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By Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun | December 6, 2011
The vacant brick rowhouse at 2037 Orleans St. looks like many of the 16,000 abandoned homes that beset Baltimore. The front door is covered with plywood. The weedy backyard is strewn with trash. But this empty house stands out in one notable way: It's owned by Police Maj. Melvin T. Russell, commander of the Eastern District - a man who has seen firsthand how blight has damaged East Baltimore and whose job makes him a role model in the community. "I'm an advocate against these people," Russell said Monday, referring to owners of run-down vacants.
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NEWS
By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | August 1, 2014
A two-alarm fire broke out in a vacant rowhome in West Baltimore early Friday morning, though no one was reported to be injured. Baltimore fire department spokesman Ian Brennan said the fire was reported around 4 a.m. in the 600 block of N. Carey St. in the Harlem Park neighborhood, with heavy fire showing from the rear of the building when firefighters arrived. The fire also damaged the two adjacent rowhouses, one which was occupied and the other vacant. Brennan said the fire took more than two hours to get under control because firefighters were unable to enter the vacant structures to attack it. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | August 16, 2013
Boarded-up and falling down, hundreds of Baltimore's vacant and blighted rowhouses are scheduled for demolition in coming months in a stepped-up effort to rid the city of its most visible sign of decades of urban decay. Over the next 21/2 years, the city is budgeted to spend nearly $22 million to tear down 1,500 abandoned houses - a move urban planners say could transform Baltimore visually and clear a path for struggling neighborhoods to attract future development. Previously, the city had been spending about $2.5 million a year on demolition.
NEWS
By Danae King, The Baltimore Sun | June 9, 2014
Janice Jacobs-Hudson keeps informed about what goes on in the East Baltimore neighborhood of rowhouses where she has lived for more than 30 years. So Jacobs-Hudson, president of the Ashland Avenue Association, was surprised to find an artist painting a gigantic "pop-up" mural on a stretch of houses in the 2400 block of E. Eager St., including the house where she grew up. The houses, which are boarded up and vacant, are scheduled to be torn down over the next several months for a children's park.
NEWS
January 8, 1992
When Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke first took office in 1987, he pledged to recycle dilapidated vacant houses back into the city's housing stock. The mayor can cite some successes. But mounting evidence suggests that far from getting better, Baltimore's vacant housing situation is getting worse.The number of boarded-up houses is rapidly climbing, particularly in the inner-city. A new trend also is evident. Houses are no longer even boarded up but are allowed to create a public safety hazard as a haven for drug addicts and targets for would-be arsonists.
NEWS
October 8, 1994
This much is indisputable: The number of vacant houses in Baltimore City has risen alarmingly in recent years. There are no accurate numbers, though. Forget the 7,700 figure the housing department likes to throw around. Nearly two years ago, the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies put vacant houses in the city at 27,222. "Sixty percent of the abandoned housing stock has been abandoned more than two years and therefore is unlikely to be salvageable," researchers concluded.What is to be done?
NEWS
September 13, 1992
Stephen Church is a 26-year-old police officer in Annapolis He hails from Baltimore, however, and wants to continue to live here. But how can a man afford a house in the beginning of his career?Officer Church found a way. Recently he became the first applicant to be awarded a loan in Baltimore City's new $8 million vacant house loan program. His future home, a boarded-up, two-story rowhouse in the 1600 block East 29th Street, still bears the smoky scars of a firebombing. But if everything goes well, Officer Church hopes to move in before the end of the year.
NEWS
By Eric Siegel and Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF | December 26, 2002
Moving ahead with what officials hope will be the transformation of a badly blighted section of East Baltimore, the city has begun acquiring properties for a major revitalization effort centered around a biotech park. As a first step, the city is moving to take control of about 70 vacant houses outside the boundaries of the proposed biopark. These buildings -- mostly along three blocks of North Broadway just north of the Johns Hopkins medical complex in the vicinity of Madison Square and Collington Square -- are scheduled for renovation by private developers, officials say. The houses will be offered first to East Baltimore homeowners displaced by the renewal project.
NEWS
BY A SUN STAFF WRITER | December 11, 1997
Hoping to lower the city's stock of more than 40,000 vacant properties, Baltimore's housing commissioner said yesterday that he will step up efforts to combat the problem with a new plan.Daniel P. Henson III, who serves as the head of Housing and Community Development and the Housing Authority, assembled more than 60 housing developers, city department leaders, community leaders and other housing specialists to draw up the plan.Some initiatives have already begun, Henson said.He said that two state's attorney slots have been created and filled to handle issues in housing court.
NEWS
By Joe Mathews and Joe Mathews,SUN STAFF | December 28, 1995
Seven Northwestern High School seniors are learning the intricacies of real estate law in an effort to take back vacant housing in their community from absentee owners.Each Wednesday this school year, the students -- most of them members of Mary Otho's first period social studies elective in criminal and civil law -- are excused from classes and instead spend 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the legal clinic, studying the law and learning how to use property records.This month, the students took their map of vacant properties in Northwest Baltimore to the Park-Reist Corridor Coalition, a citizens group.
NEWS
May 30, 2014
In response to Michael Dresser 's May 28th article that describes Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown's campaign treasury as having over $4 million cash on hand ( "Brown raises $1.2 million in 6 weeks," May 28), it is worth pointing out that some of this money goes to the campaign signs that end up on vacant houses and blighted structures throughout the city. In my district, major culprits include the Brown/Ulman ticket, Doc Cheatham, and the ubiquitous Conaways. But no ticket appears on more vacant buildings than the signs encouraging the re-election of Joan Carter Conway, Maggie McIntosh, Curt Anderson and Mary Washington.
NEWS
By Nayana Davis and The Baltimore Sun | January 27, 2014
Baltimore firefighters battled a blaze in the Penn North neighborhood early Monday morning. The single-alarm fire occurred in a vacant house in the 2400 block of Francis Street. The fire burned through all the floors in the building, Baltimore Fire Department officials said. Firefighters are still on scene investigating the cause of the incident.
NEWS
By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | October 1, 2013
Eleven people were displaced from their homes Tuesday night after a vacant rowhouse in Southwest Baltimore partially collapsed, compromising the houses on either side of it. Connor Scott, a spokesman for the city's Office of Emergency Management, said Wilkens Avenue will be closed in both directions between S. Payson Street and S. Monroe Street until about midnight Tuesday while Baltimore Gas and Electric crews shut off gas to the building....
NEWS
August 22, 2013
Baltimore's leaders are to be commended for their efforts to steadily reduce crime, improve student test scores and graduation rates, and lower property taxes. Such steps are absolutely critical to meeting Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's goal of reversing Baltimore's decades-long decline and drawing 10,000 new families to the city over a 10-year period. Yet even if all those worthy goals are achieved, no outsider - or resident - will think of Baltimore as a truly great metropolis (let alone the "Greatest City on Earth," as those bus benches proclaim)
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | August 16, 2013
Boarded-up and falling down, hundreds of Baltimore's vacant and blighted rowhouses are scheduled for demolition in coming months in a stepped-up effort to rid the city of its most visible sign of decades of urban decay. Over the next 21/2 years, the city is budgeted to spend nearly $22 million to tear down 1,500 abandoned houses - a move urban planners say could transform Baltimore visually and clear a path for struggling neighborhoods to attract future development. Previously, the city had been spending about $2.5 million a year on demolition.
NEWS
By Justin George, Ian Duncan and Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | August 10, 2013
The two-story abstract mural - featuring a pharaoh's headpiece, a cotton field and fire spewing out of rowhouse windows - showed up suddenly this summer on a vacant house in North Baltimore. The artwork at 4727 Old York Road came with a political twist: A sign next to it prominently listed the name of a trust that owns the house and those of government officials who represent the area. The mural and sign are the work of a local group of artists who call themselves "Wall Hunters" and a housing activist seeking to publicly shame absentee landlords and elected officials into addressing the issue of vacant homes.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert and Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | August 23, 2011
Property tax breaks meant to encourage homeownership have been awarded to 465 vacant houses in Baltimore, depriving the city of uncollected revenue in a difficult budget year and calling into question past promises from city officials to crack down on tax scofflaws, a Baltimore Sun analysis has found. Owners of the vacant homes received a total of $325,000 in tax breaks. That's enough money to run municipal swimming pools for more than two weeks, one of the many services that had been on the chopping block - stoking the ire of residents - as the city slashed its budget to address a $65 million shortfall.
NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | April 4, 1994
The sign on the door of 4 S. Frederick St. announces that an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is held at this address.Not so well marked in the same small office building just south of city Police Department headquarters is the Baltimore branch of the Atlanta auction company the city has hired to sell nearly 170 vacant houses this month.This a very curious sale billed as the first annual Home Festival Auction. The sale is full of government rules, but it also promises to deliver some good deals for owner-occupant purchasers with a lot of faith.
NEWS
June 30, 2013
In response to letter writer Kitty Deimel's comments about "where were the developers when these vacant houses were 'shoot up' housing for the neighborhood junkies" ("Vampire developers devour city farms," June 27), I'd ask her: Where were the neighbors when the junkies started taking over the neighborhood? It's easy to blame city government and uncaring (except when it comes to money) developers for not cleaning up our neighborhoods and our city but where were we when the dealers moved onto our corners?
NEWS
June 26, 2013
Let's see: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore City can choose between the greedy developers with millions of "green" tax dollars stuffed in their pockets - or the generous Baltimore Free Farmers, who provide green vegetables to feed the neighborhood poor ("Urban farmers object to land sale," June 24). You've got three guesses as to which one Ms. Mayor will choose - and the first two don't count. Where were the developers when these vacant houses were "shoot-up" housing for the neighborhood junkies?
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