Education Restoration Preservation

Welcome to the
Healy Project

Join us on Facebook

Send us an Email

Recent posts

Recent posts:

Healy Project Fundraiser at the Lowbrow, May 7th Winter Party Fundraiser December 2017 Talk: Preservation Advocacy, August 17th Open House at 1300 Mount Curve Avenue East Lake of the Isles Walking Tour May 21st New Research on the “Lost” Healy Block: Tour May 7th A Presentation on Master Builders Ingham and Parsons, Saturday, March 18th. Healy Project Winter Party Henry Ingham’s Yorkshire Healy Project Fundraiser at the Lowbrow, May 9th Healy Block Historic District Tour: April 17th Healy Project Holiday Old House Reception CANCELED–Healy Block Historic District Walking Tour–November 8 More Hauntings: Houses Built by Henry Ingham Healy House Hauntings Tour Intro to the History of the North Wedge North Wedge Architectural Walking Tour, October 3rd Healy Phoenix #2 Healy Phoenix #1 Report on the Event: A Great Dinner for a Good Cause A Child’s View of T.P. Healy’s Family Big Win for Healy Block Residents: Revised I-35W Expansion Plan T.P. Healy: Farmer, Commission Merchant & Wholesale Grocer in Nova Scotia Open April 25th: Restored 1885 House in Wedge Learn from the Past, Learn from the Present Grandstanding and Stonewalling at City Hall: Trashing the Public Trust Orth House Demolition An Open Letter to Minneapolis City Council Regarding the Orth House Demolition The Truth Will Out II: More Lies That Brought Down 2320 Colfax Avenue South The Truth Will Out: Lies that Brought Down 2320 Colfax Avenue South Judge Denies Injunction against Wrecking 2320 Colfax Avenue South Poisoning the Well: Testimony about 2320 Colfax Avenue South “City Ghosts” Visit Victorian House Historic North Wedge Walking Tour: Sunday, September 7th Combining New and Old: A New Vision for the Orth House A Place That Matters Healy Project Files Suit to Stop Demolition of the Orth House Happy Earth Day, Zero-Credibility City of Minneapolis Stop Demolition: Allow a designation study for the Orth House Perverting New Urbanism II: Greenwashing Demolition Perverting New Urbanism for Fun and Profit Size Matters: Development at Franklin-Lyndale DEN$ITY: Building Utopia in Gopher City Hypocrisy at City Hall: Planning Department Scorns Sustainable Development Déjà Vu All Over Again: Threats to Healy Houses Renewed Healy Project Special Kickoff Tour Saving Private Houses In Landmark Decision, City Council Stops Demolition of 2320 Colfax Avenue South What’s the Greenest Building? Who Lives in Lowry Hill East? Revoltin’ Developments VI: What You Can Do Revoltin’ Developments V: Sappy Citizens and Maudlin Attachments Revoltin’ Developments IV: Density and City Planning Revoltin’ Developments III: Density and Livability Revoltin’ Developments II: Healy Houses in the Wedge Revoltin’ Developments, Part I Healy Descendant Acquires the Bennett-McBride House On Memorial Day Lost Healys on the Healy Block More Lost Healys The Broom House: 3111 Second Avenue South More on Round Hill Happy Birthday, T.P. The Edmund G. Babbidge House: 3120 Third Avenue South Brightening the Corner: 3101 Second Avenue South 2936 Portland Avenue The Andrew H. Adams House: 3107 Second Avenue South Clones: 2932 Park and 1425 Dupont North The J.B. Hudson House: 3127 Second Avenue South Second Healy Family Home: 3131 Second Avenue South Schlocked: ‎2639-41 Bryant Avenue South 1976 Sheridan Avenue South: Preserved Exterior The William L. Summer House, 3145 Second Avenue South Two More in the Wedge Weapon of Mass Healy Destruction: I-35W Construction The Third: Healy Builds in the Wedge The Second: 3139 Second Avenue South Healy’s First House: 3137 Second Avenue South Anders Christensen, T.P.Healy, and the Healy Project

An Open Letter to Minneapolis City Council Regarding the Orth House Demolition

The Healy Project has sent this letter to City Hall, outlining how false testimony played a role in the decision-making process regarding the demolition of the Orth House.  The physical evidence revealing these lies is in salvagers’ storehouses, in photos and video, and until demolition takes place, in the Orth House itself.

Please call or write your council member, requesting that they take a serious, objective look at this process.  Minneapolis CMs by ward: kevin.reich@minneapolismn.gov, cam.gordon@minneapolismn.gov, jacob.frey@minneapolismn.gov, barbara.johnson@minneapolismn.gov, abdi.warsame@minneapolismn.gov, elizabeth.glidden@minneapolismn.gov, alondra.cano@minneapolismn.gov, lisa.bender@minneapolismn.gov, john.quincy@minneapolismn.gov, andrew.johnson@minneapolismn.gov, linea.palmisano@minneapolismn.gov. Also, please thank the two council members who courageously voted against demolition: blong.yang@minneapolismn.gov, lisa.goodman@minneapolismn.gov.

old-healy

The Healy Project
Preserving the architectural legacy of T. P. Healy
A nonprofit • www.healyproject.org

January 28, 2015

Minneapolis City Council
City Hall, Room 307
350 South Fifth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415

To: Members of the Minneapolis City Council
SUBJ: Testimony regarding the property at 2320 Colfax Avenue South

The Orth House, 2320 Colfax Avenue South, is on the verge of demolition. That issue is settled. The intent of this letter is to examine the decision-making process. Opinion remains divided on this issue, but no matter where we stand, the process itself can be analyzed separate from one’s opinions and feelings regarding the Orth House.

The Healy Project received an e-mail from a neighborhood resident subcontracting salvage work from City Salvage on the Orth House. We have video documentation of the Orth House interior from this individual. (Please review the attached communication now.)

Compare the reality of the integrity of the interior with the attached statements that were made during testimony to decision-making making bodies. These statements, while inaccurate, were given a great deal of credibility in the decision-making process. They even made their way into staff reports and presentations. These inconsistencies are not within the realm of differences of opinion. Phrases such as “completely rebuilt,” “gutted to the studs,” and “essentially removing the upper two floors” have definite meanings that are not consistent with physical reality.

From this discovery, we of the Healy Project raise four issues related to the process of public testimony that need to be addressed:

1. Real estate development is a profitable enterprise. The Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) and the City Council heard much false testimony regarding the condition of the Orth House. We know that now. Michael Lander, the developer; Tom Dunn, the real estate broker; Michael Crow, the landlord; and Amy Lucas, the consultant all presented information that was undeniably inaccurate. They all had a financial incentive to do so.

City planner John Smoley repeated these inaccurate statements. Smoley argued before both the HPC and the City Council in 2013 that the Orth House should not be designated as an Historic Resource, largely because of condition. In the course of the Healy Project’s Minnesota Environmental Resources Act (MERA) lawsuit, Smoley testified that he first laid eyes on the Orth House in January, 2014.

How can council members be assured that they are getting accurate information and that staff has done its due diligence?

2. During the 2013 testimony, members of the Healy Project testified to important observations, such as the fact that the entire front facade, including clapboard and original bowed windows were intact inside the porch enclosure. That is a significant finding regarding architectural integrity. However, with the updated staff report in 2014, new information that was made available to staff from advocates to preserve the house was not incorporated into either the staff report or presentation. This information was factual and directly observable. However, new information provided by the consultant for the developer was incorporated into the staff report and presentation–information that was not directly observable fact, but rather a matter of opinion and conjecture. Therefore, we ask you to recognize that:

Bias is evident when factual information is neither reported or presented when it does not support the staff recommendation.

3. The Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) in 2014 denied the application for the demolition of an Historic Resource. They also ordered a designation study. City planner John Smoley argued for approval of the demolition permit. Owner Michael Crow filed an appeal to demolish an Historic Resource.

At the appeal hearing chaired by CM Bender, both Michael Crow and John Smoley were allowed presentations in favor of demolition. The HPC’s position was reported but not presented; reporting is not a substitute for a persuasive presentation earnestly defending the HPC’s position. It seems appropriate that some provision be made in cases which staff’s professional opinion differs from the decision-making making body.

Something is amiss when the recommendations of both presentations are in agreement with one another. By nature and definition, an appeal is a scenario when there is one opinion that is not in agreement with another.

4. When the Healy Project sued owner Michael Crow under Minnesota Environmental Resources Act (MERA), city planner John Smoley appeared as a witness on owner Michael Crow’s behalf. Because of his academic credentials and his employment as a city planner for the City of Minneapolis, the Court regarded Smoley as an expert witness.
The consequence of allowing false information to enter the process at the City level is that City staff appeared in District Court testifying under oath to information that we now know to be false.

The Healy Project requests that the concerns raised in this letter be given serious consideration and discussion. In the future, integrity of process is paramount for maintaining the integrity and the credibility of the City of Minneapolis. The integrity and the credibility of the City of Minneapolis has been clouded by a decision- making process dominated by false testimony. It would seem prudent to ask the questions: How did this happen? What is to prevent it from happening again?

Very truly yours,

Anders Christensen, President

Brian Finstad, Board Member

cc: Mayor Betsy Hodges
Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commissioners
Erik Hansen, Burns and Hansen
Erik Nilsson, Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office

**Attachment: E-mail about condition of the Orth House, December 2014

See also the Healy Project blog posts:
Poisoning the Well: Testimony about 2320 Colfax Avenue South
The Truth Will Out: Lies that brought down 2320 Colfax Avenue South
The Truth Will Out II: More lies that brought down 2320 Colfax Avenue South

______________________________________________________________________

**See the e-mail here.

To view video and photos taken on December 9-12, 2014, by salvage subcontractor Ezra Gray, click here.

ain't overThe Orth House will be demolished, but discussion about how this came to pass ain’t over.