceful.

In the photo above, two volunteers smile (we think, based on their smiling eyes) and pose for the camera. Note the shirts. Everybody got a great new shirt to commemorate the volunteer activity. The masks...

...were kindly provided by Urban Homeworks so our lungs wouldn't get polluted with crud at the apartment building. Looking at the flecks on the camera, you can actually see the air was full of, well, crud.

Here's the great breakfast buffet served at MCTC for the volunteers. There were a dozen or more different projects.
I brought my own hammer and, well, I needed to put it SOMEWHERE. Oh, my, does the hammer go to the left or the right of the salad fork?
Above, I can hardly wait to rip out some sheet rock.
Our speaker at the breakfast was compelling and talked about his own childhood encounters with Martin Luther King, Jr. Click here to learn more about Tyrone Bledsoe and his organization, Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB).
The same bus took volunteers to 620 23rd Ave. N. as well as the St. Anne's Place women's shelter. This group was going to St. Anne's.
The back door of 620 23rd Ave. N. Hey, at least it has real numbers instead of Keith Reitman slumlord Sharpie marker.
Here's the view from the front, which has become a familiar sight on 23rd Ave. N. Thank goodness it won't always look this bad with Urban Homeworks advancing the project forward
All the volunteers had to sign releases saying stuff like, "If I accidentally hit my own face with a hammer, I will not blame Urban Homeworks" or words to that effect.
Removing sheet rock is easy. Getting every little bit is the challenge.
Walls that needed to be removed were marked with an "X." One volunteer removed part of a wall that was NOT marked with an "X," but the wall looked crappy inside and, really, needed to be replaced. I told her, "You know what? I think you did them a favor by ripping into that wall." An incredible amount of work was done at the building, and all of the labor contributed. I'm sure Urban Homeworks saved tens of thousands of dollars by using the volunteer labor even if they paid the price in purloined fridge magnets. (Who would DO something like that?)
"Fridge sledding" in North Minneapolis. I wonder if it would be possible to ride a fridge from the top of Farview Park all the way to the bottom? My mental wheels are spinning around a single compelling thought: This seems like a good idea!
Waiting for the scrappers to do their thing.
"Jasmine" helps to move around debris to make sure there will be enough room in the dumpster. Word is Jasmine is a talented "spoken word" artist.
Tossing part of a door jamb in the dumpster.
Ovens just don't work as well for sleds as fridges do.
Once they get the debris-filled trash can outside, getting it into the tall dumpster is a bit of a challenge.
My new acquaintance "Terrell" ripping out wire mesh in the basement level. It was such a dirty job but we made a lot of progress.
Moving a big hunk of...well, I don't know what.

This image was taped to a wall inside a unit of 620 23rd Ave. N. It was recognized by one of the volunteers to be the house of notorious fraudster Tom Petters.
So much crap we had to move it around with shovels.
This image of a baby was found on the floor inside 620 23rd Ave. N. The backside said "To Grandad."
I found this plate in one of the apartments and became obsessed with saving it. I will probably have to use oven cleaner to get the crud off.
What did I tell you? "To Grandad." Why was this photo left behind? How did the apartment complex become vacant and fall into the hands of Urban Homeworks? I'm sure there's a story in it of thousands of stories of foreclosure in North Minneapolis.

On this day the story was much happier: We helped make things better, it felt good, and then we all went to Psycho Suzi's for drinks and snacks.

But there was a solemn moment as the lost baby picture was passed around. In that apartment building, somebody was sad and felt loss. Somebody suffered.

And somebody is at fault...but who?

1 comment:

Johnny Northside! said...

Spam comment rejected for some kind of interior demolition company which isn't even in North Minneapolis.

Sorry, but thanks for playing.