A spokesman for an anti-gentrification group says an act of vandalism targeting the office of a Northwest Side alderman shows the growing level of anger in the community.
The incident occurred Monday morning at the office of 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno at 2740 W. North Ave. and appeared to target his stance on the issue.
Chicago Police said the building maintenance staff discovered a glass door was smashed and graffiti was spray painted in blue on the building about 6:40 a.m. Monday.
A rock had been thrown through the window, and the word “gentrifier” sprayed on the brick wall beside it, the alderman’s office confirmed.
No one was injured and nothing was stolen. An employee in the alderman’s office said the incident apparently happened early Monday morning, before business hours.
In a statement, Moreno said, “This act of vandalism to my aldermanic service office was truly a cowardly act.”
The 1st Ward encompasses parts of the Logan Square, Wicker Park, West Town, Ukrainian Village and Humboldt Park neighborhoods on the Northwest Side. It also includes several neighborhoods that have been gentrifying in recent years, with new apartment buildings and condos replacing older housing units and small businesses.
Justine Bayod-Espoz, spokesman for group Somos Logan Square, agreed that the act was “petty” and “beneath” most of the groups that are working to help people being displaced by gentrification.
“Our group would never graffiti or deface anything, but it shows that a lot of anger is growing in the neighborhood,” she said.
“The neighborhood is being torn apart. There is anger among people who are being displaced who have lived here for decades; and anger among people who moved here more recently when it was affordable.
“This is our life being messed with for the profit of a few developers, and our alderman is complicit because of his zoning stance. Housing is a right and we are losing that right so a few weathy people can move in.”
The alderman has been the target of protesters on several occasions for his pro-growth stance. But a spokesman did not say whether there have been threats or other incidents in the past.
Moreno said this “incident will not deter my efforts to bring economic progress, which provides opportunities for all types of people, into the 1st Ward. It is a progress that has created more than 100 units of new affordable housing, with much more coming soon, in our ward.”
“The 1st Ward is a diverse, inclusive and welcoming ward,” Moreno said. “It is not exclusionary in any way, and will never be so, as long as I am the alderman, representing ALL of the great people who reside within its boundaries.”
But Bayod-Espoz said the alderman does not practice what he preaches, and his stance is making Logan Square less diverse, while keeping her group and others like it busy.
“We are too busy trying to find housing for people who are being displaced to do anything so petty. Logan Square is becoming less diverse and more exclusionary. And this should send a message to the alderman that the level of anger is rising.”
Police said no one was in custody as of Wednesday morning and Area North detectives are investigating.