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Tulsa's eminent domain on Pearl District nears final decision

Posted at 10:17 PM, Dec 18, 2019

TULSA, Okla. — Representatives with a national law firm stood with the community, before Tulsa’s City Council, on the fight against eminent domain on Pearl District.

Chad Reese, Activism Policy Manager for the Institute for Justice flew in from Virginia spoke Wednesday night on the city’s plan to bulldoze homes to make way for a flood detention pond.

"Once we looked at the planning documents for this particular flood mitigation and redevelopment plan, the city's language made it pretty clear that this was largely an economic development project."

The city paused eminent domain proceedings in October after receiving a lot of push-back, which has not stopped.

Pearl District families now wonder if this is going to be their last Christmas in their own homes.

They decorated their neighborhood with signs plastered all over, making it clear eminent domain is not welcome.

Tara Dawson’s home was condemned by city. She says, "Our hope is they disavow eminent domain in the Pearl District and disavow this project. We want to continue our neighborhood and continue to grow organically and build our community ourselves."

Kara Joy McKee, Tulsa Councilor for District Four says, "This pond, while it may divert the largest amount of water and be good from an engineering standpoint, it isn't taking the people into account. I and the council and the mayor's office want to move as far from eminent domain as we can."

The hope now is city leaders change their minds about the project and leave Pearl District alone.

McKee say they will look into putting the pond somewhere else, and that a final decision could be made in January.

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