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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Condemnations Yield More Parking and $200k for Shiloh

Shiloh's latest Take Down the Signs Update (accessible here) triumphantly claims that as of July 22, 2007, campaign donations total $199,880.53. The update also reveals that Shiloh awaits a permit to dismantle the garage behind 1534 9th Street, which will, no doubt, make way for more church parking in the near future (does anyone know why this structure isn't also protected by the HPRB?).

It seems that most of the work to date has focused on Shiloh's 9th Street properties (someone correct me if I've missed work on their vacant properties along 8th Street). Work on the 8th Street properties sounds like it's pending agreement with the contractor (speaking of, does anyone know who Shiloh is using for this work?). As pictured above (in a photo courtesy of Drew), today, Shiloh's contractors appear to be cleaning out one of Shiloh's vacant properties along 9th Street. Pest control has been observed in recent days at 1533 9th.

I speak frequently about the crime, vandalism, trespassing, and loitering that all go hand in hand with vacant properties (especially with a concentration of vacant properties, like that of Shiloh Baptist Church's portfolio of vacant properties). Today's post reminds me to stress that vacant properties also cause numerous less visible problems for neighbors. Rats in walls, rotting and termite-infested wood, clogged and/or broken gutters, overgrown vegetation, squatters, and ungodly stenches also plague neighbors to vacant properties. Thankfully condemnations prompt poor stewards of vacant property to take some remedial action in making neighbors lives easier. No less, these minimal efforts are still not enough.

13 comments:

Mr. Ray said...

The Latino contractors have replaced at least one of the roofs on the back building to their westside properties on Ninth. There is a lot of construction debris behind the buildings, but I have not seen any workers in the last couple of days. Perhaps Drew could have a peek, as I go through the alley early in the morning on the way to work (to escape the 9th Street Freeway on my bike) Nothing has occured at either the eastside or 8th Street properties -- except for another mattress on 1600 8th, which seem to sprout up like mushrooms.

Shaw Rez said...

Speaking of, does anyone what are the applicable immigration and, relatedly, employment laws regarding a property owner's use of contractors? Are there rules re: a 501(c)(3)'s accounting on projects like this?

Dan said...

Shaw rez, checked out the cafe mural on my dog walk this AM, and it seems that most offensive or "down on Shaw" language has been painted over . I kind of miss it :-)

Drew said...

Agreed Dan...

Here's hoping the original scribe will reinstate his lingo on the wall soon!

Shaw Rez said...

Although the original name of this blog was inspired by the now-missing moniker, I'm not too sad that the "slum historique" reference is gone (although I'm intrigued by who would've painted over it!).

Admittedly, the words "slum historique" affected my initial impression of the area more than the vacant buildings surrounding, and that's probably not a good thing if shared by other outsiders. I think as we embark on many new and exciting projects in Shaw, this moniker detracts from our progress.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Shaw Rez...

Let's leave "le Slum" as a fond memory and look to a more optimistic future for our neighborhood...

We could start by getting the city and the media to focus on these scumbag vacant property owners...

Dan said...

I just thought it was some of the most fantastic public art I'd ever encountered, such a tight commentary on the area itself, the DC market overall, capitalism and commercialism, all wrapped up in such a random place. I understand the sentiment that it's a detraction to the area, but I still thought it was such a unique and intelligent work.

Shaw Rez said...

Dan - yeah, I defintely thought it was unique and intelligent commentary (especially in the overall context of the cafe, etc.). And it's humorous to those of us familiar with the neighborhood and with the scribe behind such creativity.

I personally would rather the emphasis of such commentary be on the bad property owners themselves rather than on reinforcing bad stereotypes of our neighborhood. Yes, vacant properties, like those of Michael Sendar, Shiloh Baptist Church, and the National Parks Service are a major, slum-like blight on the neighborhood. But they don't define the neighborhood by themselves.

Hopeful said...

Do you think it is the building owner trying to clean it up for a potential sale? He has had the "for sale" sign on the building for a while now. Perhaps someone is intersted?

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if anyone knew where the owner lived (I've heard Potomac, MD?)

If someone were to come up with picture postcards of his beautiful property and mailed them to all of his Potomac neighbors would public pressure from his own 'hood do any good? Something to the effect of "This is Slumlord Michael Sendar's property and he's been neglecting it for XX years...would you want this in YOUR neighborhood? We don't...Michael's Shaw neighbors"...

Or something along those lines...just an idea...

Mr. Ray said...

I don't know who painted over my "slum historique" -- appreciate the back and forth dialogue nonetheless. Ralph is a glass is half full new comer, I am a glass remains half empty old timer. Frankly, I don't see anything happening on the 1500 block for the next dozen years, like the last two dozen years. Ralph and Drew will move out and I'll be dead. The Park Service will still be "studying" the Woodson house and Shiloh have gotten a tax exemption for all of their vacant properties once Mr. Fenty learns the churches still rule in the perpetual slum neighborhoods.

rr 446 said...

what are they "studying" it for? to see how black american homosexuals lived in that era? to see if j. edgar hoover ever visited there in drag?

JonboyDC said...

"applicable immigration and, relatedly, employment laws regarding a property owner's use of contractors?"
When you hire a contractor, you are not entering into an employment relationship. The contractor is, literally, an independent contractor. So the property owner has no obligation under employment laws (for the payment of overtime or minimum wage, for example) or under immigration law (to check the immigration status of the contractor). The contractor, if he or she has employees, does have those obligations.

(This assumes that the property owner is hiring a contractor who has a crew. If the property owner hires a roofer and also directly hires each of the three assistants and pays each person directly, they aren't really contractors and the property owner is really their employer.)