Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Ignored OTR Gentrification


Photo courtesy Brian Garry

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.

22 comments:

Matt said...

I don't know about your relocation story. How do they kick you out if you have a lease? To evict someone for none payment of rent takes at least 2- 3 months seems like it would be more difficult to remove someone if they are paying their rent (i'm not suggesting you weren't) All the times I've rented it seemed the laws were on the side of the renter and not the landlord.

C-dell said...

Things seem rough there.

Anonymous said...

so, Nate, what would you propose be done with OTR? Keeping in mind that absentee landlords lead to the climate that is there now. Also keeping in mind that landlords and property owners aren't doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, but are looking for some type of profit.

I'd love to see "affordable" housing put in place, but it's not going to happen. It's not happening in other parts of the city (anyone know what all those condos are going for that have been recently put up in Corryville?). Affordable - to me - means at least comparable to the average price of a house in the neighborhood. Most of these condos seem to start at 2 times that amount.

Anonymous said...

There is plenty of affordable housing in this city - for everyone.

I bought a home in Northside last year. The amount? 20k. The house was owned by a greedy landlord who lost his shirt and went belly up. I bought the foreclosure and couldn't be happier.

I would be someone you are describing in the OTR situation, yet I don't feel "kicked out." I was able to make things work for me and so will others. All is takes is a job and a desire to stay on the straight and narrow in life (no drugs, no crime, use birth control, get a job, show up on time, you know, those things some people act like they can't handle).

Something has to happen in OTR. Why not a shot of money from corporations? There are plenty of homes (and jobs) in the city that are affordable for all.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine anyone wanting to live in a rundown building in OTR, when the "poor" can live in Section 8 opulence over in City West. Wow! You talk about gentrification - that housing project is rather swank for those sucking off the public dollar.

As it is, if someone doesn't fix up OTR, it's only going to get worse. I can't blame those with a couple of bucks who want to rehab & restore the buildings for market rate rent & sale. Those doing the investing have every right to see a rate of return for their investment. I applaud their efforts. Tough shit if you don't like it that white folks are floating loans to get the job done. Why aren't the blacks doing it, seeing you've got yet another problem with them being uprooted from poverty.

BTW, I find the relocation story from Walnut St. a bit shady. Nate, everyone knows you move, move a lot.

Anonymous said...

"Gentrification" is just a term racist haters like Nate use for the expression: "we don't want no white folks with jobs living in our slum reminding us about what a lazy bunch of alcohol and drug addicted no accounts we are."

Get over it Nate, those unfortunate people will be a whole lot safer in Northside than they are in OTR.

Nate Livingston said...

"I can't imagine anyone wanting to live in a rundown building in OTR, when the "poor" can live in Section 8 opulence over in City West. Wow! You talk about gentrification - that housing project is rather swank for those sucking off the public dollar."

Who said the buildings in OTR that people live in are run down? Nobody! You just assume that. You are wrong.

You also assume that everyone who is poor receives a Section 8 voucher and that they don't want to live in Over The Rhine. Both assumptions are incorrect.


"As it is, if someone doesn't fix up OTR, it's only going to get worse. I can't blame those with a couple of bucks who want to rehab & restore the buildings for market rate rent & sale. Those doing the investing have every right to see a rate of return for their investment. I applaud their efforts."

This is about greedy landlords forcing tenants who live in buildings that are already restored and rehabilitated to move so that they can get richer, whiter tenants. You may like this and think its perfectly fine. I don't. And I don't understand why more people don't come out and admit that they think like you. Why keep denying that gentrification is taking place in OTR and elsewhere?

"Tough shit if you don't like it that white folks are floating loans to get the job done. Why aren't the blacks doing it, seeing you've got yet another problem with them being uprooted from poverty."

Don't put words in my mouth. I don't care about white people floating loans.

"BTW, I find the relocation story from Walnut St. a bit shady. Nate, everyone knows you move, move a lot."

First, I don't care what you find shady. Second, I'm not sure how you know what everybody knows. I'd guess that almost everybody has no idea where I live, where I've lived, or when or how often I move. People like you are creepy and the reason I keep a gun in my house.

Chris said...

Nate:
I don't personally know whether or not the buildings in OTR are run-down, but aren't there a lot of jerk absentee landlords? I was under the impression that greedy landlords were hurting everybody.

As someone who cares about a safe OTR for all residents, and a healthy neighborhood for the kids, I'm w/ anonymous 5:20pm: I want to know what we can do. I want to protect affordable housing, but nobody should live in a building where the landlord doesn't care about basic upkeep of their housing. I was under the impression that a lot of this was being done over OBJECTIONS of many greedy landlords, rather than w/ their cooperation. Although richer tenants may pay more for rent, they probably also want more services from landlords. It might be more profitable for some absentee landlords to ignore the poorer tenants, which is just a crappy situation for all.

Anonymous said...

"This is about greedy landlords forcing tenants who live in buildings that are already restored and rehabilitated to move so that they can get richer, whiter tenants."

Wrong!

The photo at the begining of the post is of a dumpster in front of 1316 Race Street, which hasn't seen a single improvement for 100 years. The toilets were down the hall, the windows were leaky, the electric was primitive, and it was heated by unsafe gas space heaters. This building that you and Brian Garry are bellyaching about is a prime example of what should be completely rehabbed.

Another thing. Why is it that Bonnie Neumeier and her group, which you seem to be so supportive of, have so much trouble renting their apartments? Buildings that they recently rehabbed are half empty. Could it be that there are more apartments in this city than there are tenants to fill them?

Anonymous said...

What's Mayor Odell Owens' position on the issue?

Anonymous said...

Hey are you going to blog about what went down at the NAACP yesterday? I want to know who the president is and all the drama that occurred.

Anonymous said...

Over the Rhine should be a German-American neighborhood again. The NYT story describes one building as being 130 years old and the neighborhood as being built by German immigrants. Let the blacks go build "Over the Niger" or "Over the Congo" somewhere and see if its still standing in 2136.

Maybe if they actually had to build something and not get a home handed to them they'd appreciate the work involved and not start turning the place to shit as soon as they moved in.

I'd feel the same way if there were a bunch of white folk holed up in some pueblo somewhere and native americans wanted to move back in to end the neglect of their ancestral homes.

RICLAND said...

A year ago I lived at 1324 Race street which is precisely where these so-called "poor" are being evicted.

So let me share with you the truth about these people.

These are not poor people. These are crackheads, theives, ex-cons, boosters, dope-dealers, prostitutes, etc. They sit on their stoops and smoke dope right in front of the children across the street in Washington Park School.

They go to Washington park when they're tired of sitting on their stoops and do their drugs there. These peop;e are worse than cockroaches. They're human sewage.

They'll break into your car to get the quarter you left on the dash. They'll go in the schoolyard at night and take a crap in the children's play area.

Speaking of the children's play area, you ever see that place in the morning? It's littered with beer bottles, garbage, human excrement.

If you're going to tell the truth about these animals, Nate, tell the truth. Don't describe them as "poor." And don't confuse them with the people who live on Walnut Street.

ricland

Roger said...

Songs like a drama of both parties if it so of the illegal actions across from a school why are they still there this sounds like the police are not doing there job but on the other hand if this is there home and pay for such conditions they also have rights and labeling others is not in best taste before one goes that far best have proof of there statements Wait now knowing that the newspaper hire and use drug dealers cons and such for there services whos in the wrong. Then I listen to others judge there opioion on the color of ones skin thats wrong no matter how you say it .Life is not always a profit and if you love your money more then others life I say go else were.I'm not siding for either because lack of site knowledge but to listen to others thoughts sounds races to me

RICLAND said...

To follow up my last comment: The people evicting the human sewage from the downtown area are absolutely correct. And I should add I'm a black man.

I lived on Race Street for four years. I'm 48 years old and have traveled all around the country and never have I seen more worthless human beings than the people who live in this area.

They have absolutely no redeeming value. They have turned Washington Park into a hellish place you can't walk through without 10 people asking you for a handout.

And the bleeding hearts who come and feed this human sewage are partly to blame. Besides the insane number of soup kitchens in the area, church groups come from all around to feed these bums.

On any given Sunday you'll see four or five church food trucks handing out food.


They think they're feeding the poor, but they're not. They're feeding bums who'd rather smoke crack than get jobs.

Speaking of soup kitchens, there are no less than six in the immediate area. Six within a few blocks of each other!

Cincinnati is growing but it will not grow if it doesn't rid itself of this cancer that has taken over its downtown.

Take that "Drop Center" and get it out of the downtown area. The city council needs to zone these places just as we zone commercial property.

Drop centers destroy neighborhoods. They turn poor neighborhoods where hard-working people live into crack houses.

Take these soup kitchens and shut them down, put them on the other side of town. Make these crack heads walk to get a meal.

Better yet, relocate them to Damon Lynch's neighborhood and let's see how much he likes it when they break into his BMW to steal his Bible.

ricland

Anonymous said...

Ricland, thank you for putting it out there pure, plain & simple. I couldn't agree with you more. You're the only black man in this City who speaks the truth & common sense!

Anon 5:43, thank you for the reminder of what Over the Rhine once was. During the holidays each year, I recall all the stories my people told to me when they came to this country, settled in Cincinnati & owned buildings & businesses in OTR.

It's a downright shame what's happened in OTR, & the blame doesn't reside solely with the absentee slumlords. Those who live there, by pittance of rent or vouchers, move in & proceed to thoroughly trash their habitation. Animals behave better than that. These beings are lazy, shiftless cannibals. And they certainly aren't "poor".

It would be nice to turn OTR back to the old days. However, I'm nominating Ricland for Community Council President!

Anonymous said...

Well done, Ricland!

Once again, Nate is debunked for his self-serving distortion of facts

Anonymous said...

Very well said, Ricland. Thank you for preaching the absolute truth.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ricland! Those bums and thugs are poor because they are bums and thugs, not teh other way around. If they were honest people willing to work, they would have a job and a house and a family. But because they criminal or addicted, they flock to OTR for the handouts and the relaxed policing. If a crack head was taking a dump in Hyde Park Square, he'd be in the back of a police car in 5 minutes. In Washington Park, he just has to find a place to squat where he won't cut his nuts on a broken crack pipe.

The people to blame for tis are the church groups. Get rid of them and the problem will be solved.

Anonymous said...

I couldnt agree more that all the hand out offices need to be moved. We shouldnt shit where we eat so to speak. I wish we could set them up out in the middle of no where so we never have to see the skum again.

speedracer said...

"Take that "Drop Center" and get it out of the downtown area. The city council needs to zone these places just as we zone commercial property.

Drop centers destroy neighborhoods. They turn poor neighborhoods where hard-working people live into crack houses."
Ricland, this is absolutely not true. I Go to SCPA and took part of an after school photojournalism class that worked closely with the Drop in center you are bashing. When you walk into the Drop in center it does feel similar to prison, but it's a place that gets the homeless drug addicted souls of cincinnati out of the streets and into shelter. there is also a rehab class for those addicted to drugs.
I had the pleasure to talk to, photograph and write about the scum that you feel has 'no redeeming value'. I do however, agree that we must do something with these who are addicted, and cannot seem to change their course. It is VERY difficult to change one's life course when drugs AND homelessness are the main factors. When addicted or under the influence it is difficult to make important decisions, therefore when one finds himself jobless the next thing to happen is homelessness. Since one is addicted he'll never be able to get a job unless he can pass a piss test or be clean/show a place of residency, neither of which he could do. So tell me, what is the poor addict supposed to do?


Why do you go talk to these people before you assume that everyone is homeless for the same reason.



Also I am definitely for the gentrification of otr, I just wish the could find a way to not have to kick the original tenants out.

Luca Acito

Anonymous said...

Its amazing that this post is almost 6 years old now and it seems that nothing in the OTR has changed save the population numbers. The folks there are still feeling as though they were left out of the decision making process and now the process of Speculative investments has turned the OTR into a ghost town! I wonder just when will those with power start listening to those without? Does it take a revolution or just a dead city?