What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to suzanne.ziegler@startribune.com.

Tuesday's roundup: Housing crunch, foreclosure and schools, a spat over plaza

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer under Parks and recreation, People and neighborhoods, Politics and government, Public safety, Urban living Updated: October 11, 2011 - 10:20 AM
Theresa Saunders and her son Doobie Lenear, 6, wait for housing (photo by Renee Jones Schneider)

Theresa Saunders and her son Doobie Lenear, 6 (photo by Renee Jones Schneider)

The numbers tell the scope of the housing crunch for low-income renters: more than 10,000 people on the Section 8 waiting list in Minneapolis, Randy Furst reports. A combination of high unemployment and the foreclosure epidemic have put the squeeze on the rental market, and the poor, as usual, are taking the brunt of it. Not only are the housing vouchers hard to come by, people in those government-owned public housing high-rises across the city are also staying put longer.

The city and Orchestra Hall want to renovate the sunken square known as Peavey Plaza, but some folks with a keen interest in preserving its original 1970s Modernist vibe feel frozen out, Steve Brandt reports.

While the dwindling demonstration at OccupyMN's People's Plaza sleep out in the rain, another group of church, community and labor leaders are sounding many of the same themes in their "Don't Foreclose on the American Dream" movement, Corey Mitchell reports. They claim that foreclosures have resulted in so many families leaving the Minneapolis Public Schools that it has cost the district $100 million, although a school board member says she's skeptical about that conclusion.

Construction of the Lowry Avenue Bridge will halt traffic on the Mississippi River today and again next Tuesday, Paul Walsh reports. That's likely to have a much smaller effect than a few years ago, because barge traffic has already been dwindling to the point that city officials are openly talking about ending Minneapolis's 50-year-old experiment with being a river port, Eric Roper reported Sunday. Closing the two locks in Minneapolis could stop the Asian carp from moving upstream, with a side benefit of enabling city leaders to redevelop the industrial waterfront north of downtown into homes and parks. 

Public safety: The encounter at the Saloon Bar on Hennepin Avenue led to unprotected sex, and a jury has said that was a crime. By transmitting HIV to his sex partner, Daniel James Rick was guilty of assaulting him, under the jury's interpretation of a 16-year-old state law that could broadly affect similar cases, Abby Simons reports.

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