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- WSCO worked to bring new group homes for community-based treatment to the neighborhood and ensure they were adequately staffed. They organized and hosted a citywide conference with group home program operators, community groups and government staff. WSCO also created a scorecard to evaluate future proposed homes.
- Through a competitive process, WSCO secured an Identified Treatment Area for Sydney Street, running from Robert Street to Lafayette Freeway. The road was paved and street lights installed, and homeowners were offered low-interest home rehab loans.
- Citizens for Action in Riverview Education (CARE) began meeting, calling for a strong community role in local public education. They later formed the West Side Area D Planning Committee, an official body of the school district.
- West Siders organized to save Humboldt High School from demolition. This movement played an important role in bringing folks together who would later organize WSCO
- Riverview Media Project organized by people who would later form WSCO. They began publishing the West Side Voice newspaper.
- WSCO’s founding meeting at Riverview Library held in October
- WSCO was named the official advisory group of the West Side Team Police
- WSCO organized a working group of residents including chemical health professionals and neighbors dealing with addiction, and established the first Spanish-speaking Alcoholics Anonymous group in Minnesota
- WSCO members began organizing to create Douglas Park, including collecting 600 neighborhood signatures in 1976. The park was inaugurated three years later. Altogether, WSCO helped create five official parks — Douglas, Castillo, Kidd, Prospect, and Bluff — by using public funds, private contributions, tax forfeiture land, lots of volunteerism, and pressure on City Hall.
- In July 1975 WSCO’s Peoples Park committee, including Gilbert de la O, Judy Oliver, Elsa Perez, Vera Reyes and Jackie Lange worked to transform a vacant acre into what is now Parque Castillo, which was inaugurated in 1979.
- WSCO’s Articles of Incorporation signed. Our original name was “West Side Citizens Organization.”
- WSCO was recognized as the first official district council in the City of Saint Paul, bridging residents and local government to ensure West Siders’ voices are heard.
- WSCO volunteers created a 40-page bilingual human services directory, a 104-page Community Background Report, and a 52-page district plan
- WSCO held a two-day regional conference at Humboldt High School called Juvenile Crime vs. Justice.
- In June 1977 the city planning department called for linking I-35E and Lafayette: I35E was going to be diverted from Crocus Hill to Lafayette Freeway through the West Side, a move endorsed by the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce. The proposal called for razing Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and 135houses around it. In November, WSCO and Guadalupe pastor Rev. Monsour organized a rally at the church with 500 attendees, kicking off the “Guadalupe shall not perish” campaign. This included large rallies, issue research, pressure sessions with elected officials, and public speeches. [add conclusion]
- West Side Food Co-op opened on the corner of George and Ohio streets. WSCO provided organizing support, and Neighborhood House provided funds.
- WSCO helped Neighborhood House expand its reach by leading the effort to create Baker Community Center at 209 Page Street W.
- WSCO provided start up funds for Twin Cities Neighborhood Press Association
WSCO was involved in creating West Side Neighborhood Housing Services (later NeighborWorks Home Partners). In 1989, a new group emerged, Neighborhood Development Alliance (NeDA), a development corporation dedicated solely to the West Side.
WSCO brought together 60 local businesspeople and organized them into the West Side Development Corporation. In 1989 this group spun off into the Riverview Economic Association (REDA)
- 1980 and 1981: WSCO promoted Prospect Bluff through historical home tours; 900 people paid to participate in 1980 alone. The project’s success helped to initiate West Side Neighborhood Housing Services around the same time.
- 80 members of the WSCO library committee organized around 600 people to deliver a petition of a 3,300 signatures to save Riverview Public Library
- The City tried to sell parkland on Harriet Island for upscale housing. WSCO’s Harriet Island Committee joined a lawsuit, and the City backed down. Harriet Island remained open to the public.
- Saint Paul changed to a ward system: WSCO coordinated with four other communities in Ward 2, and held leadership meetings on issues of mutual concern.
- WSCO managed Riverfront Days, a 10-day festival, which included local musicians, a circus, a children’s area, carnival rides and games, water shows, sports exhibitions, and special programs for seniors and persons with disabilities. This morphed into Riverfest (which ran from 1983-1998).
- WSCO organized “A Flood of History,” conference, with hundreds of West Siders and many academics. Topics included: history as seen through settlement houses, ethnic neighborhoods, and labor traditions, and more.
- WSCO organized over 600 neighbors to ensure the Smith Avenue High Bridge was rebuilt, challenging government officials who wanted to tear it down and not rebuild. This was the state’s first ever major highway project that involved neighborhood leaders in both planning and design.
- To support struggling local businesses during the High Bridge rebuild, WSCO and the Smith-Dodd Business Association promoted annual “Sale to the Bridge and Back” sidewalk sale festivals, attracting 10,000-20,000 attendees.
- WSCO became a founding member of the St. Paul Neighborhood Energy Consortium (now Neighborhood Energy Connection), created to coordinate energy services delivery and to give communities a voice in formulating energy policies. WSCO created a subsidiary, the WSCO Energy Company.
- Northern States Power (now Xcel) proposed burning 25,000 gallons of transformer oil at its High Bridge plant. WSCO raised concerns about environmental and health impacts, researched safer alternatives, rallied citywide and national support, and won: NSP canceled plans to burn oil in the neighborhood.
- The second West Side district plan was adopted
- The Humboldt Parent/Community Advisory Committee (HPCAC), a group organized earlier by WSCO, worked with Native American staff to lead students in an examination of the Humboldt symbol. They held a community meeting on cultural awareness; ongoing American Indian teacher recruitment, Indian curricula, and student support. West Side Native Americans Grace Smith, Betty and Henry GreenCrow and Bonnie and Jim Clairmont took the lead in continuing community dialogue, developing recommendations, and building consensus for a new Humboldt symbol, the Hawk, unveiled in 1992.
- WSCO hired organizers to develop Teens Networking Together (TNT), a youth-oriented and youth-guided program that served the West Side for several decades. A teen council was formed, and as its members developed skills and experience, the group moved from being a WSCO subsidiary into an independent organization with WSCO as a fiscal agent.
- WSCO organized to preserve the historic Wigington Pavilion. The St. Paul Riverfront Commission voted to demolish the pavilion, designed by Clarence (Cap) Wigington, the nation’s first Black municipal architect in the 1940s. The pavilion is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
- WSCO’s community gardens project won an award from the MN Horticultural Society at a community gardening conference
- WSCO organized a tree planting effort to replace trees lost to Dutch Elm Disease
- Partnering with West Side artist Armando Guiterrez, TNT teens painted a mural outside the laundromat on Stryker Avenue.
- The West Side Neighborhood Family Center was opened. Since its earliest days in the 1970s, WSCO had a strong, active community education committee, promoting the notion that the school district and the city together should provide education for all ages beyond traditional classroom structures.
- WSCO took a lead role in an ambitious plan to plant 25,000 trees along the city’s river valley, as part of a Great River Park concept.
- Partnering with West Side artist Craig David, the TNT teens honored local and national civil rights leaders with a mural titled “The Heroes of Freedom, Justice and Peace” outside El Burrito Mercado
- WSCO organized a campaign called No SHAMS! (Neighbors Organized to Stop the Hazardous Metal Shredder). They collected 1,700 petition signatures, followed by 2,500 petition signatures, spoke out at public hearings, and demanded a more rigorous environmental study of harms posed to the neighborhood by the shredder proposed for Barge Channel Road. The metal shredder was not built.
- The third West Side district plan was adopted. WSCO has been involved in numerous currently operating documents including the West Side Flats Master Plan (2015), District del Sol Plan (2013), Smith Avenue Revitalization Plan (2011), Stryker-George Precinct Plan (2006), Harriet Island/District del Sol Concept Plan (2003), the St. Paul on the Mississippi Plan (1997), and others.
- WSCO bylaws were changed to increase accessibility for young people ages 16 and up to participate
- Staff and leadership at WSCO renewed focus on organizing youth. We held youth-run antiracism dialogue circles, and youth-led mapping of neighborhood toxic sites. Black and Brown youth in particular shared their experiences of being brutalized by police, specifically by the Gang Strike Task force, which was later dismantled. Over the years, WSCO has continued to organize for police accountability including leading the coalition for removing officers from civilian review board in 2016.
- Opened up WSCO offices to create space for youth to practice bomba drumming
- WSCO participated in the co-creation of The Circulator-- a hyperlocal bus providing West Side youth with free transportation to community spaces and activities
- WSCO’s environmental justice mapping project dug into the history of how we got the industrial park on the riverfront, connecting heavy industrial use to health impacts like asthma.
- Name changed from West Side Citizen’s Organization to West Side Community Organization
- WSCO led nonpartisan get out the vote work as part of our WestSide100 Campaign to reach 100% voter participation in the neighborhood.
- WSCO helped prevent a temporary asphalt plant from going up near Plato Boulevard and Robert Street
- Friends of Lilydale Park (now an independent group) originated as a WSCO subcommittee
- WSCO co-sponsored the Clean Energy Now rally at Harriet Island, calling on Xcel to convert coal-powered plants to burn natural gas; five months later, Xcel Energy announced it would make the change. The new 570 megawatt High Bridge plant went online in May 2008.
- The Harriet Island and District del Sol Plans were created
- WSCO partnered with other West Side community organizations to launch a youth apprenticeship program, and we trained two youth organizers
- WSCO created the Stryker-George Precinct Plan, part of our ongoing work to make sure the City wasn't dictating what development looked like, to invite opportunity to the neighborhood while staying true to the character and needs of the West Side.
- West Siders were divided over how to address a proposed megadevelopment on the riverfront called Bridges of Saint Paul, which did not align with the West Side Flats Master Plan. The developer bussed in 100s of employees to vote in WSCO’s board election to try to gain support. WSCO used creative organizing strategies to stop the development, including building a broad coalition of organizations, district councils, and a delegation of 30 West Side youth and Aztec Dancers to City Hall, gaining national media attention. Ultimately the development did not move forward.
- WSCO hosted community forums on the cradle-to-prison pipeline and created a legislative report card grading the racial impacts of public policies
- WSCO organized youth antiracism dialogue circles in partnership with Cherokee Park United Church and community leaders.
- WSCO worked with youthrive on a community event called Peace Jam, which hosted Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu
- WSCO organized a local chapter of POWER (People Organized to Win Energy Reform)
- WSCO organized a citywide Indigenous Women and Women of Color Caucus workshop to train-the-trainer with 18 participants. Five out of the seven St. Paul Wards were represented.WSCO part of forming and leading Root and Restore, a citywide coalition focused on alternative forms of community safety, alternatives to policing, uplifting the stories of people impacted, and research, in partnership with the ACLU and U of M.
- WSCO organized Enough is Enough: Community forum on Safety and Gun violence, and formed the West Side Community Care Action Circle
- WSCO created the Smith Avenue Revitalization Plan
- WSCO created the 2013-2023 West Side Community Plan
- Several WSCO members, led by Rebecca Noecker, created a group called West Siders for Strong Schools.
- District del Sol Plan created
- WSCO helped get the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to place an air quality monitor on the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church roof. They found that while the air was below pollution standards it still contained elevated levels of arsenic, formaldehyde, and fine particles.
- WSCO’s “Art on the Ave” event connected West Side artists to businesses along Smith Avenue in 2014 and 2015
- WSCO created the West Side Flats Master Plan
- WSCO succeeded in organizing West Siders to remove the police from the civilian review board
- WSCO launched Our Streets Our Story, which gathered stories from West Siders and resulted in the multilingual banners throughout District del Sol footprint
- WSCO organized the Action to Equity training series
- WSCO launches the West Side Equitable Development Scorecard
- WSCO recognized by Humphrey School with innovation award
- WSCO held Future Sol, a community event which gave the community an opportunity to voice their opinions on the West Side Flats Greenway’s design
- After discovering that a housing developer building on the West Side was using unfair labor practices in violation of our Equitable Development principles, WSCO partnered with labor organizers including the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL), to hold the developer accountable. The community turned out strong in solidarity to protest together. The developer dissolved their company.
- WSCO’s Health and Environmental Justice Action Circle restarted
- WSCO organizer Bahieh Hartshorn organized an Indigenous Women and Women of Color (IWWOC) summit to build power and leadership. 60 women participated, and the summit generated interest from across Minnesota and Wisconsin.
- First Black and Indigenous Women of Color (BIWOC) circle held to create a space to build leadership, collective and personal power, healing justice, and thriving lives on the West Side and the region. Participants worked to challenge the dominant narrative and replace it with lived truths and realities of West Side BIWOC.
- WSCO started the West Side Voices Forum, a monthly gathering to discuss the work of WSCO’s Action Circles and to strengthen community ties.
- WSCO held a leadership trainingBIWOC healing space held
- WSCO led a West Side 100 voter turnout campaign
- Our Streets, Our Stories: WSCO held celebratory events along Chavez, Smith, and Stryker streets, promoting businesses in the three commercial strips while also gathering community planning input for future plans
- WSCO organized to shut down El Alamo bar following community safety concerns
- WSCO organized the first annual community Ramadan dinner at 88 César Chávez
- WSCO was part of first citywide Eid outdoor festival in Saint Paul
- WSCO hosted caucus trainings in February and March; 32 Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color (BIWOC) participated representing 6 out of the 7 wards in Saint Paul
- WSCO’s Trans and Queer Community (TAQC) held its first meeting. The group went on to do service projects, have potlucks, and deepen community connections across the West Side in the face of rising homophobia and transphobia nationally and locally
- The Evening Market at Parque Castillo helped activate a park that was accessible to many but underutilized. Artists, makers, and food vendors joined with musicians to bring life and color to the park for an evening
- WSCO organized rent assistance and mutual aid for West Siders and local small businesses during the pandemic
- Recreation as Resistance 1: West Siders gathered in Lilydale Park– a place with a long history of police violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color – to spend time outdoors in community and reclaim a space that has been used for harm through joy and recreation.
- WSCO played a central role in the campaign led by the Housing Equity Now! St. Paul Coalition to win S.A.F.E. Tenant Protections preventing housing discrimination; the City Council later reversed itself.
- WSCO launched a Men of Color support group led by organizer Michael McDowell
- WSCO led the creation of the West Side mural on the Robert Street pedestrian Bridge
- WSCO organized a visioning session called My Beloved Community to gather input on how to develop a plot of land owned by WSCO at 76 Baker St. E.
- Local artist Marina Castillo painted a mural representing migration and resilience on the old Alamo bar
- WSCO submitted a housing report to the Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Office called Strengths and Vulnerabilities of Rental Housing in St. Paul’s West Side Neighborhood; it revealed that rent is unaffordable for the majority of BIPOC West Siders.
- The people of Saint Paul voted YES for rent stabilization! Every single precinct of the West Side voted yes too. That's the power of the people! Led by the Housing Equity Now! St. Paul (HENS) Coalition, community organizations across the city succeeded passing a policy that will keep tenants, especially low-wealth and BIPOC households, from getting priced out of their homes.
- WSCO won an important housing justice lawsuit affirming the right to organize renters in the state of Minnesota
- First Free Farmstand distributed food grown on the West Side by neighbors to folks at Parque Castillo
- WSCO organized the Good Hearts Gathering series: BIPOC leaders shared healing wisdom of movement, music, spirituality, and more weekly in the Garden of Good Hearts on Wabasha
- WSCO organized a tenant association, Strykers Unidos, to take collective action to improve living conditions. They were the first group citywide to successfully challenge an illegal rent hike following the passage of rent stabilization. They later organized with other renters across the West Side to form the West Side Tenant Union.
- Recreation as Resistance 2: West Siders gathered in Lilydale Park– a place with a long history of police violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color – to spend time outdoors in community and reclaim a space that has been used for harm through joy and recreation.
- After years of partnering with the West Side Farmer’s Market and Free Seed Library, WSCO launched a coalition called Growing Resilience on the West Side (GROWS) focused on hyperlocal food justice organizing.
- West Side renters, organized by WSCO, launched the West Side Tenant Union at WSCO's Annual Meeting in November 2022.
- WSCO held a three-part conference, Visions of Our Collective Future, led by Equitable Development Director Kai Andersen
- Summer 2023: The West Side Tenant Union organized with their neighbors to gather signatures as part of People’s Action national Homes Guarantee campaign to create federal tenant protections
- WSCO launched the West Side Flats redress research project, in partnership with Research in Action
- WSCO partnered with the CapitolRiver downtown district council to host the Colibrí Arts and Culture Market showcasing local artists and performers
- WSCO’s Community Care action circle organized a series of block parties as part of our Summer of Connection, culminating in the Cempasuchíl: Caring for Community block party with over 200 participants
- WSCO joined other community groups and Representative María Isa Pérez-Vega in beginning to envision the first Latino Art Museum in Minnesota, here on the West Side
- TAQC partnered with neighborhood businesses to put on the Queer Artist Market, with over 30 LGBTQIAP+ vendors, live music, and art. TAQC also hosted bird watching, hikes, pumpkin carving, art, and board game gatherings during the year.
- WSCO housing justice Organizer Mayra Avila led a training of 50 organizers in partnership with the national group People’s Action