Staff Directory 62906482

Eric Roper

Reporter | Twin Cities
Phone: 612-673-1732
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Eric Roper is a metro reporter covering urban affairs in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Since joining the Star Tribune in 2009, he has covered the city of Minneapolis, the state Legislature and Congress for the paper. 


A native of New York City, Roper lives in south Minneapolis with his partner and their cat, George. He is interested in the hidden systems that make urban life possible, as well as Minneapolis history. Roper is a graduate of the George Washington University and was named "Young Journalist of the Year" by the Society of Professional Journalists' Minnesota chapter in 2013. In his spare time, he is an amateur woodworker who enjoys learning new furniture making skills.
Recent content from Eric Roper
A rendering of the Southwest Light Rail train passing through the Kenilworth Lagoon.

Southwest light-rail challenge reaches federal appeals court

Citizens group says the Metropolitan Council improperly committed to a route for the line.
Emergency callers wait longer for police responses at Mpls. border

Emergency callers wait longer for police responses at Mpls. border

A Star Tribune analysis of more than 70,000 calls shows disparities in response times across the Twin Cities.
Eureka Recycling, which sorts Minneapolis’ recyclables, has long maintained that there are no local markets to buy No. 6 plastic, which is found in

Pulling some plastics: Minneapolis updates recycling advice

City says not to toss No. 6 or black plastic in the big blue bins.
Jon Jacklin

Jon Jacklin, who ran Smack Shack, dies at 47

Jon Jacklin once joked that upon his death, he wished to lie in state atop Table 23. Where? At Smack Shack, of course, where Jacklin…
A rendering of the proposed water park beside the Mall of America shows what the $250 million facility might look like when it’s completed.

MOA's water park plan a deep dive into creative accounting

Bloomington has spent months devising an intricate plan that officials say will both lower borrowing costs and shield property taxpayers from risk.
Minneapolis City Council members voted Thursday to block demolition of what is likely downtown’s oldest surviving apartment building, the Oakland Ap

Demolition of oldest downtown Mpls. apartment building blocked by panel's vote

The Oakland Apartments, likely the oldest surviving apartment building in downtown, was ravaged by a fire in 2016.
Rascher Plumbing and Heating plumber Jason LaBelle stayed busy fixing frozen and burst pipes Thursday after three days of extreme cold.

Warm-up begins in Minn., bringing relief and home hassles

Temperatures were rising Thursday inside and out, bringing a return to routines. But the deep freeze left some pain, especially frozen plumbing.
Pastor John Steger, with Grace In The City, embraced a homeless woman in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday night.

Caught up in bone-chilling cold, Minnesota is grinding to a halt

The lowest temperatures in a generation and windchills of 50-below forced the state into a deep freeze, with schools, businesses and even government agencies announcing they were shutting down. Wednesday is shaping up to be worse.
University of Minnesota student Daniel Dylla was frosted in the morning cold while pausing from a jog along the Mississippi River.

Numb's the word: State locks down, buttons up as blast hits

Deep-freeze forecast calls for temperatures of 30 below ­— for first time since 1996. Many schools are closing for the next two days.
State food inspector Kevin Keopraseuth checked for cleanliness, sanitation and food temperature at a catering establishment. The findings are public i

Hungry for data on food safety? In Minnesota, it's more than a click away

Minnesota is alone in not publishing restaurant inspection data online.
Collin McCullough spilled just a few drops of his coffee when he slipped on the ice while checking out one of the pond hockey rinks with Nick Lazenby,

Minnesotans bundle up as temperatures trundle down

Some events are going on, others are being postponed and canceled as people prepare for a frigid weekend and an even colder forecast next week.
Brian Lamb, the general manager of Metro Transit, was ousted Friday in a leadership shake-up at the Metropolitan Council.

Longtime head of Metro Transit ousted in Met Council shake-up

15-year general manager Brian Lamb a casualty of Met Council's shake-up.
Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon, left, is a co-sponsor of the plan.

Minneapolis may make home sellers check insulation, draftiness

Officials want to require home sellers to check energy efficiency.
One of downtown Minneapolis’ oldest buildings could meet the wrecking ball soon, depending on the outcome of votes at City Hall. The Oakland apartme

Owner wants to raze historic but vacant apartment in Minneapolis

The building, gutted by a fire in 2016, was designed by famed architect Harry Wild Jones.
The entrance to Mall of America's new wing.

Tax break for poor areas boosts Mall of America district

Zones meant to help the poorest neighborhoods.
A rendering provided by the city shows the proposed Upper Harbor Terminal riverfront redevelopment in north Minneapolis. The plan could face a Feb. 1

Vision for former port in north Minneapolis nears approval

A public park, amphitheater, retail spaces, apartments and even a hotel could one day replace Minneapolis' defunct river port under a plan nearing approval at City Hall.
Jerry Schneider, left, and Pervis Harris sorted lights at Tech Dump in St. Paul. The lights wrap around cylindrical screens at the start of the sortin

Is it recyclable? Recyclers offer some holiday help

Batteries and holiday lights wreak havoc at local sorting centers, while some toy packaging and disposable cups must take a long and expensive trip to the landfill or incinerator. Even some gift wrap isn't recyclable.
Pulltabs and other charitable gambling have generated so much revenue to pay off U.S. Bank Stadium’s debt that corporate taxes are no longer needed

Gambling growth gives boost to U.S. Bank Stadium reserves

As financing projections finally pan out, leaders mull how to handle the surge.
Roseville firefighter Dan Concha made his way off a fire truck after a medical call in November. So-called “lift assist” calls can leave fire depa

Rising concern for Minnesota firefighters: Calling 911 for help standing up

More than 7,100 times last year, fire departments across the state were dispatched to assist frail but uninjured people.

Met Council aims to extend its wastewater treatment network to Rogers

The council's regional wastewater system has expanded outward over time, serving new areas of urban growth.
Waste water churns in aeration tanks.

Minneapolis sewage heat plan draws concerns from Met Council

Regional government staff said they will stop analyzing a plan to tap the sewer near the University of Minnesota.
Transit advocates hope newly elected officials will boost bus and rail funding in the Twin Cities.

Twin Cities transit advocates saw a lot to like in election results

Some hope Democratic majorities will boost bus and rail funding in the Twin Cities.
Walter Halloran

Walter Halloran, who captured WWII scenes for posterity, dies at 95

The Chatfield native, who had been living in Edina, was a U.S. Army photographer who rushed into heavy gunfire with his camera to document the first wave of soldiers storming Omaha Beach on D-Day.
Alene Tchourumoff was sworn in as chairwoman of the Metropolitan Council in August 2017.

Met Council chair Alene Tchourumoff departs for job at the Fed

Harry Melander will lead regional agency until Jan.
A gas station on the sparsely populated outskirts of Minneapolis ranks among the top addresses cops visit in the city, according to a Star Tribune ana

Little crime, but Holiday station got 2,000 Mpls. police visits last year

The Holiday station had few reasons to dial 911 last year. Yet it received an extraordinary amount of attention from police.
Waste Management's Burnsville landfill

Closure of burner could send Twin Cities trash back to the dump

250K tons of waste, including recyclables, would be diverted to landfills if Elk River incinerator closes.
Minneapolis sewer maintenance supervisor Sean Oberg removed a sewer cover to begin a cleaning method of removing accumulated fat, oil and grease out o

Fighting the fat: Cities push to keep grease out of the sewers

New rules help ensure restaurants are keeping grease, fat out of sewers
The new version of the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan pulls back some of the original density goals, including rezoning all residential areas to

After 10,000 comments, revised Mpls. 2040 plan is released

Supporters say it doesn't go far enough, while detractors still dislike the citywide upzoning.
Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel, left, shown in 2017.

Minneapolis fire chief eyes smaller vehicles for medical calls

The cost-saving move would also help the department get reimbursed for some of its work.
The Met Council’s odor control facility near the Mississippi River at Lake Street.

Met Council scrambles to disperse sewer stench in south Minneapolis

Stench along Mississippi generates complaints.
Target is among the megastores arguing that their stores are overvalued by cities and counties and taxed far more than they should be. Courts so far h

Big-box stores in Minnesota fight for lower tax bills

They say assessments are too high. Cities, facing lost revenue, are pushing back.
A rendering of the proposed Bottineau LRT project on Olson Memorial Highway and Penn Avenue, looking northeast

Railroad's objection throws future of Bottineau light rail in doubt

BNSF objections have pushed expected opening date for the line to 2024.
Robert Jenkins

Robert Jenkins, big-band musician who composed advertising tunes, dies at 80

The Minneapolis native and Roosevelt High School grad first made his mark as a freelance musician.
Gov. Mark Dayton, pictured in May, revealed the final report of a state affordable housing task force on Tuesday.

Minnesota needs thousands of new homes to address affordable housing crunch, report says

The report includes 30 ideas to address the crisis.
Gregory Merz, an attorney representing Friends of the Lock and Dam, addressed the Public Utilities Commission on Thursday.

Regulators pull money from controversial downtown Minneapolis riverfront power project

Crown Hydro attorney says the project is "not feasible financially" without the money, but the firm's owner disagrees.
Minneapolis bid committee co-chairs Richard Davis, left, CEO of U.S. Bancorp, and Marilyn Carlson Nelson, right, speak at a news conference after Minn

Super Bowl bid shows Minnesota agreed to NFL's requests

Super Bowl demands ranged from free parking spaces to tax breaks.
Josefa Calleja, left, and Cecilia Morales worked the presort line at Eureka Recycling in Minneapolis, pulling obvious nonrecyclables from the raw inta

Minnesota recyclers scramble in wake of Chinese restrictions

Deprived of the biggest overseas customer, local haulers are raising rates, laying off workers and trying to process mountains of excess waste.
Xiongpao Lee, right, an organizer with the Hmong American Census Network, made learning about the 2020 census as entertaining as possible while he exp

Minnesota groups prep for challenging 2020 census

Much is at stake as groups scattered across the state get ready.
Denny Hecker left federal court in Minneapolis with his girlfriend, Christi Rowan, Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010.

Denny Hecker released after serving 7 years for fraud

The former auto mogul had been living in halfway house in Minneapolis since February. His initial release date was scheduled for July 2019, but it was later changed to July 2018.
FILE - This Aug. 15, 2017 file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York.

Minneapolis sues opioid manufacturers and distributors

City is latest to sue over issues related to addiction.
Daniel Colvin, left, and Randy Brown visited with Caitlin Dicks at the Talo Apartments in Golden Valley Thursday.

Twin Cities apartment boom takes off in suburbia

Multifamily housing is rising quickly outside the central cities.
Workers stand in front of one of three incinerators at the Metropolitan Council’s Metro wastewater treatment plant in St. Paul. The plant is due to

Met Council to add more flames to its wastewater fire

The agency expects to install a fourth incinerator at its Metropolitan wastewater treatment plant in St. Paul.
U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, in Minneapolis.

Super Bowl spending boosted Minneapolis tax coffers

The city made about $2.4 million more than it expected it would have without the game.
Elwood Caldwell, who helped put the crunch in Cap'n Crunch, dies at 95

Elwood Caldwell, who helped put the crunch in Cap'n Crunch, dies at 95

Caldwell would go on to become of the nation's premier experts in cereal science.
Alexa Peterson drove from Eagan to shop at the Lake Street Kmart on Friday with sons Skye, 1, center, and Leo, 3. Peterson said she loves Kmart’s re

As Kmart fades, Lake Street store remains a beacon

The Minneapolis store is defying the odds of the modern retail upheaval.
Levi LaValle leapt a snowmobile over Nicollet Mall for the Polaris UpsideDown stunt on Feb. 3.

Super Bowl LII brought $370 million to Minnesota, report says

The results, sure to be disputed by detractors, came in $50 million over pre-event projections, the analyst said.
Google Earth, Landsat/Copernicus-2017
A rendering of the proposed bike and pedestrian bridge across Hwy. 10 in Ramsey, dubbed the “Mississippi Skywa

Ramsey eyes improved connection to Mississippi River

A pedestrian bridge would link the city's downtown and rail station with a regional trail and park.
Cities would have greater powers to challenge the Metropolitan Council’s regional plans under measures tucked into the bonding bill.

Insert in bonding bill erodes Met Council planning power

Last-minute measures in bonding bill would give cities more powers.
Anthony Brooks, a freshman at White Bear High School's north campus, released a largemouth bass he caught on White Bear Lake recently.

Cities win one-year reprieve from White Bear Lake ruling

The state is barred from enforcing watering limits in the northeast metro until 2019
Anthony Brooks, a freshman at White Bear Lake high’s north campus, released a largemouth bass he caught in the lake.

Fight over groundwater pumping follows White Bear Lake ruling

Cities are contesting restrictions on groundwater permits.
Gov. Mark Dayton spoke at the Minnesota State Capitol last month.

Legislature sends Met Council reforms to Gov. Mark Dayton

Dayton has said he opposes changes to the regional government this session.
Concern over White Bear Lake water levels is at the heart of this legislation.

Bill sidesteps judge's ruling on White Bear Lake water levels

New legislation further muddies long legal battle over water levels.
The Route 62 bus runs more frequently during rush hour, partly as a result of equity measures passed by the Met Council in 2014.

Met Council's equity push hard to see on the ground

Met Council's push to limit disparities causes only ripple.
Trisha Downing walked her dog on the newly reconstructed 8th Avenue, which is transforming into the Artery.

Hopkins prepares to unveil art-inspired route for walkers, bikes

The redesigned corridor near Mainstreet will connect to a light-rail stop and two regional bike trails.
Metropolitan Council staffer Aubern Dees prepares to read the new bid amounts to a crowd at the Met Council chambers on Thursday.

New bids for Southwest light rail don't yield a bargain

Met Council rejected previous because they were too high, and some subcontractors were ineligible.
At a news conference Wednesday at the Minnesota State Capitol, U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis defended his amendment to rein in the Met Council.

Rep. Jason Lewis promotes, U.S. senators oppose Met Council change

Bill would strip current council of its ability to distribute transportation money.
Documents released by Metro Transit show the agency found Abdellatif El Maarouf at fault for the fatal July crash on University Avenue at Eustis Stree

April: Light-rail operator demoted for deadly crash but won't be charged

Prosecutors say state law bars them from charging the former operator whose failure to stop killed Nicholas Westlake last year in St. Paul.
The Metropolitan Council would be stripped of its authority to distribute millions of federal transportation dollars if a provision approved by the U.

U.S. House OKs measure taking aim at Met Council

Rep. Jason Lewis objects to powerful regional board being nonelected.
An underground web of tunnels beneath downtown Minneapolis channels stormwater to the Mississippi River. But with more concrete surfaces and bigger ra

Mpls. hopes to grind out new tunnel deep below downtown

State aid is being sought to augment 80-year-old conduits deep below the city.

Federal program could pump private money into poor neighborhoods

But much remains unknown about the federal government's latest attempt to revitalize the country's poorest neighborhoods.
A security guard walked through the Super Bowl Live events on Nicollet Mall on Feb. 2 in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis reimbursed $7.4M in Super Bowl costs

Super Bowl Host Committee helped city recoup costs for extra security, parking and more.
This movie projector from Northrop Auditorium now resides in one of Bauer Brothers’ warehouses in north Minneapolis.

Minnesota's largest salvage yard packed with curiosities: 'It gets bigger every year'

As cities change and shed their skins, many of them end up at Minnesota's largest building materials salvage yard.
FILE - In this March 15, 2010, file photo, copies of the 2010 Census forms in Phoenix. The 2020 U.S. Census will add a question about citizenship stat

Minnesota groups fear census citizenship question will dampen participation

The Justice Department requested the change to help prevent discrimination in redistricting.
June 4, 1981 David Noble U. of M. - Prof.

U Prof. David Noble challenged common views of American history

David Noble once told a colleague that people either saw patterns in history, or they didn't."If you didn't, you didn't know what the hell you…
More than 100 people gathered at Nokomis Community Center Wednesday night to hear about Nokomis and Hiawatha water issues.

High water opens sinkholes, shifts foundations in south Mpls.

Scores of residents with water in the basement or damage to their house foundation are reporting repair bills ranging from $5,000 to $60,000.
The Minneapolis skyline from I-35W south of Minneapolis.

Twin Cities adds quarter-million residents since '10, census finds

Migration from across the country has helped fuel the growth.
Battle Creek flows through the site with St. Paul in the background. Barrels of toxic waste and leaking batteries once dotted the landscape around Pig

State wants Met Council to help clean up Pig's Eye Lake in St. Paul

The cleanup push comes amid separate efforts to restore habitats and attract park visitors to a remote corner of St. Paul.

Minneapolis nonprofit sues state after grant money is frozen

Funds were part of $35 million package approved in 2016 to address state's racial disparities.

Met Council streamlining sewer hook-up charges

Metropolitan Council aims to ease process for cities, businesses.
The Metropolitan Council’s Seneca wastewater plant in Eagan.

Eagan wastewater plant in line for $19 million in upgrades

Metropolitan Council project will replace old components and reduce emissions.
Nancy Solhaug walked her dogs Charlie, left, and Rocco near her condo at Washington and Park avenues on Tuesday in Minneapolis. Solhaug moved in there

Downtown Minneapolis' appeal is still sky-high for residents

Minneapolis has seen surge in new units, and they're filling fast, driving growth in downtown's population.
Crew 52 volunteers grab dinner during a break on Sunday. (photo by Eric Roper)

As week wraps up, some volunteers already planning for next gig

Though they were wrapping up their final shifts directing crowds and taking photos, some volunteers were already planning for the next gig.
Morris Day & the Time also performed for Super Bowl Live featuring the Revolution, Morris Day & the Time and Sheila E.

Cost of hosting Super Bowl unclear, but NFL demands a lot

A behind-the-scenes effort is underway to cover the costly tab the National Football League will leave behind for the weeklong extravaganza.
An example of a hoarder’s home in Savage that was used in a presentation given to Scott County leaders at a recent meeting.

Scott County takes aim at public health nuisances

Proposed ordinance would follow similar measures in other metro area counties, including Hennepin.
Prices at the NFL Store during Opening Night at Xcel Energy Center on Monday.

Super Bowl splurge: Eye-popping prices for high-rolling fans

From $65 parking to $1,000 caviar or $800 for a night in a Shakopee hotel, the laws of supply and demand are kicking into high gear around the Twin Cities.
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