Minneapolis City Council meeting disrupted after vote on Roof Depot demolition

After a vote to cancel demolition contracts for the Roof Depot building in Minneapolis was rejected, upset activists disrupted a Minneapolis City Council on Thursday.

The project at the Roof Depot off East 28th Street near Hiawatha Avenue in the East Phillips neighborhood, was already approved by the council last month. With it, the City of Minneapolis will create a central public works campus for water in the city. The city says it will help them provide safe drinking water across Minneapolis.

During the meeting on Thursday, which came after police cleared a protest encampment at the Roof Depot on Tuesday, Councilmember Jason Chavez brought forth a motion to cancel the contract for the demolition of the Roof Depot building. Speaking Thursday, Chavez says he was motivated to try and stop the project after hearing concerns from residents.

That motion failed on a 6-to-6 vote, needing eight votes to carry.

The failed vote kicked off chaos in the meeting room, with protesters bringing the meeting to a halt. Opponents of the plan worry the demolition and construction project could put surrounding areas at risk due to arsenic found at the site years earlier. City leaders say the project is safe and will ultimately benefit the entire city.

The meeting was briefly recessed as the city worked to clear out the meeting room. The meeting ended shortly after the recess.