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

St. Paul raises tobacco purchase age to 21

The city is the 53rd community in the state to raise the buying age.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ study of what to do with the lock and dam property near the Stone Arch Bridge is expected to wrap up in late sprin

Plan to remake lock and dam, Minneapolis riverfront taking shape

The backers are on the verge of securing more than $5 million to get project off the ground
Car 1267 being loaded at the Snelling Shops on its way to Maine in 1953. Pictured from left to right are Twin Cities Rapid Transit (TCRT) General Mana

Rare streetcar restoration united three generations of Minnesotans

The streetcar is one of two that survived fully intact when the system was scrapped in the 1950s.
Trucker and triplex owner Moises Romo got some help from the children of his Kenyan tenants while doing yard work in the Frogtown neighborhood of St.

Twin Cities property tax hikes take biggest bite in less wealthy areas

Mpls., St. Paul proposals could bring 15% increase to some poorer areas.
Take a photo tour of Mpls. in 1907 with astonishing, interactive panorama

Take a photo tour of Mpls. in 1907 with astonishing, interactive panorama

A panoramic photo of the city taken on a large-format camera in 1907 offers an incredible time capsule. "It reveals things that essentially nobody ever saw before. It's so immersive."

Minneapolis' 2040 plan wins Met Council approval

The City Council is expected to give it final approval on Oct. 11, and staffers said it would likely be in effect by mid-November.
Metro Transit’s new bus garage would be built on this North Loop site beside its existing garage.

After lawsuit, Met Council starts over on bids for bus garage

In suit, losing bidder says agency botched process for choosing firm for multimillion-dollar Metro Transit project.
Amy Moeller, above, showed the sinkhole that appeared in front of her house this wet summer. The sewer pipe below will cost her and a neighbor $30,000

Waterlogged neighborhood in south Minneapolis pleads for help

High water levels have wreaked havoc in a section of south Minneapolis, flooding basements, turning fields to marshes and causing sewer lines and pipes to break.
Nationally, investor homebuying reached record highs last year, according to data from the analytics firm CoreLogic.

Intense competition for Twin Cities houses attracts flippers

By one estimate, investors accounted for nearly 10% of all Twin Cities purchases last year. But it's taking more work to make it happen.
Building materials for a home under construction sat near several already inhabited homes in Inver Grove Heights last year.

'Cookie jar' e-mail inflames debate over Minnesota cities' permit fees

Builders say message is proof that cities are overcharging them.
Dr. Helmut Diefenthal, who brought crucial medical expertise to Tanzania, dies at 95

Dr. Helmut Diefenthal, who brought crucial medical expertise to Tanzania, dies at 95

The German-born physician launched a pioneering radiology training program and worked to expand access to radiology in the region.
Twin Cities mayors Jacob Frey, of Minneapolis, and Melvin Carter, of St. Paul, watched the Twins play whiffle ball Tuesday on Nicollet Mall in July.

Mpls., St. Paul can commiserate on one shared burden: annual property tax hikes

As the cost of running a city rises, so too must property taxes, city leaders say — despite billions of dollars in new development in the core of the Twin Cities.
David Siegel, executive director of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, spoke to the press on Tuesday morning about a new report regarding bu

Builders say cities are overcharging for permits

New report shows wide gap between fee revenue, costs of providing the service.
A Chinese ban on accepting American recyclables is having a ripple effect in Minnesota, where the price of recycled goods has imploded. The economics

How much of what we think we're recycling is actually getting recycled?

One reader wants to know what percent of Twin Cities sorted recyclables are actually recycled. Another wondered whether most of it is just sent to the dump. We get to the bottom of both questions.
The entrance to Mall of America's new wing. Triple Five Group pledged a 49% stake in the megamall as collateral to win a construction loan for its mas

Mall of America owner puts megamall on line for huge N.J. project

Triple Five secures loan for glitzy N.J. complex with 49% stake in megamall.
National Park Service Superintendent John Anfinson looked out over the lock and dam at Upper St. Anthony Falls.

Study could expand public access to roaring Minneapolis riverfront

The Army Corps of Engineers is holding two public meetings about what to do with the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock and dam site.
Matt Cremona filmed while brushing water off a freshly cut section of a silver maple log. He poured water onto wood sections in order to show their gr

Twin Cities woodworker has quietly become one of the state's social media stars

Matt Cremona has amassed a devoted online following by showing the hidden potential in the trees around us.
A rendering of the proposed Mall of America water park.

Nonprofit with aim of 'lessening burdens of government' hired for MOA water park

Bloomington leaders voted to hire Provident Resources Group to play a crucial role in the unusual borrowing arrangement they are pursuing for the proposed $250 million park
Bob Tracy of the Minnesota Council on Foundations address reporters at the Capitol Thursday about the Supreme Court's decision regarding the addition

Minnesota census advocates hopeful after high court ruling

Opponents have argued that including a citizenship question would reduce participation in the 2020 census, leading to a less accurate count.
Funeral directors Aaron Stromberg helped Verlin Stoll remove a body on a stretcher from an apartment complex. Stromberg was assisting Stoll on this ca

When death calls, this Twin Cities mortician for hire goes to work

Specialty funeral directors work around the clock in the Twin Cities to transport the dead.
Charles Mays

Minnesota civil rights activist Charles Mays dies at 85

The advancements of the civil rights movement relied on the steadfast efforts of people like Charles Mays, who challenged the status quo in Minneapolis and…
A 1910 postcard of the Foreman Double Mansion at the southeast corner of 23rd Street and Park Avenue. It was built in 1888 and demolished in 1953.

Why was Minneapolis' mansion street destroyed, but St. Paul's survived?

At its peak, about 36 mansions lined Park from Franklin Avenue to 28th Street, once known as the "Golden Mile." Most of them were owned by boldface families of the era. Now, just a handful of the mansions remain.
The Oakland apartments, as seen today and in the 1930s (right)

Sale likely spares Minneapolis apartment relic from wrecking ball

Multimillion-dollar restoration lies ahead for apartment building.
The new water meter being installed by the city.

Minneapolis replacing aging water meters

A new Wi-Fi-enabled technology will allow residents to spot leaks.
Officials at Chaska High School delayed yearbook distribution after finding a photo of a student in blackface.

Chaska High School yearbook delayed to remove blackface photo

The photo is the latest in a string of racially charged incidents at the school.

Winona native dies rock climbing in Colorado

A 22-year-old Minnesota man died over the weekend while rock climbing in Colorado, officials there announced Wednesday. The Larimer County Medical Examiner’s Office said Mitchel…
Jamar Clark's father, James Clark, addressed the media Monday evening at a press conference calling on the city to award $20 million to the family --

Group wants $20 million settlement in Jamar Clark death

Justice for Jamar wants city to match settlement in Justine Damond case.
The ADM Atkinson Mill on Hiawatha Avenue, is the last flour mill left in the Mill City. Here, trains unloaded wheat at the ADM Mill and also transport

Last flour mill carries forward Minneapolis' industrial legacy

Looming across from the 38th Street light-rail station in south Minneapolis, the century-old Atkinson Mill survives in a city that once boasted dozens.
July 12, 1970: Nicollet Island, as seen in an aerial photo that was published in the Star Tribune's Picture Magazine.

How did Nicollet Island become parkland with private housing on it?

The sliver of land in the Mississippi River is home to a secluded enclave of historic homes sitting atop public parkland. But that's just one of the oddities of this place, an often-overlooked landmark of early Minneapolis that looks radically different today than it did half a century ago.
The 10th Avenue bridge’s upcoming rehabilitation spurred discussions about moving the water pipe hanging from it with one going under the riverbed.

Sub-Mississippi River water tunnel illustrates feats of modern engineering

Minneapolis will employ a boring machine to drill a 5-foot corridor deep beneath the Mississippi River to keep one of the city's most important drinking water pipes safe from the elements.
A rendering of a proposed water park adjoining the Mall of America.

Bloomington goes ahead with Mall of America water park

City leaders commit $7.5 million to fully develop plans for the massive $250 million facility.
Michelle Rivero, director of Minneapolis' Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, said it is taking longer for people to obtain visas — which are a

Number of people moving to Twin Cities from abroad falls dramatically

Trump policy changes shift area's demographics, prompting employment worries.
Garbage was incinerated at Great River Energy in Elk River, which closed this year.

Court: State can enforce law that favors burning trash over landfilling

Trash firms sued after the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency fined metro-area landfills
The old facade and marquee of the Uptown Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota, before remodeling. Liebenberg and Kaplan, Architects (1919-1969), were noted

Why is Uptown south of downtown in Minneapolis?

These days, Uptown is the common way to describe the district around Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street in Minneapolis, but that is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Robert Byrd tackled some of society’s toughest topics as a documentary filmmaker.

Minnesota filmmaker Robert Byrd, who tackled tough topics and sought to reveal humanity, dies at 66

Robert Byrd encountered an arsenal of guns when he entered a neo-Nazi’s home to shoot a documentary about hate. Then his subject said something surprising:…
In Minneapolis, Nice Ride provides ride sharing bicycles, but in St. Paul the city's vendor, Lime, is switching to electric scooters only.

Bike sharing disappears from St. Paul streets

The city is left without a bike sharing vendor after Lime drops bikes in favor of scooters.
New LED street lights make for a bright scene at night outside Scott Barkman's south Minneapolis home.

New streetlights save energy but are too bright for some

The LED fixtures cast a brighter, whiter light, which some welcome as enhancing security and others liken to making a neighborhood feel like a "police state."
“There’s a lot of money that goes out the door. It’s a 140-acre garden to take care of, it you will,” said Bill McReavy, shown at the veterans

With burials dwindling, owner offers to give cemetery to Mpls.

The city rejects the offer to take over money-losing Crystal Lake Cemetery. The situation illustrates the challenge some cemeteries face as more people choose to be cremated.
Justice Page students Oliver Gels, left, and Ryan Rowell presented their Maui cityscape to judges in Washington, D.C.

Minneapolis middle schoolers go to D.C. to propose power grids of the future

Students from Justice Page Middle School presented their vision of a 22nd century power grid.
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.