Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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City orders tenants to vacate from 2018 Wesley Ave., boards up building entrances

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Jerry Wu/The Daily Northwestern
A board-up crew nails a wooden plank to one of the apartment doors at 2018 Wesley Ave. on Thursday night.

City personnel ordered families living at 2018 Wesley Ave. to vacate the apartment and boarded up all entrance points of the building Thursday night, residents in neighboring buildings said. 

At about 8 p.m., Evanston Police Department officers arrived at the building to escort two third-floor families out of their apartments, according to William Carter, who lives at 2014 Wesley Ave. They were sent to city-coordinated extended-stay hotels, said Community Alliance for Better Government President Sebastian Nalls, who was at the scene.

The city had previously set a May 13 deadline for tenants to move out of the three Wesley Avenue apartment buildings because of structural deterioration in the stairs and platforms.

“Nobody was planning to leave tonight,” he said.

According to a Thursday city notice posted near the building’s east stairwell, a city inspection from the day before found a steel stair platform support “hanging from its last connection point.” 

“The platform may collapse at any time,” read the notice, which was signed by City Manager Luke Stowe. 

Citing Evanston’s dangerous buildings code, the notice ordered tenants to immediately vacate the property. 

EPD officers did not “remove or otherwise evict” tenants from 2018 Wesley Ave., Cmdr. Scott Sophier said in a Friday statement to The Daily. 

“The Evanston Police Department responded to 2018 Wesley to verify that residents were not in need of City of Evanston resources or assistance prior to board-up services completing their work,” he said. “Additionally, the department was on site to ensure the safety of tenants as the process concluded.”

Following the removal of the tenants, a city crew began boarding up doors and windows on the first floor of the 2018 Wesley Ave. apartments. 

As the board-up workers hammered and drilled wooden planks to the building’s entrances, residents of the neighboring apartment buildings — 2014 and 2024 Wesley Ave. — stepped outside to watch. Many said they had no idea the clearout would happen Thursday evening. 

LaMart Bailey, a 78-year-old tenant at 2014 Wesley Ave., said he was sleeping before the board-up. The commotion woke him up, he said. 

“I didn’t know nothing about this,” Bailey said. “How do you do this and don’t tell nobody?”

Several community activists also arrived at the apartments by about 10 p.m. Some shouted at police officers and the board-up crew to leave. The community activists chanted “money for housing, not police” and “Who evicts in the middle of the night? Housing is a human right.” 

Activists and some neighbors also periodically lined up in front of a first-floor apartment door to block it from being boarded up. The board-up crew workers moved around to other windows and doors on the building, ultimately finishing their assignment at about 12:45 a.m. Friday. 

Nalls said the activists’ primary goal was to make sure the neighboring residents “did not have any of their rights infringed upon.” 

He said a lack of communication caused neighbors to worry about whether their apartments were also going to be boarded up.

“I think that’s really what pushed people over the edge last night — this sense of ‘we don’t know what’s going on,’” Nalls said Friday morning. 

Carter said Thursday night’s surprising operation reflects a pattern of “bullying” and “scare tactics” from the city to remove tenants from the apartments. He said he expected similar city action at the other apartments soon.

“I want the city to take notice,” he said. “We are not happy. We are not scared.” 

This is a developing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Email: [email protected] 

X: @william2tong

Related Stories: 

City sets May 13 move-out deadline for Wesley Avenue apartment tenants

Wesley Avenue tenants negotiate for more alternative housing support after city recommends moving out

Equity and Empowerment Commission recommends additional support for Wesley residents

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