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
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon introduced legislation last month that would allow ballots for the November elections to be automatically mai

Minnesota Poll: Majority support mailing ballots to voters

A majority of Minnesotans support a proposal to mail ballots to every registered voter in the state, a measure aimed at addressing fears that the…
Why are the recycling bins overflowing in my alley?

Why are the recycling bins overflowing in my alley?

If it seems like big blue bins are overflowing more than usual, it's not your imagination.
The entrance to Mall of America's new wing.

Senate leader, governor consider aid plan for Mall of America

A proposal to use a tax subsidy fund will have to overcome opposition from the city of Bloomington.
Guests mourn during a live-streamed funeral in March. The pandemic has made in-person funerals difficult to hold and many families are struggling with

How can mourners hold a respectful funeral in age of social distancing?

Social distancing has made it increasingly difficult to give the dead a proper send-off.
The Minnesota agricultural commissioner said 10,000 hogs a day are being euthanized in Minnesota.

Can you freeze whole pig carcasses to preserve the meat?

Minnesota pork plants sidelined by coronavirus outbreaks have begun euthanizing and disposing of thousands of pigs. A reader wanted to know whether they could just freeze the carcasses instead of wasting all that meat.
Pharmacist Evelyn Kim and pharmacy technician Omar Toppin clean the counter at the CVS pharmacy at Target in the Tenleytown area of Washington in Marc

Can I still collect unemployment if I refuse to return to an unsafe workplace?

Many Minnesotans may soon be asked to return to work as the governor eases closure orders on some businesses. But if some refuse to go due to health concerns, they will likely lose unemployment benefits.
Emergency medical personnel wear personal protective equipment while they transport a patient into Hennepin County Medical Center on in April 2020 in

Why does Hennepin County have so many more COVID-19 fatalities than Ramsey?

COVID-19 is hitting Hennepin County far harder than any other county in Minnesota. And its size alone does not explain why.
Larry Windrum died on April 12, Easter Sunday, of COVID-19. He was 81.

Larry Windrum, a St. Paul antiques dealer and victim of COVID-19, dies at 81

Customers looked forward to the shop's annual holiday open house, with live music and invitations crafted by Windrum, a graphic designer.
Waste water churns in aeration tanks. ] Mark Vancleave - mark.vancleave@startribune.com * The Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment plant in St. Paul whic

When you flush a toilet in the Twin Cities, where does everything go?

Most maps of the Twin Cities feature highways and bridges that connect our region. But few show another grid that is even more crucial to daily life.
An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident, in Glenside, Pa.

Virus throws 2020 census into 'uncharted territory'

Events as well as early counting delayed as leaders respond to growing pandemic restrictions.
Lawmakers say some cities' zoning squeezes out affordable housing.

To lower housing costs, lawmakers want new limits on cities' zoning

Bills would limit rules that drive up prices .
Leaders at Eureka Recycling, which services Minneapolis and St. Paul, say a growing amount of plastic entering their doors can’t be sorted and recyc

Lobbyists fight surge of bills targeting plastic packaging

Faltering recycling systems and concerns about ocean plastics have spurred state lawmakers from California to Maine to propose new rules targeting plastic waste, particularly from packaging. Many prompt a visit from Ameripen, a decade-old nonprofit that now has registered lobbyists in eight states.
U.S. Census Bureau recruiting assistant Daniel Crawford, left, spoke with census team job applicant Lawson Brown, who was filling out an application a

Census applications pouring in after warning of Minn. hiring crunch

The bureau hopes to receive more than 38,000 applications in the state.
U.S. Census Bureau Associate Director of Field Operation Tim Olson speaks at an event to unveil the national advertising and outreach campaign for the

Minnesotan helping to run 2020 census says it is ready for its national online debut

Tim Olson, who was raised in South St. Paul and Lindstrom, Minn., also spoke about promoting turnout in a difficult political climate and what it takes to send mail to every household in the country.
“Big John” Duhart

'Big John' Duhart, bouncer at Palmer's Bar, dies at 66

The gentle giant manning the door for two decades at the West Bank institution earned a loyal following among its eclectic clientele.
Bloomington is nearing approval of a financing proposal for a water park that would be adjacent to the Mall of America.

Approval of MOA water park delayed by dispute over payments to mall

Various entities must determine ground rent, fees in unprecedented funding deal
A replaced bus stop on E. Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. Metro Transit has replaced 12,000 bus stop signs and added more than 130 new shelters across

Metro Transit hopes new signs end the confusion at bus stops

Amid slumping ridership, Metro Transit offers more amenities, information.
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.
Law enforcement officers were at the scene Tuesday morning in Waseca, Minn., after a police officer and a suspect were shot Monday night following rep

Police officer, suspect hospitalized in Waseca shooting, BCA says

Both were taken to North Memorial, and details were not released. A 10 a.m. news conference is scheduled.

Student in custody after St. Paul charter school stabbing

Altercation at St. Paul's Community of Peace triggered lockdown.
Minnesota Health Department inspector Kevin Keopraseuth inspected a catering establishment in January 2019 in Minneapolis.

Mpls. becomes first in state to post food inspections online

Until the city launched the new website, Minnesota was the only state where no agencies posted inspections online.
“It’s still within reach,” state demographer Susan Brower said of Minnesota's U.S. congressional seat. She spoke to kindergarteners at Bethune E

Slower growth puts Minnesota congressional seat in jeopardy

Latest estimates show slower growth, which puts seat in jeopardy.
“This is about our communities and the health and well-being of the people who live in them. We’ve got this little opportunity to make sure that t

Across Minnesota, communities gear up for massive census push

Massive effort to count every Minnesotan plays out this spring
Biosolids from the Met Council’s Empire wastewater plant were spread on a harvested cornfield in Dakota County this fall.

Twice a year, human waste goes back to the land

The Met Council is now embarking on a $23 million project to process more biosolids as the area grows.
Kirkpatrick Weah, right, applied for a census job with help from recruiting assistant Lara Schueth. He wants to ease Liberian-Americans’ anxiety abo

Filling jobs for 2020 census lags in tight Minnesota labor market

About 8,000 temp employees are needed in the state; pay in Hennepin County up to $27.50 an hour.
Batteries in this bin at Westonka Library began smoking and nearly caused a serious fire in October. ANTHONY SOUFFLÉ • anthony.souffle@startribune.

Minneapolis stops battery collection amid fire concerns

Residents are now being told to bring batteries to hazardous waste sites.
Downtown Minneapolis, as seen from St. Paul. In Minneapolis and St. Paul, city tax increases are expected to hit hardest in low-income neighborhoods,

Homeowners getting peek at property tax bills might not like what they see

But preliminary property bills could change after city councils set budgets.
A rendering of the proposed water park adjacent to the Mall of America.

Bloomington gets ready to set water park tax plan in motion

City leaders are expected to grant key approvals for the deal next month.
Elizabeth Whitbeck died Oct. 9 at the age of 98.

Elizabeth Whitbeck, early Marine Corps veteran, dies at 98

Female uniforms weren’t yet available when Liz Whitbeck enlisted in the newly formed Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in 1943. But she joined enthusiastically, a trait…
A Waste Management dumpster for deer carcasses in Rochester, Minn. Waste Management backed out of the job, leaving the Minnesota DNR scrambling for re

Minnesota DNR secures dumpsters for deer carcasses

The agency had been scrambling to install the dumpsters after its expected supplier dropped out.
The Stone Arch bridge, Minneapolis, MN ] twallace@startribune.com this is a test_2013 • someplace in time we will fix this problem_tom wallace/s

Why does the Stone Arch Bridge cross the Mississippi at such an odd angle?

Older than most historic buildings still standing in the Twin Cities, the 136-year-old bridge has long been Minneapolis' de facto welcome mat. But why was it built the way it was, with such a long angle?
File photo: Nora Slawik was named chair of the Metropolitan Council by Governor Tim Walz at the State Capitol in St. Paul on December 18, 2018. She an

Met Council chair resigning after 10 months on the job

Nora Slawik is the second member of the cabinet of DFL Gov. Tim Walz to leave during his first year, while a third was issued a formal reprimand.
A dumpster for deer carcasses in Rochester. Waste Management pulled out of a plan to provide containers for disposal.

Minnesota scrambling after deer disposal plan falls apart

Waste Management, the expected to provide most of the dumpsters in central and southern Minnesota, told the state recently that it won't offer the service.
Firefighters responded to a house fire Saturday on the East Side.

Two firefighters injured while battling blaze in St. Paul

They were among four dozen firefighters who were called to the home on the city's East Side.
The proposed water park beside the Mall of America in Bloomington would be one of the largest in the country if constructed.

Arizona agency will help build Mall of America water park

The Arizona Industrial Development Authority had been selected to issue tax-exempt bonds for the project, possibly worth more than $300 million.
Nancy Przymus, from right, holds a sign against the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, as her neighbor Blue Delliquanti holds a sign supporting the plan during

Mpls. formally OKs landmark 2040 plan around higher density

Now the City Council will move forward on other changes aimed to reshape the city into a denser urban core. The most controversial part of the plan allows duplexes and triplexes in large tracts of the city zoned only for single family homes. With final votes expected next month, that change could go into effect Jan. 1.
In 2016, a maroon and silver truck drove through the marked crosswalk in front of pedestrian volunteers Dave Passiuk and Nelsie Yang. It was pulled ov

Fall months bring more pedestrian crashes, Minnesota official warns

Reduced daylight contributes to peak season for drivers hitting people on foot.
.

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.

Minneapolis, St. Paul stuck in stubborn tax trend of increases every year

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.