I drove through Over The Rhine this morning and found that approximately 40 people have recently been evicted and kicked out of their apartments on Race Street. Their belongings have been tossed in the street. (See the photo above.) The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation ("3CDC") and Western Southern Life Insurance Company are behind the latest evictions.
In the last week there have been 2 major stories on OTR. The first story appeared in the New York Times and was titled "In Cincinnati, Life Breathes Anew in Riot-Scarred Area". In this story, the usual suspects -- Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell, greedy developers Bill Baum and Jim Moll, and Over-the-Rhine Foundation director Marge Hammelrath -- gloss over the issue of gentrification and do their best to promote the vision advanced by 3CDC. One of the main problems with Cincinnati "leaders" is their focus on public relations instead of public service with results. (At least Times' writer Christopher Maag included a short quote from community activist Bonnie Neumeier.) The second story was done by WCPO-TV's I-Team and reported by Laure Quinlivan. (story link)
Whenever the subject of gentrification comes up on this blog (and elsewhere in the local blogosphere) the supporters of kicking the poor out of their homes and neighborhoods and replacing them with richer, whiter folks is always downplayed. In fact, pro-gentrifiers refuse to admit that displacement ever occurs, especially in Over The Rhine. They claim the only people leaving the neighborhood are doing so voluntarily. They say any renovation is on abandoned buildings, not occupied ones. These things aren't true.
Anyone who has ever actually lived in the neighborhood knows that gentrification and displacement happens quite frequently. I've told my story before. I lived on Walnut Street in OTR. One day, out of the blue, I received a letter notifying me that my apartment was going to be converted into a condominium and I had to vacate. That's how it works.
Why isn't this side of the story being told by the mainstream white media? Because they support gentrification. The Cincinnati Enquirer's Margaret Buchanan sits on the board of 3CDC, the city's leading gentrifier. She isn't going to tell the people's story. CityBeat is too busy attacking Mayor Mark Mallory to do a story about poor people being kicked out of their homes, and they never do negative stories about Jim Tarbell.