Picking bones

Jun 30, 2004 at 12:00 am

Scavengers were attempting to ply their illegal trade at 11854 Longview on Detroit’s East Side just a few minutes before the Abandoned Structure Squad pulled up.

“I chased them away,” says next door neighbor Sharon Wallace, who adds that there’s little left worth filching.

“They’ve already taken as much as they can take,” observes Wallace, who has lived in this neighborhood for nearly 25 years. Watching the area’s slow decline has been painful.

“It’s come down little by little,” Wallace says. “It hurts to see something deteriorate like that.”

Fire swept through the house at 11854 about six months ago, gutting much of the first floor. No one has lived there since.

“It is hard living next to a place like this,” says Wallace. “People want to live decent.”

But between the rats and feral cats and the human scavengers, living decent isn’t all that easy.

She’s called the city to complain about the property, but as far as she knows, no one has yet come out to check the structure.

There are some positives she can point to, like the house just down the street that was rehabbed by a local church and then sold to a family.

“That place was a mess before too,” she explains.

Such improvements give her reason to hope. The neighborhood, she says, can make a comeback, but for that to happen it’s “going to take a lot of money and a lot of time.”

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