North Minneapolis residents and activists John Hoff and Peter Teachout spent a few hours last night cleaning up the neighborhood by removing shoes hanging from powerlines.
Hoff, who runs a blog about the struggle in North Minneapolis against drug dealers, prostitutes, and copper thieves, explains why he thinks it’s important to remove shoes from powerlines:
Some people think the shoes on the lines mean “gang territory” but in my observation it’s more like kids with time (and shoes) on their hands. But outsiders THINK the shoes mean “gang territory,” and when it comes to something like house-hunting, perception might become reality.
Thus the need for an elite shoe patrol unit. Peter has two long wooden boards he uses for footwear extraction, and it’s quite an art. Taking the shoes off the lines is the easy part. Gingerly de-tangling the laces with a 12-foot board is the difficult aspect.
That’s really the point. Regardless of why they’re thrown on powerlines, if people think they’re associated with tough neighborhoods, they’re going to hurt neighborhoods where they’re hanging.