Staff Directory 396828811

Miguel Otárola

Reporter | Minneapolis City Hall
Phone: 612-673-4753
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: Spanish

Miguel Otárola is a reporter covering Minneapolis City Hall for the Star Tribune. He previously covered Minneapolis' western suburbs and breaking news. He also writes about immigration and music on occasion.


Otárola moved to Minneapolis in 2016. Born in Chile and raised in Arizona, he graduated with a master's in communication from Arizona State University. He is obsessed with music, listening to and reading about music from across the spectrum, digging at local record stores and writing a music newsletter. He is the proud caretaker of a black cat named James Blake.
Recent content from Miguel Otárola
Berger Fountain at Loring Park in Minneapolis.

Loring Park's popular dandelion fountain to get full restoration

Loring Park's dandelion-shaped fountain has been the backdrop for countless engagement proposals and wedding photos in downtown Minneapolis throughout the decades. Now, it's getting a…
Roxxanne O'Brien, right, of the Environmental Justice Coordinating Council, voiced shared frustrations in the Upper Harbor Terminal plan to First Aven

Mpls. council panel advances North Side riverfront development, with pledge to listen

Critics of the Upper Harbor Terminal plan, however, remain more cautious than optimistic.
In this Friday, June 8, 2018, photo, a "For Sale" sign stands in front of a house, in Jenkintown, Pa. Home sales in many areas of the country have dip

Minneapolis to require home sellers to test for energy efficiency

Holes must be drilled in walls of older residences to check for insulation.
New apartment construction is driving growth in downtown Minneapolis.

Almost 50,000 people now live in downtown Minneapolis

Downtown's population has risen steadily for years now. Four new residential buildings contributed to an increase in 2017, and more units opened up last year.
Kerry Brendmoen of Corky’s Towing towed a car during a snow emergency in Minneapolis.

During snow emergencies, trucks rarely tow in southwest Minneapolis

Of 1,422 cars towed during the year's first two snow emergencies, only 16 were in southwest Minneapolis. City officials say they have to tow more cars in more densely populated neighborhoods to get the job done.
The St. Stephen's Human Services street outreach team was awarded $300,000 by a Minneapolis City Council committee on Tuesday, renewable for an additi

Minneapolis pledges $300,000 a year for St. Stephen's homeless outreach team

The city renewed the contract because of its success in finding permanent housing for its clients.
More than 50 people slept Friday night in the lobby of the Ramsey County law enforcement center after Sheriff Bob Fletcher opened it up to those looki

Dozens sleep at Ramsey County Sheriff's Office to evade the cold

It may be open for the homeless again if subzero temperatures return, authorities said.
Matthew Lynn Jansen

Blaine police ID husband and the wife he said he killed

The 46-year-old reported the death to police, the Anoka County Sheriff's Office said.
Council Member Phillipe Cunningham at the former industrial site. Plans include a hotel, apartments, retail and a park.

Upper Harbor Terminal vote postponed again as opponents seek changes

North Mpls. neighbors seek greater role in redevelopment plan.
David Rubedor, the city’s director of neighborhood and community relations, presented at the open house on Neighborhoods 2020, where people can come

Mpls. neighborhood leaders raise questions about changes in '20 plan

Leaders shared concerns on diversity initiative to bring local associations firmly under City Hall.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Joseph Klein, pictured above on Dec. 4, 2018, heard arguments Thursday on whether or not to dismiss a lawsuit aga

Judge hears lawsuit over Minneapolis 2040 plan

Groups fight city, argue changes will cause lasting environmental damage.
Renderings for the new Planned Parenthood facility in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood.

Planned Parenthood moves forward with new Uptown facility

The three-story facility would replace an aging, one-story building, their busiest clinic in the state.
Lisa Cerney of Minneapolis Public Works checked sidewalks on Tuesday with Isaac Prehall and Kevin Henke, right.

After the snowstorm, Minneapolis inspectors check up on shoveling

Public Works just wants everyone to make an effort.
Sagirah Shahid read poetry at Sisters’ Sludge Cafe during an event hosted by the Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association.

Minneapolis wants to tie funding of neighborhood groups to their diversity

Minneapolis weighs linking funding to diverse leadership.
The library’s new listening room and its “Vinyl Revival” event series aim to bring its thousands of albums to the public again.

Minneapolis Central Library opens vinyl listening room to share collection

The library hosted the first event in its new "Vinyl Revival" series, which aims to bring attention to the thriving audio format.
A Delta Air Lines jet takes off from Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport MSP.

Holiday weekend, charter flights combine for long lines at MSP

Flights to "sunny destinations" contributed to a busy Saturday for travelers and TSA employees.
A rendering of a proposed three-story building on the corner of 44th Street and Upton Avenue S. in Minneapolis. The facade of the building is facing U

Quiet reception for proposed development in Linden Hills

Development plans in the commercial district have previously caused strife.
David Shove, poet and curator of the Midstream Reading Series in Minneapolis, died of a heart attack on Dec. 31. He was 81.

David Shove, poet and curator of Minneapolis reading series, dies at 81

The curator of the Midstream Reading Series died of a heart attack on Dec. 31, shortly after moving into a senior living community.
The Nest, a coffee shop for teens by teens, provides a comfortable place to hang out, study, play Bananagrams and test out talents in front of a frien

Coffee shop is a safe and fun gathering spot for St. Louis Park students

High school students wanted their own place to socialize, study and destress. So they created one.
Stephen Frenz.

Minneapolis landlord Stephen Frenz charged with perjury

He is accused of falsifying evidence in an effort to get a 2016 suit dismissed.
The Great Seal of Minneapolis decorates the east wall of the "new auditorium" in early 1967.

Colossal Great Seal sculpture to rise again in Minneapolis

Put into storage in 1988, the seal is to be displayed in the lobby of a new municipal office building.
The observation deck at the "Witch's Hat" water tower in Prospect Park is only open once per year, and hundreds gather in long lines for a chance to s

Lawsuit: High-rise would block view from Witch's Hat tower in Minneapolis

A group wants to stop construction of a condominium near the landmark.
Garth Brooks at Target Center in 2014.

After plea from Gov. Dayton, Garth Brooks says he's in favor of a second Minneapolis show

Tickets for the country megastar's May 4 concert at U.S. Bank Stadium sold out within an hour Friday.
Repairs will begin along Minnehaha Creek, including this stormwater pipe exposed during the park’s 2014 floods.

Crews to repair areas of Minnehaha Creek damaged by historic flooding

Historic flooding in 2014 eroded stream banks and ruined trails and habitat.
Village Financial's creation was spurred on by the police killing of Philando Castile in 2016.

Minnesota certifies first black-led cooperative credit union

Village Financial aims to stop predatory lending, support black businesses.

Hennepin County Board approves 2019 budget after lengthy protest

Dozens in Hennepin County disrupt meeting, demand an end to technical parole violations.
The Minneapolis City Council votes to approve the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

Minneapolis City Council approves 2040 plan with a 12-1 vote

The nearly unanimous vote was a victory for City Council President Lisa Bender, who says it "sets a bold vision" for Minneapolis.
Attorney Jack Perry argued Thursday for a temporary restraining order to prevent a Minneapolis City Council vote on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

In reversal, judge allows Friday vote on Mpls. 2040 plan

The latest decision by Hennepin County District Judge Joseph R. Klein means the vote to submit the city's development blueprint is going on as scheduled.
Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender spoke to attendees of a council meeting in January 2018.

Minneapolis City Council moves 2040 plan for final vote

Debate over the guiding document for the city's growth captured neighborhood interest for most of the year.
Jared Roddy and his son, Frank, 2, used the sudden snowstorm to go sledding Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 at Audubon Park in Northeast Minneapolis. The storm

Winter storm brings whiteouts in southern Minnesota

Snowfall is expected to ebb Sunday, with the metro area getting 2 to 5 inches.
Light rail and auto traffic was affected after a train car and SUV collided at the intersection of 5th Street and 3rd Avenue in downtown Minneapolis o

No one hurt when car hits light-rail train in downtown Minneapolis

"I just didn't stop fast enough," the driver said.

Neighbors contest Minneapolis' plans for public works site

City Council to vote next week on plans for former Roof Depot in East Phillips.
Andrea Inouye will lead the city’s efforts on low-income housing.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey names top aide for affordable housing

Coordinator position in Minneapolis comes with a $142,000 annual salary.
Minneapolis City Council wraps up changes to 2040 plan ahead of final vote

Minneapolis City Council wraps up changes to 2040 plan ahead of final vote

Council members now believe the measure is set to be passed next week.
Seven formal complaints about sidewalk snow and ice removal were sent to the home of Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender last winter, resul

Unshoveled sidewalks led to seven complaints, $149 fine for Mpls. Council President Lisa Bender

Lisa Bender says she should be treated like anyone else.
The ride-share zone is part of an effort by the city to control the chaos unleashed at bar close.

Downtown Minneapolis to designate pickup zones for Uber, Lyft at bar close

Plan would aim to reduce downtown congestion.
Malinda Gatewood, center, smiled as she sat with Natilia, 10, and, from left, Jameson, 6, Tyrees, 4, and Andre, 8, during their adoption hearing.

On Adoption Day, Twin Cities parents and kids celebrate new families

Almost 40 children were adopted by more than 20 families in Minneapolis. More got new families in Ramsey County.
There was a full crowd in the chambers and overflow rooms during a recent public hearing on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan at City Hall in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan likely to pass, council members say

Even opponents concede there are enough votes to pass proposal at Dec. 7 City Council meeting.
There was a full crowd in the chambers and overflow rooms during a public hearing on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan at Minneapolis City Hall on Wednesday

Minneapolis neighbors gather for latest chance to weigh in on 2040 Comprehensive Plan

The public hearing held by the City Council, among the final steps in a contentious process, went on for nearly five hours.

Shakopee police kill person they say pointed gun at officer

A Shakopee police officer shot and killed a man who pointed a gun at the officer who was responding to a fire alarm late Friday,…
The first Latina mayor elected in Minnesota, Richfield Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez, greeted students at Richfield STEM Elementary on Friday.

From Richfield to Anoka, women of color made history in this year's election

Newly elected leaders bring diverse voices, backgrounds and experience to local offices.
Sheriff elect Dave “Hutch” Hutchinson, who pulled one of the biggest upsets of election night by narrowly defeating Hennepin County Sheriff Rich S

'A clean slate': Hutchinson claims victory over Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek

Hutchinson leads vote, but Stanek not conceding
The race for Hennepin County sheriff pits challenger Dave Hutchinson against incumbent Rich Stanek.

Dave Hutchinson narrowly leads Rich Stanek in race for Hennepin sheriff

A historic election was seen Tuesday night in Hennepin County, where residents elected their first commissioners of color and a first-time candidate was leading in a bid to unseat Sheriff Rich Stanek.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman was reelected Tuesday evening over challenger Mark Haase.

Mike Freeman holds on to Hennepin County Attorney's office in tight race

Mike Freeman was re-elected as Hennepin County attorney, besting his…

Richfield elects Maria Regan Gonzalez, the first Latina mayor in the state

Regan Gonzalez, 33, ran unopposed after incumbent Pat Elliott announced he wouldn't seek re-election this year.
Minneapolis city crews already plow some sidewalks, but property owners do most of them. The city requires owners of single-family homes or duplexes t

Minneapolis gets tougher on sidewalk snow removal, may take it over

It steps up enforcement and weighs taking on the job.
Emergency medical personnel gather at the scene of a hit-and-run accident Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, in Lake Hallie, Wis., that killed three girls and an

3 Girl Scouts among 4 killed in western Wis. hit-and-run crash

A 21-year-old driver is in custody after allegedly fleeing the scene along a county road where the girls had been picking up litter.
The race for Hennepin County sheriff pits challenger Dave Hutchinson, left, and incumbent Rich Stanek.

Sheriff Rich Stanek takes aim at opponent Dave Hutchinson's campaign practices

Hutchinson says he has "no idea" about the nature of the allegations being investigated by Brooklyn Park police.
An updated rendering of a 250,000 square foot indoor water park proposed in front of the Mall of America in Bloomington.

$250 million MOA water park floated as no risk to taxpayers

The city of Bloomington thinks it can build what could be the continent's largest indoor water park next to the Mall of America, while protecting local taxpayers if it's a financial flop.
Congregants of Mount Zion during the Twin Cities Annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration on April 12, 2018. The synagogue and others across the state will in

At Minnesota synagogues, shock, grief and increased security

"In these kinds of times, the best thing for us to do is to be together," said a Twin Cities cantor.
Hennepin County plans to expand the Behavioral Health Center just south of downtown Minneapolis to include a triage center on the first floor.

Hennepin County wants to offer an alternative to jail in growing Behavioral Health Center

The goal of the center is to decrease recidivism for people who are often homeless or poor and find themselves in frequent contact with police.
The St. Paul cave complex has claimed the lives of a handful of people since the early 1990s and led to countless rescue operations by the fire depart

Stay away from St. Paul caves, officials warn (yet again)

Rescuers were called in after two teens were seen entering St. Paul caves.
Hennepin County commissioner candidates Irene Fernando, left, and Blong Yang.

Fernando and Yang vying for Hennepin County Commissioner in District 2

District 2 race features a political newcomer and ex-City Council member.
Renderings of the Grandview Green concept, part of a June presentation by the city of Edina.

Edina puts brakes on Grandview Green project over Hwy. 100

The 750-foot bridge — widely referred to as a "lid" — would support a public green space over the highway and be surrounded by private development. The city says bridge could still be decades away.

Hennepin County unable to make new IDs in two locations

Two service centers in Hennepin County were unable to process applications for new driver's licenses or state IDs Saturday because of connectivity issues with recently…

McLaughlin, Conley go head to head for Hennepin County commissioner

The longtime incumbent and the first-time candidate went deep in debate Thursday night.
The Hennepin County Board approved using state grants to relocate people to this fourplex at 2408 4th Av. S., Minneapolis.

Hennepin County spending $214,000 to house a dozen people from tent camp

Residents of homeless tent camp are expected to move into the former Kateri Residence next week, officials said.
The race for Hennepin County sheriff pits challenger Dave “Hutch” Hutchinson and incumbent Rich Stanek.

In Hennepin County sheriff's race, claims of a partisan divide

Sheriff Rich Stanek, looking for his fourth term, is running against Metro Transit police Sgt. Dave Hutchinson.
"Love Power" Jesus mural in Minneapolis' West Bank neighborhood Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Minneapolis, MN.

Ann Sandell, founder of Minneapolis' Love Power Church, dies at 86

A painting of Jesus already adorned the two-story brick building at Washington Avenue and 14th Avenue S. in Minneapolis when Love Power Church began renting…

Hennepin County Government Center parking ramp to close for construction

Crews will be repairing the garage's concrete floors and walls, resealing the floors and repainting lines, with work set to be done by Nov. 19.

One dead after pickup-semi collision in Redwood County

The pickup truck crossed the centerline into oncoming traffic, authorities said.
Three Hopkins West Junior High students died last school year, sending a massive wave of grief and sorrow among the student body. On Friday morning, t

Hopkins middle school begins to move on after student tragedy

Students posted messages of love and kindness in an effort to bring peace to the school.
Sisters Rory, 2, left, and Henri, 3, looked at a child’s artwork while visiting the Farmers Market with their grandmother Julie of Bloomington.

Bloomington art exhibit aims to share fears, anxieties of immigrant children

Separation from family is among the deep fears and anxieties depicted in drawings and essays curated for Bloomington exhibit.
County Administrator David Hough presents the 2019 budget to the Hennepin County Board Tuesday.

Hennepin County eyes a 5.5 percent increase in the property tax levy

Funding for child protection services is at center of need for $43 million in new revenue.
Gov. Mark Dayton

Dayton to meet with Minnesota county attorneys about abuse by clergy

Meetings this month are the first step in possible grand jury investigations.
Wildflowers grow in a prairie at Minnetonka's Lone Lake Park in July. The nonprofit group Protect Our Minnetonka Parks sued the city Thursday over a p

Environmentalists sue Minnetonka over proposed mountain bike trails

Group is concerned about the impact of proposed mountain biking trails.
Thor Cos.’ founder Richard Copeland waved ceremonial scissors as CEO Ravi Norman beamed at his side at Friday’s block party at Plymouth and Penn a

Thor's new headquarters touted as a 'beacon of hope' for North Side

Regional Acceleration Center designed as catalyst for prosperity and growth

Officials: 24 Hennepin employees investigated for misconduct

Twelve resign in the face of misconduct allegations.
Edina Mayor James Hovland said city staff members had some reservations about the creation of a resident oversight board to review police misconduct c

Edina aims to improve racial equity, drops police oversight board

The multiyear plan, approved last week by the City Council, includes dozens of directives but leaves out some requested by a task force that sought to address police relations.

Woman arrested after Faribault man stabbed to death

The couple had a history of domestic violence, police said.
Dave Hughes, the endorsed congressional candidate in Minnesota's Seventh District, spoke in June at the Republican state convention in Duluth.

Trump tweets 'Total Endorsement!' for Collin Peterson challenger Dave Hughes

The president declared his support for the GOP Seventh District challenger Saturday morning.
Aaron Claus of Carp Solutions hurled a carp from their boat in to the back of a waiting pickup truck. Crews pulled invasive carp from nets in Stieger

To boost Lake Minnetonka, carp get tossed from nearby lakes

Overpopulation of the invasive fish is choking several area lakes and degrading the habitat.
Hennepin County Deputy Administration Jennifer DeCubellis, shown in 2017, said there is a “sense of hope.”

Hennepin County placing more mistreated kids with relatives, fewer in shelters

A report released Thursday points to some progress since reforms were enacted in 2015.
Richfield has more than a dozen projects, including a Primrose School, worth $200 million currently underway.

'Explosion of interest' leads to $200M Richfield redevelopment boom

Housing, auto dealerships, doughnuts and more are headed to Richfield, which is suddenly hot.
A rendering depicts the proposed new fire station and expanded police station at the city campus in Minnetonka.

New Minnetonka fire, police facilities would reflect larger, changing departments

City Council to consider $25 million proposal.
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