Dog on the Move

Uptown Tent Camp Moved So Metropolis Can Restore Viaduct After Fires, However Residents Say ‘We’re Going Again’


UPTOWN — Residents of a tent encampment below a DuSable Lake Shore Drive viaduct in Uptown have moved as town fixes the realm, which has been broken by fires.

The residents left the Lawrence Avenue viaduct Tuesday, when crews with the Chicago Division of Transportation began cleansing up and repairing the infrastructure after two fires on the encampment.

Tent metropolis residents willingly relocated to close by parkland and have been informed they’ll return to the viaducts as soon as work is completed, officers and residents mentioned. The residents plan to do exactly that.

“Allow them to do it,” mentioned Tom Gordon, the chief of the viaduct tent metropolis. “Once they’re accomplished, we’re going again. They don’t bought a selection.”

After beforehand cleansing up the particles following two fires that destroyed tents and displaced residents, metropolis crews started energy washing and spray portray the Lawrence Avenue viaduct this week, mentioned CDOT spokesperson Erica Schroeder.

Crews are additionally repairing and changing lights and electrical infrastructure broken within the fireplace, Schroeder mentioned. The work is anticipated to be accomplished subsequent week.

Credit score: Joe Ward/Block Membership ChicagoTom Gordon inspects the remnants of a fireplace that broke out within the encampment within the Lawrence Avenue DuSable Drive viaduct, the place Gordon and others reside., on June 7, 2022.

Town’s transit company has agreed to restore and repaint the viaduct if there are any future fires on the encampment, Ald. James Cappleman (forty sixth) mentioned in an e mail to constituents.

The Division of Household and Assist Companies continues to work with the residents to supply housing, Cappleman mentioned. Those that don’t settle for the housing gives will probably be allowed to return to the viaduct, he mentioned.

There are about 18 residents of the Lawrence and Wilson avenue viaducts in Uptown, Gordon mentioned. Since being relocated Tuesday, three residents of the camp and one pet canine have taken town up on gives to maneuver to motels, Gordon mentioned.

There are not less than two others who would go to motels and are ready for town to return and facilitate the transfer, he mentioned.

“I’ve two folks, with canine, that wish to go, however [the city] hasn’t come again,” he mentioned.

Credit score: Joe Ward/Block Membership ChicagoA tiny wood house has been relocated from a viaduct below Du Sable Lake Shore Drive in Uptown.

The newest viaduct fireplace came about June 6, when an “unknown incendiary gadget” caught fireplace and destroyed two tents and a tiny wood home, based on residents and police. The residents who misplaced their belongings have been put up in different tents.

In late March, six residents of the Lawrence Avenue tent metropolis have been displaced after a hearth allegedly involving propane tanks broke out below the viaduct.

One other fireplace came about April 13 within the park property simply west of DuSable Lake Shore Drive at Lawrence Avenue, in a tent that was unoccupied on the time.

Nobody has been injured within the fires. Residents of the camps have feared the fires will probably be used as a motive to evict them from their years-long house close to the lakefront.

Cappleman and a few neighbors have mentioned the fires are an growing hazard to the camp residents, folks touring Lawrence Avenue to get to the lakefront and drivers on DuSable Lake Shore Drive. The addition of wood homes and tents on wooden bases makes the scenario extra harmful, Cappleman has mentioned.

After the second fireplace, Cappleman requested town to relocate the residents’ tents to adjoining parkland. Metropolis officers turned down his request, however Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s workplace is working to handle the difficulty, he mentioned.

Lightfoot’s workplace is contemplating forming a job pressure to have a look at the difficulty of incendiary units like propane tanks in tent cities and contemplating an ordinance that might nice these giving propane to encampment residents, Cappleman beforehand mentioned.

Thirty residents of the tent metropolis have been positioned in housing following “accelerated shifting occasions” in 2021, Chandra Libby, director of homeless outreach for town’s Division of Household and Assist Companies, mentioned at a latest Uptown group assembly.

Credit score: Joe Ward/Block Membership ChicagoMetropolis crews energy wash and paint the Lawrence Avenue viaduct in Uptown following fires within the viaduct’s tent encampment.

Gordon and a number of the camp residents selected a shady spot west of DuSable Lake Shore Drive for his or her momentary house. Most of their possessions have moved with them, together with tents, canine crates and overflow objects. A great Samaritan introduced by meals, together with a field of apples, after the camp was relocated, residents mentioned.

Gordon and different camp residents mentioned they declined town’s supply for housing.

A few of the residents mentioned being delivered to motels usually strands them in elements of town they don’t know. Shelters might be simply as unsafe as sleeping within the park, with a lot extra restrictions, they mentioned.

Plus, Gordon mentioned he has to look over the camp. He works with the Park District on eradicating tents and belongings which have been deserted, he mentioned.

“I’ve bought a camp to observe,” Gordon mentioned. “Folks right here don’t need shelter; they need housing.”

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