MnDOT asks people living under Duluth overpass to move by next week

Tents are set up at the site of an encampment under the I-35 overpass in Duluth.
Tents are set up at the site of an encampment under the I-35 overpass in Duluth.(Northern News Now)
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 4:42 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN -- People living under a Duluth overpass are being asked to move out.

Minnesota Department of Transportation spokespeople say the state agency posted a notice near the I-35 overpass across from Bayfront Park Tuesday.

The notice informs people living there that MnDOT plans to clear the area, known as a state right of way, next week.

Recently, a group of people has set up camp under the overpass.

They have tents and other items and can often be seen gathering around campfires.

The set-up sparked concern from some community members, who have asked city leaders to take action.

We asked the City of Duluth spokespeople for a statement, however, they denied our request and instead pointed us toward MnDOT.

In a statement Wednesday, MnDOT spokespeople wrote, in accordance with their safety procedures, they determined “clearing this right of way is necessary for the health and safety of all.”

“MnDOT makes every effort to provide services and long-term solutions for the people currently residing in the encampments on state right of way, and we are currently coordinating with the city and social service providers,” MnDOT spokespeople wrote.

According to data from the Duluth Police Department Wednesday, between August 1 and September 28, their officers have responded to eight calls in that area.

Meanwhile, as the temperatures cool down, Duluth’s warming center is preparing to welcome people without a place to go.

CHUM plans to open its offsite warming center on October 15, at the Lincoln Park Community Center at 2014 W. 3rd St. in Duluth.

They’re still looking for staff and volunteers.

They’ll be open every night through the winter, regardless of the temperature, until at least April 1.

CHUM leaders have received more funding this year to keep operating into April if needed.

CHUM also hopes to have social workers and folks in the health sector there from time to time to connect people in need with services.

CHUM also operates a warming center out of its downtown location, which is open year-round.